As a Westerner, it's not likely you've ever been so hungry or thirsty that you were in danger of dying. But the people listening to Jesus' Sermon on the Mount had likely experienced severe hunger and true thirst at some point in their lives, so their ears must have perked up as Jesus said happy are the hungry and thirsty.
As their relationship with the Lord deepens, they hunger and thirst for more righteousness, more of God and less of themselves.
But Jesus wasn't talking about natural hunger and thirst; He was talking about spiritual hunger and thirst—a hunger and thirst that everyone experiences, but not everyone fills with what will eternally satisfy. The lost consume the wrong things in the hopes of finding happiness: wealth, status, pleasure, power. They are like the prodigal son who filled his stomach with pig slop when his father was ready to welcome him home with a feast—if only he would admit his need and return to his daddy.
You see, when the poor in spirit continually mourn their sin, the Holy Spirit grows them in meekness—in submission to and trust of God. And as their relationship with the Lord deepens, they hunger and thirst for more righteousness, more of God and less of themselves. It is not a pretentious longing for righteousness—it is an internal longing that flows from an understanding of one's utter unworthiness of God's grace. It is this kind of longing that God promises to satisfy. And with such a promise, those who hunger and thirst for righteousness are surely happy, for they will be filled.
Prayer: Lord, forgive me for chasing after things that do not satisfy. I know only You can fill me with joy and purpose. I long for more of You. May Christ increase in me as I decrease, and may I draw the lost to You with the transformation You work in my heart. I pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.
"Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled" (Matthew 5:6).
Learn more in Dr. Michael Youssef's sermon Happiness Is in You, Part 4: LISTEN NOW