Have you ever been to the desert?
Have you ever been to the desert in the summer?
Have you ever been to the desert when it is 121 degrees outside?
If not, you should give it a try sometime. Come visit. Test your endurance. Benjamin and I live here in the fully cooked state of Arizona (which I am pretty sure is located about 5 feet from the sun).
And because we are so often looking at thermometers that read “Ridiculously hot! Why are you even out here?”, we know a thing or two about thirst.
The Bible mentions thirst too. In Matthew 5:6, Jesus said, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled.” He commands us to hunger and thirst, not for food or water, but for righteousness.
I love that analogy! It’s just so clear.
Imagine yourself feeling really thirsty. We’ll say you decided to run. You get going really fast, you are huffing and puffing and dripping sweat. You reach for your water bottle, and then you realize. You didn’t bring one.
Your mouth is getting dry and your tongue is getting thick. You feel dizzy and are maybe feeling nauseous. Soon all you can think about is water. You just have to have some water!
That is real thirst, and that’s the feeling that we should have about righteousness. It shouldn’t be passive and it shouldn’t feel sorta “take it or leave it.” We should want God’s righteousness desperately.
I actually heard a sermon on that verse not long ago in which the preacher said that that word “righteousness” really has to do with “what God has authored.”
That just blew me away. God is the very author of righteousness after all! And that also points us to so much more!
In Hebrews 12:2, we see that Jesus is “the author and finisher of our faith,” and in chapter 5, verse 9 we see that He is the “author of eternal salvation.”
We also know that the Bible was authored by God. 2 Timothy 3:16 says, “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God…”
Righteousness itself was God’s design. So was truth. And love. All of these traits come from God and are defined by Him and are, in a way, wrapped up into righteousness.
But as I type all of this, I get to wondering about how we can really “hunger and thirst.” I would love to be filled, but how do I start hungering?
First, we have to know that righteousness comes only through Him and is attained only by Him. Psalm 92:15 says, “To declare that the Lord is upright; He is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in Him.”
Then we have to realize that we can’t find righteousness apart from Him. We have to let Him make our sins, “white as snow” (Isaiah 1:18), clothing us in His own righteousness, by trusting in His gift of salvation.
Once we have accepted God’s gift of righteousness, once we have satisfied that deepest thirst, then we can search for fruits of that righteousness in our lives. We can be in our Bibles daily, searching for God’s truth and applying what we can to our lives. We can be praying that God would change us into the image of His Son.
It takes work and effort and focus, but so does finding a water bottle when your thirst is raging. It is worth it and God says that if we really do feel that drive to find it, then He will bless us with it.
So how are you approaching your time with the Lord? How are you approaching every decision you make, every word you say, and every thought you think? Do you have an attitude of someone desperate for the righteousness of the Lord?
As I think through my life, I wonder, have I become complacent in my search of His righteousness? Does my thirst for water in this desert match my longing for God? Sometimes there are a million different things to do, and I don’t take time to read my Bible. Sometimes I have a million people shouting for their voice in my decisions, and I compromise.
But if I were really thirsting, only He would satisfy. And the beautiful thing that I have learned in my life is that the more that I long for Jesus, the more that He satisfies and the less anything else ever does.
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled.” -Matthew 5:6