Through the Spirit’s continued work, we begin to desire that righteousness. One misinterpretation of this beatitude, however, is to see it as a pang of hunger after a morality that is natural and godless. This is a morality that is driven by the desire to please people, and to have a clear conscience, but, in the end, has no regard for God.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. – Matthew 5:6
Desiring to be a moral person is not the same as hungering for righteousness; this beatitude is much more than that. The first three beatitudes focus on our lack. In poverty of spirit, we realize we have nothing that can contribute to our good standing before God. In our mourning, we lament that fact. We no longer rejoice in our sinful autonomy; instead we weep because we know what it deserves. In meekness, we stop struggling against God and begin to submit to Him because we have no way of salvation in ourselves. In our hunger for righteousness, we turn our eye away from our lack, to the One who can provide what we need.
This beatitude is not hard to define. We know we do not have the righteousness required for a right-standing before the Lord.