Blessed are those who hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.
Our choices in life are made to appease our appetites. Having an appetite for the wrong things will lead us down the wrong paths. Having an appetite for the right things truly is a blessed condition, and will led us down good and pleasant paths.
For example, if someone desires power over others, if this is the central and strongest hunger of his heart, then this will lead him down the path of seeking to dominate others. He will become a bully, or a manipulator, or something worse. If someone desires acceptance by others, if this is the great craving of his soul, then he will seek their approval. If he desires pleasure, this will lead to some type of addiction – whether to alcohol, to food, to drugs, to sex, or entertainment. All of these unholy desires will lead us down unpleasant paths, down paths in which there is no true satisfaction of the soul, like, as Ecclesiastes says, “Searching after the wind” and feeding on it (Eccl. 1:14).
To find righteousness we must first desire righteousness, just like a great hunger for food or a great thirst for water. If we can understand that this is the greatest need of human life today, to know the righteousness of God, and that we are helpless to find this righteousness anywhere but in Him, then this spiritual hunger will lead us to Him and to His grace and mercy. It will immensely enrich our souls.
All the other appetites of the world are misshapen desires seeking to fill this “God-shaped vacuum” of the human heart, that only God can truly fill. This spiritual hunger that Christ described must be more than a passing curiosity, it must be more than an idle thought that perhaps there is some satisfaction of the soul in goodness, and then quickly turning away from the thought to other pursuits. Hunger and thirst are strong urgings and are not easily moved off from. If we are hungry then we can think of little else other than what hunger after.
God promises to satisfy this hunger, to bless those who desire Him with His presence and grace. There are many types of appetites in life, but all of these other appetites, unless they are under the control of this desire for righteousness, will eventually lead us to ruin. If they are dominated by a desire for God, first and foremost, then it is as Christ said, “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these [other] things shall be added unto you” (Matthew 6:33). Until our hearts are dominated by an appetite for the holiness of God, then they are not ready for any other appetite.
Seek Him first, seek Him early, seek Him as the first act of every day, and as the last thought of every night. Seek His righteousness as a covering for your sin. Seek His wisdom as the divine guidance to your soul. Seek His companionship in the private thoughts of your heart. Seek His strength when you are weak. Seek His peace when you are troubled. Seek His deliverance in temptation. Seek His provision when in need. Do not think that a little bit of another appetite is harmless left by itself, simply because it is “socially acceptable” among people – this was the great error of Abraham and Sarah (Genesis 16).
Only after it has been established that He, and He alone, is what our hearts are hungry for, then every other appetite of life can be dealt with under His Lordship.