You may know of someone who swears a little, gambles a little, loses his temper now and then – and yet, if someone was in trouble, he would be the first to give his last penny or the very coat off his back. This is good, but it is only partially good. We may be satisfied with it, but it is not the person whom Jesus says is blessed; the person who hungers and thirsts for righteousness.
Jesus describes someone whose passion is for total righteousness. The word in the original Greek signifies not “some righteousness” or “partial righteousness,” but the whole thing. Jesus is saying, “Oh, how happy is the one who hungers and thirsts for total righteousness all the time.” How happy are those who feel the most important thing in life is to always be in a right relationship with God, and to live out that relationship rightly! This longing is the believer’s birthmark, a sign of the genuineness of one’s faith. Righteousness is the believer’s supreme desire.
It is a desire that brings satisfaction. “For He has satisfied the thirsty soul, and the hungry soul He has filled with what is good” (Psalm 107:9). “They who seek the Lord shall not be in want of any good thing” (Psalm 34:10).
It is one thing to be “haunted by goodness,” having that little sting of guilt that says, “Maybe I ought to do something right once in a while.” It’s quite another to have a passion for doing what is right.