The Hungry and Thirsty are Blessed and Satisfied

Last Sunday was grooming day for GG while I worshipped. But the groomer never knows precisely when she’ll finish, so I picked up my lunch from our buffet and returned to my apartment. I decided to wait to eat since it was early and do other things while waiting for the call. When I finally had him and was back home to eat lunch, it was much later than usual, and I was hungry. I don’t know if it was because I was hungry, but the food tasted outstanding! I was surprised because the entry was not one I usually choose, let alone enjoy so much. My satisfaction was heightened, and I felt blessed to have been so hungry for a few moments and then filled. It reminded me of the satisfaction I have with GG’s progress from training after a stressful, anxious beginning. Now he longs for leadership from me, and I know how to provide it. But we’re both usually glad to  continue working on even more obedience. Satisfaction is that elusive something that we all want in this life. We want to be content, fulfilled, and gratified, but we often don’t want to work at it or know how to achieve it. Most importantly, we must begin with our heart’s desires and inclinations. “In our heart there is a battle between desires that purify us and desires that pollute us. It is a struggle between the Spirit and our flesh, between what is right and wrong, between what will gratify us and what will not. This world and its sinful desires do not satisfy. They are false gods and false loves with false promises and false hopes. They disappoint, and along with this world, they are ‘fading away’ (1 John 2:16-17). Christ alone offers water that will quench our thirst. Only those who ‘hunger and thirst for righteousness’ shall ‘be satisfied.’ But that is the problem. Do we desire to desire righteousness? What is Christ doing to straighten out our perverted desires? Despite our impression that our hearts are often nothing but a cauldron of conflicting desire, Christ is at work renewing our hearts and purifying our affections. He is constantly reforming us to want what God wants, to despise what God forbids, and to embrace what God loves. He promises to continue and complete the work he has begun in us (Phil. 1:6).” (1) We enjoy a good meal, but our satisfaction very short; having an obedient dog is nice, but he’s not very consistent. Conversely, God’s righteousness is constant and leads to life-long and eternal blessings.

How to Be Blessed

Jesus promised to bless his disciples, who continued to crave his rightness for soul satisfaction. And, he will bless us if we crave his righteousness for more consistent holy living and lives of meaningfulness. “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.” (Matthew 5:6) “Blessed are you who are hungry now, for you shall be satisfied.” (Luke 6:21a) “‘This beatitude again follows logically from the previous ones; it is a statement to which all the others lead. It is the logical conclusion to which they come, and it is something for which we should all be profoundly thankful and grateful to God. I do not know of a better test that anyone can apply to himself or herself in this whole matter of the Christian profession than a verse like this. If this verse is to you one of the most blessed statements of the whole of Scripture, you can be quite certain you are a Christian; if it is not, then you had better examine the foundations again.’ The verse is precious because it offers the solution to man’s great need by pointing to the offer of God’s greater remedy in Christ.” (2) James Boice continues, “What must man do? First, he must desire righteousness. Second, he must desire a perfect (and, therefore, a divine) righteousness. Third, he must desire it intensely…The only way that man can enter again into fellowship with God and find the happiness and blessing he longs for is to possess a righteousness and holiness that will commend him to God. Can this be done? Not by man, certainly. But God can and will do it. The heart of the gospel of Jesus Christ is that in him God has obtained our redemption and provided all who believe in Christ with that righteousness. The Bible says that Jesus Christ ‘has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption’ (1 Cor. 1:30). And those who hunger and thirst after his righteousness shall be filled.” (3) Christians already have the grace and mercy of God, as did the disciples sitting at Jesus’s feet during the Sermon on the Mount. But do we appreciate and apply his extraordinary gift of holiness through the indwelling Spirit? “Turning to the disciples [Jesus] said privately, ‘Blessed are the eyes that see what you see! For I tell you that many prophets and kings desired to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it.'” (Matthew 13:16-17)

Blessed to Need Christ

Jesus promised to bless disciples who continued to crave his righteousness for soul satisfaction. And, he will bless us if we desire his piety for more consistent holy living and lives of meaningfulness. Longing for Jesus’s righteousness for godly living and meaningfulness is a blessing because we know God will respond to our request. There are some prayers that the Lord will always say yes—”make me more holy,” “humble me to yield to your will,” “show me my sins so I may confess and repent,” and “help me to love others more than I do.” “To be well skilled in the mystery of Christian contentment is the duty, glory and excellence of a Christian. I offer the following description: Christian contentment is that sweet, inward, quiet, gracious frame of spirit, which freely submits to and delights in God’s wise and fatherly disposal in every condition…In some there is a partial contentment…I do not doubt that many of you know this in your own experience, if you observe the workings of your own hearts. Can you say when a certain affliction befalls you, I can bless God that I am satisfied?” (4) “Blessed is the man who fears the Lord, who greatly delights in his commandments!” (Psalms 112:1) “Blessed are those servants whom the master finds awake when he comes. Truly, I say to you, he will dress himself for service and have them recline at the table, and he will come and serve them. If he comes in the second watch, or in the third, and finds them awake, blessed are those servants!” (Luke 12:37-38)

Drinking in Christ’s Righteousness

Now that GG is starting to succeed at passing “prey” without chasing it or barking, I strongly desire to continue with his training. Instead of relaxing as if we are finished, I am looking for ways to help him get stimulation more respectfully than hunting for cats, armadillos, or rodents. We both desire increased peacefulness and happiness without the struggle against the leash while walking. Similarly, “There is perhaps no greater secret of progress in Christian living than a healthy, hearty spiritual appetite. If we are conscious of slow spiritual growth, the reason may be that we have a jaded appetite. It is not enough to mourn over past sin; we must also hunger for future righteousness.When we talk of pursuing righteousness, we must be cautious about our meaning. According to Paul [in his letter to the Romans], the Jews failed to attain righteousness because they were seeking legal righteousness. It was the Gentiles who discovered righteousness—by faith. The righteousness Paul writes about is legal righteousness, which those who believe in Jesus have already been given as a gift. In what ways can Christians fall into pursuing righteousness, as if it were by works? Would you say your appetite for righteousness is sharp or dull? In what areas of your character do you long to be more righteous? Praise God that he is perfectly righteous and holy. Ask him to increase your appetite for righteousness…pray that your life will increasingly reflect God’s righteous character.” (5) “He who was seated on the throne said, ‘Behold, I am making all things new…I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give from the spring of the water of life without payment. The one who conquers will have this heritage, and I will be his God and he will be my son.” (Revelation 21:5-7)

Related Scripture: Psalms 42:2; 112:1, 4; Isaiah 55:1-2; John 7:37; Romans 9:30-10:4; Philippians 4:11.

Notes

* On the blessing of meekness see my post#10, March 10, 2022https://divinewisdomforchristians.com/?s=Matthew+5%3A5j

  1. Troxel, A. Craig, With All Your Heart, page 101, Crossway, 2020
  2. Boice, James, Boice Expositional Commentary Series, Matthew 5:6, Baker Books, Software version, 1998.
  3. Boice, Ibid.
  4. Burroughs, Jeremiah, The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment, passage, Kindle Version, 2010.
  5. Stott, John, The Beatitudes—Developing Spiritual Character, Matthew 5:6, InterVarsity Press, 1998

August 25, 2022

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