Lucia's Blog: I HUNGER AND THIRST FOR YOU
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Isaiah 55:8-9

Isaiah 55:8-9

Friday, September 29, 2017

I HUNGER AND THIRST FOR YOU

"Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied."  
Matthew 5:6



Can we actually control what we want? Can we change what we hunger and thirst for? Of course, we can. Is that not the key to successfully changing our diet?  We must learn to delight in what is good for our souls.   I invite you to consider the words of Jesus in the beatitude in Matthew 5:6.

With these few words in Matthew 5:6, Jesus presents an essential beatitude that applies not just to the unbelievers, but especially to Christians.  We must thirst and hunger for righteousness that we may be led to the only fountain of life that grants us God's spiritual blessings.  The saddest part is that we cannot force anyone to drink the water of life if he is not willing to partake of the fountain of the Word of God.  At the same time, we cannot open their appetite for spiritual things (righteousness) if they refuse to partake.  Ultimately, the choices we make will inevitably bear the consequences of those choices.

The most important path to travel is the "narrow path" that leads to righteousness.  The man that is wise and chooses to travel down the path of righteousness will be acceptable before God.  He will live according to the Word of God, which is the fountain of life. That path will lead him to purity, love, knowledge, and discernment, as he seeks what is excellent.  His life will be filled with the fruits of righteousness, (Phil. 1:11).  His life will be filled with those things that are right, to the glory and praise of God and not man.  Because of his intense longing for righteousness in his life, others will see the glory of his Father reflected in good works as he walks the path of righteousness, the works in his life that will light up the world.  To hunger and thirst after righteousness is an attitude, a frame of mind that acknowledges that God's Word is righteousness.

"Let my tongue sing of Your word, For all Your commandments are righteousness."  (Psalm 119:172).

God's Word is the spiritual food that is vital for one to grow stronger to salvation, (1 Peter 2:2; Matt. 4:4).  Who doesn't get hungry and thirsty physically?  Well, he who is sick or dead!  The same is true of us spiritually.  If one does not have a yearning desire to grow spiritually and feed on the Word of God daily, he must be spiritually sick or dead.  Our souls must thirst for God and His righteousness as the deer pants for water, (Psalm 42:1-2).  When one yearns to be filled with true, lasting joy, he must seek the kingdom of God first and His righteousness above everything, (Matt. 6:33).  Do you hunger and thirst for righteousness as your chief goal in life?



I.   HUNGER AND THIRST:

We all know the concept of hunger.  Hunger can affect the entire body, for when one allows hunger to stay for a long time, he starts to experience headaches and dizziness.  Our bodies start screaming with pain and yearning for food.  The same can be said of thirst.  When we're thirsty, we find it hard to focus.  Our minds are preoccupied with extreme need for water to quench our thirst.  There is nothing more refreshing than a glass of cold water when one is really thirsty.  Nothing satisfies better than a drink of cool water after you have worked hard in the sun.  When hunger and thirst strike, we stop everything to quench our thirst and satisfy our hunger.  

When Jesus spoke of hungering and thirsting, He implied a deep craving, a yearning, and a passionate pursuit.  To hunger is more than just being hungry.  You are famished, and hunger is your focus.  To thirst is more than just being thirsty.  You are parched, so much that your concentration and desire is to avoid death.  The metaphor of hunger and thirst is found often in the Bible. In Psalm 63:1 David said, "O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you; my flesh faints for you,  as in a dry and weary land where there is no water."  I love this Psalm!

As one meditates on these words, he clearly sees that the hunger and thirst is for the things of God. David sought God earnestly, not just casually.  His soul earnestly thirsted for God alone.  His flesh fainted for God.  Can you see his passion?  Can you capture the yearning that dripped from David's words?  Jesus wants His followers, those who belong to His kingdom, to hunger and thirst for Him and for the righteous life that He commands.

Jesus says "blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness."  The world says blessed are those who hunger for material success, power, control; to climb the corporate ladder, the satisfaction of worldly pursuits, and the praises of men.  However, the "foolishness" of God is greater than the wisdom of men, (1 Cor. 1:18-25).

Water is vital to all living things, and that includes human beings.  It is critical to our health. Water covers 71% of all the earth.  Without it, no man can survive.  We can survive without food for a reasonable amount of time, but not without water.  Pure water is essential to our health.  We need clean, pure water to stay healthy because contaminated water can sicken our whole body.  Hunger, on the other hand, is the yearning for food.  When one is hungry, he will do nearly anything to satisfy that longing. His life depends on it.  Hunger strongly motivates us to feed ourselves to alleviate this painful sensation.  Hunger can cause weakness, lack of focus and irritability.  It is powerful!

Our hunger and thirst for God must be as intense as the biological hunger. It is this hunger and thirst for God that produces in us a passion for seeking Him and following His righteousness.  It is a mark of the authenticity of a true believer and follower of our Lord.

Listen to what David said about thirsting for God's righteousness:

As the deer pants for the water brooks,
So my soul pants for You, O God.
My soul thirsts for God, for the living God;
When shall I come and appear before God?  (Psalm 42:1-2)


Our Lord and Savior is pure and uncontaminated water to us.  Our soul cannot survive without Jesus giving us the living water that springs up unto eternal life.  Notice what Jesus said to the Samaritan woman at the well, "Everyone who drinks of this water will thirst again; but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life."  (John 4:14-15).

  • Jesus is our only Truth.  His Truth sets us free from the slavery of SIN.  
"And you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free."  (John 8:32).  
Jesus sets us free from the contaminated water of SIN which we constantly drink when we are in the kingdom of darkness and serve the appetite of the flesh.  Only Jesus can satisfy that hunger for righteousness.  We must drink and keep thirsting for the pure water so that we may find freedom and seek righteousness.  We must stop drawing water from the wrong well.  Jesus is our well of righteousness.  He is our fountain of living water.  We must keep running to it with intense hunger and thirst.  Jesus is also our manna from heaven.  He is our bread of life that was bruised and broken for the salvation of our soul.  

I Hunger and Thirst for You

I hunger and thirst for You 
I hunger and thirst for You 
In the desert of my need 
You're the fountain that I seek 
You're the Living Water I keep running to 
I hunger and thirst for You

I hunger and thirst for you. 
In the desert of my need, 
You are the fountain that I see.  
You are the living water I keep running to.  
Heaven’s manna, bread of life.  
Fill the emptiness inside.  
Nothing else can satisfy me like you do.


My heart thirsts and hungers for His Law:  the principles that lead me to the path of righteousness.  I thirst and hunger for more learning and more knowledge.  Only God's Law can satisfy my hungry and thirsty soul.  Oh, how I love thy Law!

We must yearn to be fed by Him until we die to self.  He is the only one who can regenerate our mind and soul, but we must thirst and hunger for Him and His righteousness ALL the time.  There is no other way to reverence His Lordship in His kingdom.  Paul wrote toward the end of his life:

"But whatever things were gain to me, those things I have counted as loss for the sake of Christ.  More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ, and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith, that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death"  (Philippians 3:7-10).

But didn't Paul know Jesus already?

Consider the following statements about hunger:
  1. Hunger is a symptom of immediate need:  When we are hungry, our brain immediately sends messages to our bodies, telling us that we need to satisfy that sensation called hunger.  It is then that we must eat.  In Jesus' Sermon on the Mount, in the Beatitudes, He said: "Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness."  In other words, those who are the blessed ones are NOT those who think they are righteous BUT those who humbly admit they lack and are in desperate need of His righteousness.   Those who wish to be more like Him.  Those who sincerely see that they have a long journey before them, that they may indeed walk in righteousness.  If that is you, our Lord and Savior says you are blessed.  You shall be satisfied!
  2. Hunger is a sign of hope: Jesus implies that even sinners can hunger and thirst for righteousness. It is a sign of hope for those who are dead because of sin.  Not only can the sinner hunger, he must hunger and thirst for what Jesus offers.
  3. Hunger is a sign of health for the child of God:  A good appetite is a sign that a person is physically well.  There is danger when we lose our appetite.  It is a signal that something is wrong with us. Now let us apply this to our spiritual life and walk with Christ.  When you have a yearning to grow in Christ, "to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ," it is a good sign of spiritual health.  This is one of the marks of authenticity of a true follower of Christ.

Sadly, many incline their yearning toward other addictions, such as social media, entertainment, video games, shopping, pop culture, self-image, materialism and wrong relationships to fill them.  They are drinking from the wrong wells, wells that can never satisfy their thirst.  They keep returning to the same contaminated waters over and over.  Are we looking for the wrong kind of satisfaction? Is this what we want and seek as true followers of Christ?  Are we hungering and thirsting for God's righteousness?  Do we want to be blessed and be satisfied in Him?  Are we walking in a manner worthy of our calling, the vocation of Christ?
"And He died for all, so that they who live might no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and rose again on their behalf."  (2 Corinthians 5:15).  
"And He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed."   (I Peter 2:24). 

 We must pursue holiness and righteousness because He is Holy.

  • Jesus is our only Living Water. Let us drink His water and seek Him diligently.  
In Him, we find peace and rest for our thirsty and dying souls.  Jesus' living water fills us and satisfies us.  This is the only way to avoid the polluted water, and satisfy our thirst with pure water. As we yearn for this Living Water, our souls no longer will accept the sources of impure water.

 "And the Lord will continually guide you, and satisfy your desire in scorched places, and give strength to your bones; and you will be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water whose waters do not fail."  (Isaiah 58:11).

We must not deceive ourselves into thinking that we can drink of Jesus’ living water and at the same time continue drinking the polluted and contaminated water of unrighteousness.  You cannot serve two masters.  We must get rid of the old leaven.  We must crucify self and dispose of the old man, the dirty water that once contaminated us, the weight of our sin.  Contaminated water and clean water are not by any means compatible.  Mixing both will result in pollution of the clean water. 
"For My people have committed two evils:  They have forsaken Me, the fountain of living waters, to hew for themselves cisterns, broken cisterns that can hold no water."  (Jeremiah 2:13).

  • In the same way, if we walk according to our flesh, we will not hunger after righteousness. We are not seeking or following Jesus, our Living Water, and Manna, our Bread of life.   
We must purpose in our heart, mind, and soul to seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, (Matthew 6:33). The more we are filled with the Living Water and the Bread of life, the more we will hunger and thirst for Him.  This is the blessedness of our walk here with Christ.  We will be satisfied with righteousness when we hunger and thirst for Him.  He will never allow us to die of thirst and hunger.  This is the great promise,
"But by His doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption, so that, just as it is written, 'Let him who boasts, boast in the Lord.'"  (I Corinthians 1:30).  
"He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, ‘From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.'"  (John 7:38).  

II.   SO, WHAT IS "FOR RIGHTEOUSNESS"?

Righteousness is used in a few different ways in the Scriptures.  When we read Paul's writings, righteousness refers to the idea of justification.  Paul often wrote about God making us righteous through the cross of Christ since we were not righteous before God.  Justification is a word that is usually used to describe this.  So, is Jesus implying that the kingdom of heaven belongs only to those who desire to be justified by God?  Although we can say that this is true, the word righteousness used in Matthew was never used the way Paul used it.  To understand how Matthew used the word righteousness, it is crucial that we grasp the meaning of the word.  Let us examine further the Sermon on the Mount.

"Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven."  (Matt. 5:10).
"Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven."  (Matt. 6:1). 

In these two passages, Matthew is not using the word righteousness to express God justifying or declaring us righteous.  Instead, Matthew used the word "righteousness" regarding the personal practice of godly righteousness by doing the will of God; desiring to do that which is right in the sight of God.  God's true followers passionately want to do His will and seek earnestly to keep God's commands.  To them, God's laws and ways are spiritual necessities to be desired just as food and drink are needed to continue living.  Conforming to God's will is their supreme desire.  The character of those who hunger and thirst for righteousness is godly living, and a relationship with God.  A starving person longs for food and a parched tongue longs to quench his thirst with drops of water.  God's faithful children are desperate for the things of God.  They desire to be right with God all the time.

Sadly, many Christians seem not to care about living in righteousness and holiness.  Indeed, right, godly and holy living is insignificant these days.  Many claim to be Christians and serve the Lord but their desires are placed on everything else but God.  Their desire for God is purely mild curiosity rather than a burning passion or raging hunger.  Jesus is not calling for a mild hunger or thirst but for a strong desire for food and water, rather than an apathetic inclination toward righteousnessIt is a sign of spiritual sickness and death.  Consider the things that can hinder a strong desire for God's righteousness:

  • Laziness:  Satan has convinced many to justify their laziness.  The lazy do not want to read the Bible, attend all assemblies of worship, or pray, for he says, "God knows I'm tired."  They forget that Jesus stressed the importance of praying lest we fall into temptation, (Luke 22:40, 46).  Tiredness is not an excuse for neglecting the things of God.  Take heed!
  • Abundance:  Surely, material possessions cause us to be complacent.  It can deceive us into not needing God, (Dan. 4:28-33).  
  • Family:  Can hinder our strong desire for righteousness because of the demands of providing for our family, the responsibility of raising children, and the time spent with them.  I don't deny that all these are necessary as well as important.  But are we setting righteous standards of living for our family?  Are we forsaking the righteous things of God so that we may have more comforts?  Are we storing up earthly treasures for ourselves rather than heavenly ones, (Matt. 6:19-21)?  Is raising our children hindering our obedience to the righteous things of God?  Are we busying ourselves too much in extracurricular activities such as sports?  Have we failed to stress the importance of righteousness in the lives of our children as the future leaders of the Lord's church?  Are we spending so much time in family-oriented activities that we are neglecting the cultivation of the mind of Christ and the righteousness of God?  Are we focused more on the things of this world, than on the things of God?  Whatever your answer might be, examine your heart and don't jeopardize both your hunger and theirs for righteousness.

CONCLUSION:

In John 4:10 Jesus said to the Samaritan woman at the well,
"If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water."

Those who hunger and thirst for righteousness accept the gift of God that Jesus is offering.  Righteous and holy living is as essential to them as food and water are.  These are the ones who can never get enough of the riches of God's Word to be satisfied.  Their relationship with their God is like the eating of rich food, (Isaiah 55:1-2).  

Our culture's satisfaction is found in carnal pursuits and goals: bodybuilding, weight loss, group therapy to heal the social ills, and the empty-headed vain fashions that absorb our times. They promise to offer what will truly satisfy their worldly and fleshly desires.  Everyone yearns to be satisfied with the desires of the flesh, the desires of the eyes and the pride of life.  Sin fills their hunger and thirst.  They desire lesser things.  Jeremiah, the prophet described this thought in Jeremiah 2.  The people of his time are described as having broken cisterns that do not hold water.  Fools reject what God is offering to them:  flowing, clean, and pure water.  Yet, they're eager to drink the old, stale, contaminated water.  They deceive themselves thinking that they will still be satisfied with such contaminated water, for they would rather reject the pure and uncontaminated water of righteousness, holiness, and godliness.  Indeed, worldly satisfaction can only come through such a decaying way of living.  Those who love righteousness, because they hunger and thirst for it, understand what Jesus said to them,

"I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst."  (John 6:35).

The more we hunger and thirst for the righteous things of God, the more we are going to be satisfied.  The more we are dissatisfied with other carnal substitutes, the more we are going to hunger for God and His kingdom of righteousness.  The path of righteousness destroys self-righteousness because self-righteousness will bankrupt our spirit, and cover up our need for repentance.  Jesus is challenging us to examine our heart, that we might hunger and thirst for salvationSalvation is for those who sincerely and genuinely want it.  Out spiritual bankruptcy must compel us to mourn over our sins and desire salvation, restoration, reconciliation, and righteousness.  Only those who sincerely hunger and thirst for God will conform to the will of their Father in heaven.  Jesus is standing at the door calling for true fanatics, who would eat and drink from Him and His kingdom of righteousness.  Jesus does not want us to substitute Himself for worldly pursuits. He is not our hobby or past time!  Those who are hungry and thirsty don't want merely a substitute either. They want something of the divine nature. They want to passionately pursue Jesus' food and water.  They want to be consumed by Jesus, because they long for His ways and leadership, while they walk His path of righteousness here on earth.

So, if you have lost your hunger and thirst for Jesus, it is time for you to turn back to Him and repent, (Rev. 2:1-7) and make an intense effort to return to Him with zeal.  Remember where you came from and who you were.  Get back on your knees in prayer, Bible reading and study, and dedication and devotion to the cause of Christ and His church that He purchased with His own blood.  In doing all this, you can rest assured you will have the right communion or relationship with your Father in heaven.  Righteousness can only be accomplished through strenuous effort, for nothing worthwhile comes easily.  Bible knowledge comes through rigorous study.  Answered prayers come through fervent prayer.  Remember that righteousness comes through hungering and thirsting after it.  Thus, it is vital for righteousness' sake to cut out all bad influences that seek to separate you from your Lord and your crown of righteousness.  Don't allow Satan to distract you in your path of righteousness.  Read Hebrews 12 and set your priorities correctlyThose who have the right disposition of seeking, searching and groping after the righteousness of God will be filled and satisfied, (Matt. 6:25-33; Acts 17:26-28; James. 1:12; Rev. 2:10).

May the yearning in our heart and soul find the only source of eternal life, our Lord, and Savior, Jesus Christ.  May we hunger and thirst for Him, our Manna and Living Water, that we may be blessed and be satisfied with His righteousness.  May we be renewed in Him by drinking of the fountain of Living Water, the One and Only source of eternal life.

 "Then he showed me a river of the water of life, clear as crystal, coming from the throne of God and of the Lamb, in the middle of its street. On either side of the river was the tree of life, bearing twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit every month; and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations."  (Revelation 22:1)

Luci