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Hungering and Thirsting for Righteousness

Photo Credit: Olivia Snow

(By Michelle Snippe)

"Bet you can’t eat just one!”

This slogan for Lay’s potato chips is a pretty popular catchphrase. And I think Lay’s is correct: unless you have astounding will-power or it’s the last chip in the bag, it might be physically impossible to eat only one!

What is it that makes them so irresistible? What causes us to repeatedly reach for more?

Well, simply put — they taste really good! And, correct me if I’m wrong, but I think when the brain has registered an experience it thinks is really good, it only causes you to crave more.

Yet, if you’ve never tasted the goodness of a potato chip? You likely won’t ever hunger for one.

In His lengthy Sermon on the Mount, Jesus spoke about hungering. But it wasn’t in reference to potato chips, or any food for that matter. It was in reference to righteousness. He said, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied” (Matthew 5:6).

We can crave a lot of things. Some of them good. Some of them, not so much. Many of them, when indulged in, bring a temporary sensation of satisfaction. That’s why we go back for more.

But when was the last time you consciously craved more righteousness in your life?

When was the last time you couldn’t get enough of it?

The Greek word for righteousness, in this verse, comes from the word dikaios (dik’-ah-yos). Just look at the layers of its meaning…

Upright, virtuous

Keeping the commands of God

Innocent, faultless, guiltless

Approved of or acceptable to God

In other words, this “righteousness” describes one whose way of life is wholly conformed to the will of God and who, therefore, needs no purification or refinement in the heart or life. A woman who seeks after this level of righteousness in her life does so because, for her, it has become the most prominently desirable thing in the world.


Is this the kind of intensity with which you crave after righteousness? The kind with which I crave?

It might depend on how much of an appetite we have for it. Because we don’t usually crave something we haven’t tasted in a long time. Disengagement decreases the craving.

The psalmist wrote,

“Taste and see that the Lord is good.”

But if we’re not tasting, we won’t be craving. And if we’re not craving, we won’t be satisfied.

Jesus said that’s what the result of our hungering and thirsting will be: that we will be satisfied or filled. And, from the context, we understand the blessing to mean “filled with righteousness.” Additionally, the righteousness with which we are satisfied is so wonderful that we hunger and thirst for more.

What a perplexing paradox! That we can be filled and satisfied with something, but at the same time crave more.

There are so many appetizing menus out there luring us to taste from them…coaxing us to crave them.

What is it you crave?

Is it more shopping?

Is it more Netflix?

Is it more social media likes?

Is it more “me time”?

Something else?

Or is it more righteousness?

The question makes me a little uncomfortable. How about you?

If we want to know what it is that we hunger and thirst most for, we can take a look at our days. What do we resort to when we’re bored? How do we spend our free time at the end of a busy day? When we’re at home alone, what do we do? What do we seek out for excitement?

I’m preaching to myself because, at times, these are all triggers for me to go in search of something that only temporarily satisfies when I know deep down inside what I really want — no, NEED — in these weaker moments is more of God. More of His will. And more of His Word.

Dear friends, if we truly want to be people who hunger and thirst after righteousness so we can live a “filled” life, we’ve got to set aside all lesser pursuits and “taste” what will truly fill us. Then we will “see” that it is God and His righteousness that fully satisfies.


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