I'm going to confess before I get started that I'm a little hungry. I'll leave that with you to decide how much of a factor that is with what I'm about to write--positive or negative.
Jesus said that those who hunger and thirst for righteousness would be blessed. (Matthew 5:6). Several interesting things about this as it relates to my life (the spiritual part, not the part with the grumbling stomach).
First, both of those words in the original Greek are present active participles. That's a fancy way of saying that they are perpetual or on-going. The hunger and thirst never go away. They are new every day, maybe every moment. Quite a lot like the physical hungers we have. You and I sit down to a meal when we are hungry. We fill ourselves with whatever is put before us. But it's not long before we begin to feel the pangs of hunger starting all over. It is a renewable desire. We hunger. We eat. We thirst. We drink. We never reach the point where the desire goes away completely.
Righteousness is a fancy word for "what is right." Specifically, righteousness is a life that is lived for what is right. Jesus was saying that you and I will be more fulfilled if we desire what is right continually.
Now, let me make this personal. My wife has done a great job of making me a healthier person. I lift weights, walk and try to eat right most of the time. Why? Because I desire to be healthy. I want to live a long, productive life. I want to see my children grow, watch my grandchildren as they enter the world and I want to grow old with my beautiful wife, Lisa. That doesn't happen because one day I decide, "Hey. I think I'll be healthy and eat a salad. In fact, I think I'll go all out today and walk 2 miles, work out with weights and eat a low-fat dinner tonight." Nice start but it's not enough. (by the way, I've never done all three of those things in one day so don't be too impressed).
Neither is desiring holiness or righteousness for one day--or two or three--enough. Just as it is with my health, it must be a lifestyle. The problem is that many people begin a life with Christ--surrendering themselves to His leadership--and then three or four weeks later, they find themselves back in the driver's seat doing things their way. Change can only be productive as it becomes permanent.
The doctor looked at me in August and said, "Your lifestyle has to change. Your cholesterol is high. Your blood pressure is high. And you could lose some weight." (By the way, that doctor is no longer on my Christmas card list) But he was right. One or two workouts or a few salads would not make the difference. I had to change what I was hungry for. My lifestyle had to be different.
Spiritually, we must do the same. We can easily get caught up in living for the next spiritual high, revival or special moment. Those don't work--lifestyles do. And lifestyle changes mean you eat the salad even when you are craving the catfish sandwich and fries. You long for the "right things" when other things seem to be so enticing. It's the only way to truly satisfy your hunger.
Now...I'm off in search of a salad.