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  • Phil Rains

Blessed are Those who Hunger & Thirst for Righteousness (part 6)

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.” ‭ Psalm‬ ‭63:1‬,2 “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.” Psalm‬ ‭42:1-3‬ ‭ “As a deer pants for flowing streams, so pants my soul for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When shall I come and appear before God? My tears have been my food day and night...”. When you read these verses, you get a sense of such passionate longing and desire. They have a feel of desperation in searching, maybe even life or death desperation. These are not just words of longing, but the cry of a needy spirit, of a spirit that has almost been vanquished by life’s rigors. At such times we are driven to search for relief. We seem to have something built into our nature that demands a constant striving against those conditions of the soul that stifles and smothers our lives. It’s a persistent need to keep moving forward. There is always something pushing us. It is both a singular appetite and a singular object.  I wonder how long it’s been since we have had such a desire for God, such a need for God, that we actually felt it in a primal sense. A casual desire for God has never been enough. For even though He has made Himself readily available, the accidental tourist, or the follower of convenience, will have a difficult time encountering Him. Only those who are truly searching will actually find. There is a story found in John’s Gospel chapter 1, that leads directly into today’s thought. Many people were thronging Jesus wanting to be close to Him, to be fed by Him, to be healed by Him, to be taught by Him. At one point, in verse 38, Jesus turns and addresses two of them: “Then Jesus turned around and saw them following. He asked, “What do you want?” ‭ Leave it to Jesus to go straight to the heart of the matter. He was interested in their true intention and motivation in following Him. “What are you really looking for?”, was what He was asking. This is the point that Jesus was making in Matthew 5:6- "Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.” Most people, if asked, would say that they want to live righteously. Many would even admit to wanting to live for God. However, that part of the question is simple. What are you willing to do in order to live for Him, is a much bigger, a much harder question. Many souls drop out along the way in our search for God and His righteousness because they lack real, lasting desire. They lack the “hunger and thirst.” It seems as if Jesus is putting as much emphasis on the drive and motivation as He is the object. He is saying that the blessedness comes as much with the desperation in the search, as it does with the outcome of righteousness. For you see, righteousness does not happen by accident, but only as we persist in our pursuit. To truly experience God’s righteousness, our quest must be more than an occasional, halfhearted attempt at living a good life. It’s got to be more than a hobby or a part time occupation. It must have the force and drive of basic human instinct, —“hunger and thirst.” He is saying, that only as we are genuinely and persistently searching at that level of desire, will we actually find. But there are many enemies that want to derail your pursuit of God’s righteousness. Life itself does not lend itself favorably to living a righteous life. It is not a natural way of living. Plus, there are so many distractions going on around us every day, things requiring our attention, our interest, our energy. These voices would lead you away from a transforming encounter with God. Also, it is so easy for us to pursue religious traditions and substitute that for righteousness. Now, some of these voices may be essential. Family, jobs, friends and leisure, are all necessary pursuits. But Jesus answers that dilemma in Matthew 6:33- “But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”

Make no mistake, this journey into God’s righteousness is not always an easy trip. At times the road is rocky and sometimes steep. There are times when you will want to go back, or times when you will question whether it’s worth the cost. There will be times when you will make wrong turns and get lost. It’s at those moments when “hunger and thirst “ will continue to drive us toward His righteousness. And rest assured, while on this journey God will make provision for all the necessities of your life. He is faithful that way. ‭‭And at  the end, you will be filled and satisfied. ReplyForward




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