"Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied" (Matt. 5:6).
Righteousness means "to be right with God." When you hunger and thirst for righteousness, you passionately desire an ongoing and ever-maturing relationship with God Himself.
Righteousness begins with salvation and continues in sanctification. Only after you abandon all self- righteousness and hunger for salvation, will you be cleansed from sin and made righteous in Christ. Then you embark on a lifelong process of becoming as righteous as Christ–a process that will culminate when you are in His presence fully glorified (Rom. 8:29-30; 1 John 3:2). There's always need for improvement in this life (Phil. 3:12-14), but satisfaction comes in communing with Christ and growing in His grace.
You can know if you're hungering and thirsting for righteousness by asking yourself some simple questions. First, are you dissatisfied with your sin? Self- satisfaction is impossible if you are aware of your sin and grieve when you fall short of God's holy standard.
Second, do external things satisfy your longings? A hungry man isn't satisfied until he eats. A thirsty man isn't satisfied until he drinks. When you hunger and thirst after righteousness, only God's righteousness can satisfy you.
Third, do you have an appetite for God's Word? Hungry people don't need to be told to eat. It's instinctive! Spiritual hunger will drive you to feed on the Word to learn what God says about increasing in righteousness.
Fourth, are you content amid difficulties? A hungry soul is content despite the pain it goes through because it sees every trial as a means by which God is teaching greater righteousness. If you react with anger or resentment when things go wrong, you're seeking superficial happiness.
Finally, are your hunger and thirst unconditional? The rich young ruler in Matthew 19 knew there was a void in his life but was unwilling to give up his possessions. His hunger was conditional.
Christ will fully satisfy every longing of your heart, yet you will also constantly desire more of His righteousness. That's the blessed paradox of hungering and thirsting after righteousness.
by John MacArthur