Sermon on the Mount: Hunger and thirst after righteousness

The greatest person who ever lived on the earth delivered one of the greatest sermons ever delivered, known as the Sermon on the Mount. This article is about “Blessed are they that hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled” (Matthew 5: 6 in the Bible)


The English word righteousness describes the ideal of religious life. Righteousness is the right conduct before God. The Greek word that was translated as “filled” also means “to feed or fatten an animal in a stall” and connotes the idea of eating until completely satisfied. This helps us understand the Lord’s promise to those who hunger and thirst after righteousness–He will feed them spiritually until they are completely satisfied.

Righteous living

Righteous or righteousness is not perfection (none of us are perfect in this life). It is a condition in which a person moves toward the Lord in love by keeping His commandments. “If you love me, keep my commandments (John 14: 15 in the Bible”

Hunger and thirst

I think all of us have experienced hunger and thirst in our lives. When deprived, the desire for food and water becomes a priority and a burning desire to receive. It also should bring to mind how dependent we are on the Lord for our continued existence on the earth. The Lord is telling us in this teaching that our desire to seek after him by repenting of our sins continually and becoming like Him should become the overriding motivation in our lives.

The Savior said, “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” (Matthew 6: 33 in the Bible)

How do we become righteous

We seek the Lord through sincere daily prayers, scripture study, keep the Sabbath holy, service to others in need and continually repenting of the actions and thoughts that are wrong. “For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light: (For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth;) Proving what is acceptable unto the Lord.” (Ephesians 5: 8-10 in the Bible)

Overcoming the natural man and woman

The natural man and woman can be selfish, lazy, proud, profane, hateful, angry, dishonest, deceiving, hurtful and many other negative attributes. Our challenge is to overcome these natural tendencies and become more like the Savior.

The apostle Paul said, “And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.” (Ephesians 4: 24 in the Bible) Another ancient prophet explained it this way, “For the natural man is an enemy to God, and has been from the fall of Adam, and will be, forever and ever, unless he yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit, and putteth off the natural man and becometh a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord, and becometh as a child, submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him, even as a child doth submit to his father.” (Mosiah 3: 19 p. 153 in the Book of Mormon)

Sanctification through the Holy Spirit

To sanctify is to make holy. The Holy Ghost or Holy Spirit is given to us to help make us holy and righteous. To some of His followers living on the American Continent, the Savior said, “And blessed are all they who do hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be filled with the Holy Ghost.” (3 Nephi 12: 6 p. 431 in the Book of Mormon).

The Savior also said, “Now this is the commandment: Repent, all ye ends of the earth, and come unto me and be baptized in my name, that ye may be sanctified by the reception of the Holy Ghost, that ye may stand spotless before me at the last day.” (3 Nephi 27: 20 p. 459 in the Book of Mormon)

Dallas Jones, local leader in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints For a more detailed discussion on the Savior’s Sermon on the Mount call (231) 383-8359 or send an email [email protected]