The Disciple’s Character – Hunger & Thirst for Righteousness

Have you ever been really hungry or thirsty? I’m not sure many of us can appreciate what it means to be so hungry or thirsty that we think we will die if we don’t eat or drink soon. In first-century Israel, they could relate to the idea of extreme thirst or hunger. The common person did not have reliable food and water sources. Droughts and famines killed many people. A person in that time period did not go 40-50 years without experiencing a dangerous food or water shortage. Jesus takes an ordinary desire (the desire to eat and drink), and He makes a spiritual application. “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.” 


Hunger and Thirst for Righteousness- Matthew 5:6. 


Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness: 

1. God has put a holy hunger in every person- Ecclesiastes 3:11. God has placed within every person a desire to reconnect with the Creator. Every person has an innate desire for meaning and purpose in life. However, many people spend their lives hungering and thirsting for the wrong things. Think about what some things people in our culture seek in order to give them fulfillment?  And, think about the result for people who hunger after the worlds offerings – it’s short-term. 

2. Trying to fill our spiritual needs with temporal things is like eating cotton candy on an empty stomach. It may taste sweet, but it leaves us nauseated and empty. The question every man must address is how to fill the emptiness in his heart. Only Jesus can fill the empty space in a person’s heart. 

3. Jesus says blessed is the person who recognizes that his holy hunger can only be filled through righteousness or being right with God. Blessed is the one who is so sick of sin and bad decisions, so disgusted by evil and Satan’s tactics, that he is willing to do whatever it takes to pursue God with all his heart. Blessed is the man who recognizes that the only pursuit in life with eternal benefits is the pursuit of God- all other pursuits leave him empty and longing for more. 

4. The world is in mad pursuit of happiness; the disciple is in mad pursuit of understanding righteousness. In scripture, righteousness has three aspects: legal, moral, and social

  • Legal righteousness is “justification,” which Jesus placed upon us when we surrendered our lives to Him. Legal righteousness is a work of God in us; God declared us righteous through the blood of Jesus. 
  • The righteousness in Matthew 5:6 is moral righteousness. This righteousness is the pursuit of character and conduct that is pleasing to God. We hunger and thirst for the heart of God. 
  • We don’t hunger to keep God’s laws, we hunger to know God intimately and please Him with our mind, will, and motives. This is called transformation in scripture. One of the natural results of moral righteousness is social righteousness or social justice. 

5. As Kingdom people, we are not concerned with outcomes; we are concerned with process. We hunger and thirst for the heart of God (process), trusting that God produces outcomes according to His divine will and plan. We focus through faith on the Word on process and leave the results to the King. We are blessed in the process and amazed at the outcomes produced by our King. 


Biblical examples: 

1. Matthew 6:33. Seek first God’s Kingdom and His righteousness, and He will take care of all your other needs. Seeking first God’s Kingdom requires hungering and thirsting for righteousness. As the people of God, we are called to hunger and thirst for God more than anything else in this world. 

2. Matthew 13:44-46. God compares the Kingdom of God (a relationship with Him) to a priceless jewel or treasure. The man eagerly sacrificed everything in order to get the treasure. He hungered for the jewel more than life itself. Do you consider your relationship with God to be a priceless jewel? If a film crew followed you through a normal week, what would they conclude about the value of Jesus in your life?

3. John 4:13-14. Jesus is speaking with a woman at a well of water. He declares that anyone who drinks of physical water will thirst again, but anyone who drinks of His water will never thirst again. How are you experiencing the living water in your life each day?


They will be filled. Psalm 107:8-9 states that God will satisfy the thirsty and fill the hungry with good things. When we place God first above all else, and we seek Him out like a starving man looking for food, He promises us that He and He alone will give us those things that can fill our holy hunger. God quenches our thirst and satisfies our appetite. 


God is not first on our priority list; He is our priority list.


 Questions for Kingdom People 

When do you hunger and thirst for righteousness the most? 

What practices help you develop your hunger and thirst for God?



I declare that the Word of God coupled with Holy Spirit are actively working inside me! Every day, my flesh rules me less and my body is responding less to the things of the world as I continue to renew my mind with who I am – my right standing with God! I speak to my flesh each day and command the BLESSINGS of God to flow through me, allowing me to be used in a greater degree each day as God’s instrument. As I continue to disciple my life according to God’s plan, I am recognizing Holy Spirit’s power increase in my life, as I speak to situations and declare God’s Kingdom and will be done on this earth, which starts in me each day.

In Jesus’ name, Amen

Pastor Peter Henneberry

Peter Henneberry,

EMIC Groups Pastor
 Office: 817-252-2925
E-mail/ Group questions