“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.” Matthew 5:6.
This is what Jesus lived and taught. He loved righteousness and hated evil and as a result, He was happier than anybody else. Jesus had a very great need to be completely righteous. He prayed with strong cries and tears to God who could save Him from death and He was heard because of His godly fear. He was made perfect in this way. (Hebrews 1:8-9; Hebrews 5:7-9.)
We can also look at Paul. He was an educated man. He was a Hebrew of the tribe of Benjamin, a Pharisee trained by Gamaliel, and when it came to the righteousness according to the law, he was blameless. But when the glory of the Lord Jesus was revealed to him, he thought of all that as rubbish and worthless, that he might win Christ. Instead of the earthly glory, he wanted to have the righteousness that comes by being obedient to everything that God told him. In other words, he wanted to have the life of Christ, to be filled with all that is of God. (Acts 22:3; Philippians 3:5-10; Ephesians 3:17-19.)
A hunger and thirst for righteousness
Now we who hunger and thirst for righteousness also need to learn to be righteous in our daily lives. As human beings, we are not naturally righteous. We are unrighteous, self-righteous, we think we are right in what we think and say and do, we are high-minded and seek our own benefit. God has to teach us by the Holy Spirit the way to His righteousness, which is written in His Word. If we are obedient and can humble ourselves when God teaches and trains us, we will get the peaceful fruit of righteousness. (Hebrews 12:7-11.)
A few examples of how we can learn to be righteous in our normal, daily lives:
· It is righteous to pay what we owe. (Romans 13:7-8.)
· It is righteous not to look at a woman to lust after her. (Matthew 5:27-28.)
· It is righteous to judge ourselves and not the others. Then we will have wisdom to help others. (Matthew 7:1-5.)
· It is righteous not to compare ourselves with the others. (2 Corinthians 12:12.)
· It is righteous to compare ourselves with the word of God and with Christ. This will keep us in need of a deeper salvation.
· It is righteous to do things without favouring one above the other. (James 2:1-9.)
· It is righteous to treat people with mercy, compassion, kindness, gentleness and goodness.
· It is righteous to hate the love of money and being greedy, but be generous instead. (1 Timothy 6:10-11.)
· It is righteous not to complain about our circumstances and situations, but to be thankful and content, because it is God who placed us in our circumstances. (Philippians 2:12-14; Philippians 4:11-13.)
· It is righteous to mourn with those who mourn and be happy with those who are happy, because we are members of the same body. (Romans 12:15.)
· It is righteous not to think more highly of ourselves than we should. (Romans 12:3.)
A development in righteousness
We must sorrow over our own shortcomings and faults and really want to change. That is what gives us a hunger and thirst for righteousness. Then the promise in Matthew 5:6 is that we will be filled with righteousness! And through faith and patience this promise to us will be fulfilled. (Hebrews 6:12.) It is not something that we receive at once, it is a development, it takes time. God will show us our shortcomings little by little. (John 16:12,13.) He will not show us more than we can bear at that time. (1 Corinthians 10:13.) And when He shows us our shortcomings, He will give us the power to change if we love and obey the truth.
“But seek first God’s Kingdom, and his righteousness; and all these things will be given to you as well.” Matthews 6:33 (WEB).