Cultivating a Hunger for Righteousness
Here are some suggestions for those who want to work at cultivating a hunger for rightouesness.
Watch what you consume and devote your energies towards. The various options parading themselves for our attention are almost endless. For example: Some have a passion for physical satisfaction whether it is intimacy, health or beauty. To satisfy this desire is quite expensive in terms of time, and money and becomes quite a distraction. Others have a passion for financial comfort or security. The pursuit of this has led to abdication of spiritual and eternal matters. Others desire fame, popularity and approval of man. The pursuit for this has been tragedic as you conform yourselves to others leaving us emotionally empty. Even the more virtuous pursuits such as happiness in marriage and child rearing, can dilute or distract from hungering after God for the godly cares can even replace our passion for God. Trying to fill ourselves with the joys and toys of life will prevent us from experiencing true hunger that leads to joy and satisfaction.
Challenge the idea that money, status, power can satisfy you. In your experience have these things brought you the satisfaction they seemed to promise? Reflect on the end of such passions…they fade, suffer loss, obsolesce, and change. On the other hand, consider the words of God in Isaiah, "Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost. Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labor on what does not satisfy? Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good, and your soul will delight in the richest of fare" (Is. 55:1-2).
Be conscious of the necessity of this pursuit. Too many think that once you ‘find’ God, you can stop hungering for God, that there is no need to keep pursuing him. In other words, once we have spiritual safety, (i.e. found escape from hell) then there is little hungering for God. Let me ask you, why do you want to be with him forever, if you do not want to be with him now? We often explain the zealousness of believers as a short-term zeal that gives way to more tempered expression of faith once mature. I think this is only an excuse for the cold. Be reminded that our hungering and thirsting never ends till we see him. Ask God every day. Consider these passages: Psalm 62:1-12; Psalm 42:1; Rev 2:17; Isaiah 26:6.
Consider the glory of God’s righteousness. I know that dwelling quietly on Scripture and meditating in our culture are passé ideas, but Jesus tells us to consider the lilies and the skies for they all proclaim his glory. These are simple reflections of the glory of God. Considering the cross of the Son, we see the grace of God in that His perfect righteousness is satisfied in the mingling of divine justice and divine grace. So we can find satisfaction as we consider the unfathomable grace in providing a means of deliverance, which then leaves us with a renewed love for the Son. Seek Christ in prayer considering his glory. John 7:37 says, "On the last and greatest day of the Feast, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink." Note he spoke in a loud voice.
Consider the promises of God. Consider that in each of the beatitudes you find a promise. First, blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom. Then blessed are those who morn, for they will be comforted. Blessed are the meek for they will inherit the world. Those who hunger for righteousness will be satisfied. Those who show mercy will receive mercy. The pure in heart will see God and the peacemakers will be called sons of God. Let the promises of God unearth our fatal attraction to sin. Giving way to anger feels good initially, but turning aside feel better later.
Enlist help from your community. Join a small grou and invite others to help you by holding you accountable. The conviction from this sermon will not last long, but ongoing relationships will have lasting impact. Follow the warning from Hebrews, "Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God. But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin."
Repent regularly. Failing to repent of sin undermines our hunger and thirsting for God. We grow hard and cold when we fail to repent. Repentance is my best friend. Repentance softens the soul to the promptings of the Spirit and enlivens us to God. We need to practice repentance, to confess before God and others of sin. This leads to stronger feelings of authenticity and nearness of God and satisfaction.
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