Though we dwell in an age of consumerism, only God can provide us with the desires of our hearts. Our Father wants us to experience how only He can come thru for us in this regard. We marvel how throughout the Scriptures God did the impossible in the lives of His people. As you will see, it all begins with our appetite. In our first lesson, we discovered our emptiness. Here we find out from Christ the only way to be filled.
6 Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.
Understand, these Be-attitudes contain certain promises God has made to each of us as His covenant people. We had no say-so in being Israelites. It should therefore be no surprise to us that if we want to be blessed and happy in this life, we are expected to live a particular way. Christ promises elsewhere we can have an abundant life. If we'll take on the right attitudes by having this appetite, the One Who already lives within us, will fill it.
First, notice the order: it's "hunger" then "thirst". We get thirsty more often than we get hungry, yet Christ puts hunger first. Is it possible it is first because there is more enjoyment involved in thinking about food than what we can drink? Thinking of either isn't a bad thing. In fact it attests to how much making decisions based on our desires is a part of our daily lives. As insignificant as such decisions may seem, the desires to hunger and thirst serve as the figure Christ uses here to represent the absolute necessity of having the right appetite. WE MUST DISCOVER THE APPETITE HE WANTS TO FILL.
Both hunger and thirst are actual feelings we monitor throughout the day. Being blessed of God involves monitoring your levels of peace and expectation. In some ways, feelings involving hunger and thirst determine when we must do certain things. Maintaining happiness requires effort as well. When the feelings of hunger and/or thirst occur, everything else becomes secondary. Everything else becomes secondary to us once we are seeking this filling Christ is speaking of as well.
"Blessed are they "- who? The ones who choose to "hunger AND THIRST" in this way. To both hunger and thirst for something speaks of the total involvement of your heart and mind in wanting it. Our hearts never say, "You really need to be thirsty." Our minds automatically process the thirst to get our bodies moving in pursuit. Yet many times, before we're even hungry, our heart is determining what we're hungry for. Even now, you might be thinking about what you would like for your next meal or snack. IT TAKES YOUR HEART AND YOUR MIND TO PURSUE THIS SPIRITUAL FILLING.
Notice "Blessed are they WHICH DO hunger and thirst"- it requires a conscious choice and consistent effort. Just as we cannot survive physically without food and water, our spirit has a certain appetite. When you hunger and thirst in this way it causes you to do things differently than before. For one thing, you no longer seek satisfaction in the same old places as before. You recognize how you were left cold and empty so there's no need to bother. This appetite sharpens your focus on what you want and off of thinking what you need is outside of you. This hungering and thirsting doesn't come natural. But the more we pursue it, the more we feel His power. Yahweh said in Psalm 34, "Taste and see that the LORD is good..." Once you get a taste, nothing else will satisfy.
The more you hunger and thirst spiritually, the clearer your focus becomes on what it is you want out of life. This hungering and thirsting leads to more than what we are able to attain thru our own efforts. Think of something you would enjoy that just seems natural for you to be doing at this stage in your life. Your hunger and thirst can continue to grow in that direction for God.
Pursue just being happy and being more blessed of God; it's totally up to you. Having a spiritual appetite isn't difficult as long as you are moving toward what you want your life to be filled with. It's what we don't know which causes us the most frustration. Why not make up your mind, even getting with your spouse and children, declaring you want to pursue a life of seeing the blessings of God? This is the best thing you could ever do for your family in this life- encouraging unity in pursuing the blessings of God.
Even if you must go it alone, it may only be a matter of time before you will attract other individuals in your life that want to grow. This could lead to finding the love of your life you've been praying to come along. Regardless, we must settle in our minds that we will no longer refuse God's standing offer to be blessed.
Hungering and thirsting this way begins with a deep longing for a more fulfilling life. We can know if we're serious when we can no longer go on living the same old way. Continually, Christ and the Apostles taught the idea of inner conversion of the heart and mind. In the experiential sense, it is also referred to as repentance and more subjectively, as regeneration. YOU KNOW THIS HUNGER AND THIRST HAS BEGUN WHEN YOUR APPETITE HAS CHANGED.
Though some whites learn to repent of many failing patterns of living (what we refer to as "sins") there is one thing we must all repent of- unbelief (which is actually just fear). When we look at this verse, why would we want to go on pretending that faith and repentance are a one time thing? Repentance and faith are like inhaling and exhaling the very life's breath of the emergence of our spiritual self from within. The more we hunger and thirst, the more we have repented of the sin of unbelief.
Christ teaching us to mourn this spiritual emptiness, then to acquire an appetite to fill it, is the first time living in the Spirit is touched on in the New Testament. This isn't some fabricated 'born again' experience, because it is not externally initiated. This comes about on its own from within us like hungering and thirsting, without any outside influences. His Presence in the spirit of a white man alone is what gives us our value and our deepest intuition.
Deep within (and unknown to us no longer) is this appetite only your Father can fill - have you felt this inside of you? Maybe you've tried lots of things in search of fulfillment, only to be let down to assume your dreams will not come true. Yet if that's the way our lives were meant to be, why does Christ say all these things?! HE SAYS IT BECAUSE HE WANTS HIS PEOPLE TO BELIEVE IT AND SEE THE RESULTS- THAT'S ALL. It's not just intellectually understanding what it means to be poor in spirit, to mourn, or to hunger and thirst. But to feel in your heart what it is to hunger and thirst for God to come thru your life by believing He can do the impossible. This is the blueprint to reaching what we've always fallen short of- FEELING THE FILLING GOD HAS FOR YOU.
The word "hunger" is Strong's Exhaustive Concordance #3983 to crave. Do you crave a better life? Essentially Christ is saying you don't have to keep living the same year of your life, over and over again until you die. There's no time for excuses and shallow commitments. We must once and for all pursue this filling, not settling for anything less. This is feeling the filling, which is to come.
But why of all things are we to hunger and thirst for "righteousness"?Again and again, this is a focal point of the Scriptures, even here in the Sermon on the Mount as the fourth Beattitude. We should immediately think of the privilege we have to believe God the moment we hear the word "righteousness" in this particular context. The illusiveness of its meaning alone testifies to its peculiarity and power- what is it?
This "righteousness" is Strong's Exhaustive Concordance #1343 the Greek word dyka-los- oonee which is defined as equity. This righteousness or equity of God is the object of your hungering and thirsting. The way you build up this equity with God is only thru living by faith. The point of us being in this existence and even having the Bible is so that we would pursue righteousness by believing God. God has already proven how valuable you are to Him. Righteousness by faith gives you the supreme opportunity to prove how valuable God is to you. Therefore the appetite Christ speaks of here is to seek something particular to occur that only God can do in your life. WHAT IS THE MOST EXCITING THING GOD COULD DO FOR YOU? Therein lies the feeling of that anticipated filling.
AS AN ISRAELITE, RIGHTEOUSNESS IS YOUR INTENDED STATE OF BEING. Spiros Zhodiates' Hebrew Greek Key Study Bible says of dyka-los-oonee: "Righteousness is the state commanded by God and standing the test of His judgment." He goes on to say it is "the righteousness of God which belongs to God or to oneself for God, or God-like righteousness." Hungering and thirsting for righteousness is our greatest opposition to sin. We build up this equity only thru trusting God.
How would it feel to have your appetite filled by God? The only ones who will find out are those who crave righteousness. Yet how can one be filled if he doesn't want anything from God?! Have you figured it out yet? As we have said before, the purpose of having desires is to bring us closer to God. Hungering and thirsting for righteousness is a matter of you coming to grips with what you desire from God and then exercising your faith to the point of it coming to pass.
Christ says if we pursue this appetite for righteousness, we "shall be filled" which is Strong's Exhaustive Concordance #5526 to gorge... satisfy. THIS IS GOD'S GUARANTEE OF OUR PERSONAL SATISFACTION CONDITIONED UPON THE PERSISTENCE OF OUR APPETITE. Hunger and thirst are not over until we are filled. God is in the business of satisfying those who want to live by faith. God's justice was satisfied by the redemptive work of Christ on Israel's behalf- declaring us righteous in the sight of God, eternally. Now is our only opportunity to show evidence we have been justified in this way. The more we hunger and thirst for righteousness, the more we will be filled!
If one bought gifts from a white family's business to give to other white families, all those families would be blessed. Yet the one who purchased and distributed the gifts will receive the greater blessing because of righteousness. Hence proof the idea elsewhere in the Scriptures is true that one is more blessed to give than to receive. When we are hungering and thirsting for righteousness, we look for the best ways to reach out and be a blessing to our people.
Don't you love it when you have a meal and it is so satisfying? Or you listen to a particular song and it makes you feel so good? There are many things which give us that feeling of satisfaction we want to experience. This is talking about a filling which combines all the things which satisfy you- only God can fill us this way. THE QUESTION IS: DO YOU CRAVE THIS QUALITY OF SATISFACTION? Can you feel in your spirit what it would be like to experience such a filling from God? Then righteousness thru faith is what you must acquire a taste for.
Righteousness only comes from believing in what could be expressed as invisible law which is anything that represents God doing the impossible. Let us as the children of Israel return to the way of our fathers Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the way of righteousness by faith.
Your appetite is what feeds your way of life. Do you feel the need to hunger and thirst for righteousness? Are you prepared to turn up your cup of faith and drink on it until all your desires come to pass? If you want to experience the blessings of God, just keep living by faith and you'll be just fine.