Lesson 57—March 8, 2015
Hungry for More
Scripture: Matthew 5:6
Lesson Goal: To better understand what it truly means to “hunger and thirst for righteousness.”
Have you ever said or heard someone say, “I’m starved”? We may have experienced hunger pains, but the vast majority of us, including myself, have never experienced true starvation.
Hungry for a pizza, hungry for a chocolate brownie, maybe; hungry for a win on the field or court, possibly; hungry for the affection and love of that special person in your life, certainly; but hungry for righteousness? Being “hungry for righteousness” is not part of our vocabulary. It is not something we talk about or share information concerning. This hunger “for righteousness” is probably not really something we think very much about. But in today’s Scripture, Jesus offers these words to His disciples: “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, For they shall be filled.”
Happy, content, at peace are those (followers of Jesus Christ) who “hunger and thirst for righteousness.” As Jesus spoke these words to His disciples, He was presenting a truth by offering a word picture to help them understand. “The words ‘hunger and thirst’ picture intense longings that people desire to satisfy—necessities that they cannot live without” (Galvin).
Please read Psalm 42:1-2.
The righteousness of which Jesus speaks refers to being completely surrendered to God and His ways. For followers of Jesus Christ, it means being so filled with His Spirit that our all-consuming desire is to please and honor Him. “Righteousness” refers to our surrender and obedience to Him.
This desire (hunger and thirst) for righteousness flows out of the heart and life of the believer who understands the meaning of being forgiven and accepted by God as a result of His love, mercy and grace. This hunger and thirst for righteousness is the result of a truly grateful heart that’s deepest and most sincere desire is to please and honor the One who has rescued us from the bondage of sin.
This hunger and thirst for righteousness is possible as the follower of Jesus Christ becomes more and more aware of what God Himself has done for him/her.
This hunger and thirst for righteousness is not something the believer is forced to do, but rather it occurs naturally in the believer’s life as he/she daily walks Jesus Christ.
What does it mean to you to hunger and thirst for righteousness?
On a scale of 1 to 10, please honestly evaluate yourself by answering this question. How hungry are you for righteousness?
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Absolutely no desire ——–——— a holy starvation for righteousness
One reason true followers of Jesus Christ have not known the genuine hunger for righteousness is that other desires have replaced or superseded the hunger/desire for righteousness (obeying and honoring God by a total surrender). What are some desires in your life that are stronger than the desire to honor and please Him with all your heart? Please be honest and real with your answer. What do you truly hunger for? To coach the best team? To be the best player? For your child to be the best player? To hit the most homeruns? For your child to hit the most homeruns? For your child to be the MVP? To live in the biggest house? To be the most popular? To be the coolest? To live in a certain neighborhood?…
What truly is the greatest hunger in your heart? It is to please and honor Jesus with all your heart?
Sometimes the daily stresses and pressures of life, created by demands and expectations, fight against the hunger for righteousness. Often the simple fact of having only 24 hours in a day and the ever-increasing demands of our time leave us physically, emotionally and spiritually exhausted. We (true believers) sometimes simply do not have time to hunger and thirst for righteousness, because of all the other things that fill our lives.
“Hunger speaks of strong desire, driving pursuit of a passionate force inside your heart and soul. It has to do with ambition – ambition of the right sort – whose object is to honor, obey and glorify God by partaking of His righteousness. This holy ambition is in great contrast to the common ambitions of men to gratify their own lusts, accomplish their own goals, and satisfy their own egos” (MacArthur).
Jesus teaches us that the way to happiness, the way to being “blessed,” is the way of spiritual hunger and thirst for righteousness.
Let me now go back to the beginning of this lesson to the words “I’m starved.” To a truly starving person, there is but one desire. A starving person has a single, clear, all-consuming passion for food and water. When a person reaches this place, nothing else has the slightest attraction or appeal. Nothing else battles for attention.
The follower of Jesus Christ has a hunger and thirst for righteousness. Even though we may struggle, we may battle against opposition, we will have within us a desire to please and honor God. In very simple and practical terms—disobedience is replaced by obedience, surrender of our selfish wills to His will, and worldly, fleshy thinking is replaced by holy thinking. As we hunger and thirst for righteous, God begins, and continues, to do a work of transformation in our lives. See Romans 12:1-2.
“For they shall be filled”
“Filled”—Greek “chortazo” which means to be completely satisfied.
The person who genuinely hungers and thirsts for God’s righteousness finds it so satisfying that he continues to want more and more.
Sometime back, some friends treated me to meal at a place called “Brazilian Steakhouse.” To be honest, before this day I had never heard of Brazilian Steakhouse, much less know what it was. Upon entering the restaurant, I quickly realized it was unlike any I had ever seen in my life. There were many servers walking around with platters or skewers of various meats, all kinds of steaks, chops, chickens, plus a multitude of other things. There were several giant salad bars, with various greens and vegetables, but I quickly determined that I would not waste my valuable time, energy and appetite on such trivial pursuits as vegetables. This was a day for meat. No offense to my vegetarian friends.
I learned under the guidance and wisdom of my friends that I had a card placed before me. One side of this card was colored green. The other side was colored red. As long as I placed the card with the green side facing up, these servers would continue to bring me the meat selections of my desire and choice. I ate until I reached a new place of satisfaction. I was completely filled with the very best choices of meat, cooked exactly to my delight and liking. I left the restaurant full and indeed satisfied.
What was most interesting is that as soon as I walked out of that building, I began to mentally plan for my next visit to a Brazilian Steakhouse. Although I left completely satisfied and full, I longed to do this again and wondered how it could be even better the next time.
Even though true believers are filled, there is within our hearts a hunger for more (righteousness). As our spiritual hunger is satisfied by God and that filling brings a special blessing (happiness) into our lives, at the same time it gives us a stronger appetite for more.
As we (true believers) mature in our faith, how is our spiritual appetite affected?
What is the greatest hunger of your life today?
What does it mean to you personally to hunger and thirst for His righteousness?