“Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for RIGHTEOUSNESS, for they shall be satisfied.”
Just as food and water are physical necessities, righteousness is a spiritual necessity.
Both hunger and thirst are intense desires. The concept Jesus spoke of in Matthew 5:6 was a more powerful concept in His culture than it is in ours. For the most part we don’t know what it really means to hunger or thirst. Most of us have never experienced a ‘drought’. We think of hunger as an empty feeling we get when it’s 1:00 p.m. and we are used to eating at 12:15 p.m.
The righteous have a strong desire to please God, to do His will, and be ‘right’ with Him—because they know that “Righteousness is the road to life and the path to immortality” [ Proverbs 12:28 ]. So, to them, it’s the only way to live, and it’s the only way to Heaven.
Biblically, righteousness means “to be made right with God.” That righteousness is given when a person believes in Jesus. At that point he will understand he is a sinner separated from God. He becomes broken in spirit, mournful, and meek. He wants to be restored to a right relationship to God and be forgiven, desiring to be freed from self and sin’s power.
They believe that life is not about the acquisition of things or the achievement of goals, but is about getting to know God—the God that loves them and made them for a purpose.
They know that they fall ‘far short’—not measuring up to their own standards, much less God’s—and that they can’t ‘make’ themselves righteous, since God is the only One that can do that.
Every other religion can be summed up in one word: “Do.” You have to “do” things to get to go to ‘heaven’. But, Christianity is different. It can be summed up in the word, “Done.” Jesus died on the cross to ‘pay’ for your sins past, present, and future—so we can be righteous. So, it’s “done”!
They maintain their spiritual ‘hunger’ for God by reminding themselves how much God loves them, and that if they are not ‘hungering’ for God, it is because they’re ‘full’ of themselves! (“And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God” [ Ephesians 3:18-19 ]).
They make knowing God their number one goal of life, since possessions, position, power, prestige, or anything other than God will not ‘fulfill’ them. (“Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and He will give you everything you need” [ Matthew 6:33 ]). When you hunger and thirst for righteousness you will reach out to God. Then He will give what only He can give—true satisfaction. Happiness is a ‘by product’ of knowing God.
They ‘connect’ with God daily by reading the Bible—which is their ‘instruction’ manual for life. (“All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. God uses it to prepare and equip his people to do every good work” [ 2 Timothy 3:16 ]).
That’s what Kingdom ‘citizens’ are like: they can never get enough of God’s righteousness. King David was “a man after God’s own heart” (1 Sam. 13:14). “O God, you are my God; I earnestly search for you. My soul thirsts for you; my whole body longs for you in this parched and weary land where there is no water” [ Psalm 63:1 ]. David’s hunger and thirst for God never diminished—and it shouldn’t for the Christian either.
Only God can satisfy that kind of desperation. Not until people hunger and thirst after righteousness do they attain the fulfillment God can give. God strips away our external self-righteousness and forces us to look at who we are ‘inside’. Jesus said, ”I am the bread of life; he that cometh to me shall never hunger” [ John 6:35 ].
A person who truly hungers and thirsts for righteousness realizes he is dealing with a life-or-death issue–not just an ‘activity’ to be checked off ones ‘to do’ list. Have you ‘armed’ yourself with righteousness to diligently avoid sin?
Do you hunger and thirst for the ‘righteousness’ of God?
“Righteousness” Related Bible Verses:
“And he believed the Lord, and he counted it to him as righteousness.”
[ Genesis 15:6 ].
“You shall do no injustice in court. You shall not be partial to the poor or defer to the great, but in righteousness shall you judge your neighbor.”
[ Leviticus 19:15 ].
For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord bestows favor and honor. No good thing does he withhold from those who walk uprightly.”
[ Psalm 84:11 ].
Blessed are they who observe justice, who do righteousness at all times!”
[.Psalm 106:3 ].
“Then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God. For the Lord gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding; he stores up sound wisdom for the upright; he is a shield to those who walk in integrity, guarding the paths of justice and watching over the way of his saints. Then you will understand righteousness and justice and equity, every good path;”
[ Proverbs 2:5-20 ].
The wage of the righteous leads to life, the gain of the wicked to sin.”
[ Proverbs 10:16 ].
“The righteousness of the upright delivers them, but the treacherous are taken captive by their lust.”
[ Proverbs 11:6 ].
“In the path of righteousness is life, and in its pathway there is no death.”
[ Proverbs 12:28 ].
“Righteousness is the road to life and the path to immortality.”
[ Proverbs 12:28 ]
“Righteousness guards him whose way is blameless, but sin overthrows the wicked.”
[ Proverbs 13:6 ].
Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people.”
[ Proverbs 14:34 ].
To do righteousness and justice is more acceptable to the Lord than sacrifice.”
[ Proverbs 21:3 ].
Whoever pursues righteousness and kindness will find life, righteousness, and honor.”
[ Proverbs 21:21 ].
A righteous man knows the rights of the poor; a wicked man does not understand such knowledge.”
[ Proverbs 29:7 ].
Learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression; bring justice to the fatherless, plead the widow’s cause.”
[ Isaiah 1:17 ].
“Then justice will dwell in the wilderness, and righteousness abide in the fruitful field. And the effect of righteousness will be peace, and the result of righteousness, quietness and trust forever. My people will abide in a peaceful habitation, in secure dwellings, and in quiet resting places.”
[ Isaiah 32:16-18 ].
He who walks righteously and speaks uprightly, who despises the gain of oppressions, who shakes his hands, lest they hold a bribe, who stops his ears from hearing of bloodshed and shuts his eyes from looking on evil, he will dwell on the heights; his place of defense will be the fortresses of rocks; his bread will be given him; his water will be sure. Your eyes will behold the king in his beauty; they will see a land that stretches afar.”
[ Isaiah 33:15-17 ].
Thus says the Lord: Do justice and righteousness, and deliver from the hand of the oppressor him who has been robbed. And do no wrong or violence to the resident alien, the fatherless, and the widow, nor shed innocent blood in this place.”
[ Jeremiah 22:3 ].
“If a man is righteous and does what is just and right— if he does not eat upon the mountains or lift up his eyes to the idols of the house of Israel, does not defile his neighbor’s wife or approach a woman in her time of menstrual impurity, does not oppress anyone, but restores to the debtor his pledge, commits no robbery, gives his bread to the hungry and covers the naked with a garment, does not lend at interest or take any profit, withholds his hand from injustice, executes true justice between man and man, walks in my statutes, and keeps my rules by acting faithfully—he is righteous; he shall surely live, declares the Lord God.”
[ Ezekiel 18:5-9 ].
“Sow for yourselves righteousness; reap steadfast love; break up your fallow ground, for it is the time to seek the Lord, that he may come and rain righteousness upon you.”
[ Hosea 10:12 ].
“So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”
[ Matthew 6:31-33 ].
“For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, ‘The righteous shall live by faith.'”
[ Romans 1:17 ].
“But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it— the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,”
[ Romans 3:21-23 ].
“He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness.”
[ 2 Corinthians 9:10 ].
“All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.”
[ 2 Timothy 3:16-17 ].
“For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are open to their prayer. But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.”
[ 1 Peter 3:12 ].
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
[ 1 John 1:9 ].
If you know that he is righteous, you may be sure that everyone who practices righteousness has been born of him.”
[ 1 John 2:29 ].
“Little children, let no one deceive you. Whoever practices righteousness is righteous, as he is righteous.”
[ 1 John 3:7 ].
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FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT #6:
Commonly, “good” connotes merely more or less admirable motives and deeds, and its use is often no more than unthinking politeness.
“Good” has implications of some degree of excellence. What varies is the precise degree of excellence that lies unexpressed and hidden in the ‘heart’. We sometimes use “good” as a sweeping generality.
It has so many uses that one dictionary, The Reader’s Digest Complete Oxford Word Finder, devotes an entire page in very fine type to list them! Its common usage suggests: a desirable quality; something commendable; favor; reliable; enjoyable; beneficent; kind; noble; admirable; welcomeness; competence; attractiveness; thoroughness; soundness; exemplary; moral excellence; and moral rightness.
In the word “goodness,” the inner qualities of virtue, excellence of character, morality, and attitude that we see in a person’s behavior come to the forefront. Goodness is the unselfish desire to be open-hearted and generous to others. It can also be described as moral excellence and virtuous. It often reflects a great strength of purity of character.
The Greek word for goodness is “agathosune” (pronounced: ah-gah-thow-soo-ney). It can also be defined as “uprightness of heart and life.” While kindness is an ‘inner’ disposition of someone, goodness is a more an ‘outer’ and active term. Goodness is a generous character which is energized, expressing itself in active, outward acts of good towards and for others. Agathosune, at first glance, seems very similar to chrestotes (“kindness”). However, closer examination of its use in the Bible reveals a word indicating ‘zealous’ activity in doing good. Kindness or gentleness (“chrestotes”) is more passive.
It is more than an excellence of character, it is character energized—expressing itself in active good, but it does not spare sharpness and rebuke to produce good in others. Goodness is indicative of a ‘perfect’ balance in the various parts of the personality—one in whom everything that is noble and excellent works harmoniously together. Thus they can be gentle or ‘sharp’, but what they do always has the right balance and is good.
The scriptural concept is immensely deeper and its use much more restricted. This fruit of God’s Spirit is more inward, touching on every thought, word and deed of the godly person. This demands that motives be right before we call any action good. This means our central and all-influencing motive is loving God and regarding His will in all things. It means that the “good” person is one in whom righteousness (right doing) flows from inward devotion and love toward God.
True goodness is inseparable from godliness. Godliness is goodness’ source and foundation and the sole condition on which ‘real’ goodness is possible.
A good person may have failures, but it is the ‘direction’ of their desires and motivations that gradually determines their character, and not necessarily the degree of perfection they have achieved.
God is the Source of all that can truly be called “good,” describing Himself as “abounding in goodness” (Exodus 34:6). So, if God is the Source of good, how can a person ‘tap’ into that source? Jesus briefly addresses this question in the Sermon on the Mount:
“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. Or what man is there among you who, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him! Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets” [ Matthew 7:7-12 ]. Ask God for goodness, with the right motivation, and He be ‘glad’ to give it to you!
Part of expressing goodness involves giving. We give of our time, talent, and treasure to demonstrate God’s love for others as He works through us to share His love with those who are lost in sin. As we serve others and provide for their needs, God’s goodness is expressed through us.
When goodness and knowledge are combined, it provides for us the best way to “walk the talk” despite the ‘pulls’ of this world. Goodness provides the right disposition, motivation, knowledge, and the correct instruction. One devoid of the necessary knowledge cannot teach, and anyone destitute of goodness will not even try because they lack the impulse to help others in the right spirit.
The apostle Paul links goodness with full knowledge and admonition of each other: “I myself am convinced, my brothers and sisters, that you yourselves are full of goodness, filled with knowledge and competent to instruct one another” [ Romans 15:14 ]. Goodness will hold things ‘in check’ while guiding knowledge to build up rather than destroy. Biblical goodness is always, under every circumstance, beneficial.
To be good and express goodness may seem a timid and weak way to confront the challenges in the world, but this fruit of the Spirit has an enormous ‘strength’ to impact the world for good. Goodness expressed through the power of the Spirit can soften the harshness of the world. It can overcome hatred, comfort those who are wounded, and motivate people to see that true goodness comes only from God. Goodness can be, at the same time, kind and strong.
A good person always wants to alleviate suffering and to mitigate wrongs. They consciously look for ways to benefit others. Because they are not out to gratify themselves, their works are not self-centered—they are the benefactor of the weak, helpless, and those in trouble—and even sometimes of the ‘evil’.
How many times have we had an impulse to do some good and stifled it by giving ourselves some “good” reason why we should not? The apostle Paul reminds us “Do not quench the Spirit,” (1 Thessalonians 5:19), but “stir up the gift of God” to even greater intensity (2 Timothy 1:6), and that God “has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline” (2 Timothy 1:7).
Goodness is something we must devote ourselves to. We must cultivate it because, coming out of this present ‘evil’ world, we have not been schooled in doing good. It is not part of our character. We have been schooled in being self-centered, and self-centered people cannot do godly good.
We need to then take every opportunity to yield to the Spirit for this purpose and labor to develop the goodness that is its fruit.
“Goodness” Related Bible Verses:
“Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”
[ Psalm 23:6 ].
“I believe that I shall look upon the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living!”
[ Psalm 27:13 ].
“Oh, how abundant is your goodness, which you have stored up for those who fear you and worked for those who take refuge in you, in the sight of the children of mankind!”
[ Psalm 31:19 ].
“Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!”
[ Psalm 34:8 ].
“Whoever diligently seeks good seeks favor, but evil comes to him who searches for it.”
[ Proverbs 11:27 ].
“Whoever despises his neighbor is a sinner, but blessed is he who is generous to the poor.”
[ Proverbs 14:21 ].
“He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?”
[ Micah 6:8 ].
“So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.”
[ Matthew 7:12 ].
“The good person out of his good treasure brings forth good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure brings forth evil.”
[ Matthew 12:35 ].
“For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me,”
[ Matthew 25:35 ].
Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.'”
[ Matthew 25:34-36 ].
But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil.”
[ Luke 6:35 ].
“In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.'”
[ Acts 20:35 ].
“Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”
[ Romans 12:21 ].
“So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.”
[ Galatians 6:10 ].
And we urge you, brothers, admonish the idle, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all.”
[ 1 Thessalonians 5:14 ].
“See that no one repays anyone evil for evil, but always seek to do good to one another and to everyone.”
[ 1 Thessalonians 5:15 ].
“But test everything; hold fast what is good.”
[ 1 Thessalonians 5:21 ].
“And having a reputation for good works: if she has brought up children, has shown hospitality, has washed the feet of the saints, has cared for the afflicted, and has devoted herself to every good work.”
[ 1 Timothy 5:10 ].
“They are to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share,”
[ 1 Timothy 6:18 ].
“To speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy toward all people.”
[ Titus 3:2 ].
“Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.”
[ Hebrews 13:16 ].
“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.”
[ James 1:17 ].
“Who is wise and understanding among you? By his good conduct let him show his works in the meekness of wisdom.”
[ James 3:13 ].
“Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing.”
[ 1 Peter 3:9 ].