Saturday, October 13, 2018

Blessed are those who hunger... Part 1

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

It seemed too good to be true.  Me, acceptable to God, just as I am? He knew my heart's desperate desire for acceptance. I couldn't earn His extravagant love or unconditional acceptance by good grades or perfect obedience. I'd certainly tried.

Like many teenage girls, I was high strung and under a lot of pressure to perform.  I knew I'd have to go directly from high school to the work force, and back then secretarial positions required shorthand, which added two hours of homework to an already full load. My fear of failure had my anxiety at a constant spike and my emotions hindered my ability to focus. You may laugh, now, but back in the early 1970's, I had to drop a business class in order to take Home Economics so I could graduate. Then,  I picked it up second semester. My mother and I were having problems and I about hit bottom.

I craved the presence of God because of the love and I acceptance I felt.  Receiving it from the magnificent God who created the universe with a single word created a deep hunger and thirst for Him.

Though I was raised in a Christian home, we didn't always attend church, but one gift my parents gave me was the absolute certainty that the Bible is God's absolute truth. He was and is always the answer. I didn't understand how to apply the scriptures, I just knew that He was. And so I studied.  Looking back at those years when I was a teenager and a very young adult, I marvel at how little I really knew. One thing I did have was faith. 

The promise, above, is that we'll be filled.  Filled with what? His righteousness.  Not our own, which is as filthy rags. (Isa 64:6) His, Christ's righteousness. The same righteousness that was accounted to Abraham in Genesis 15:6. He believed in the Lord, and He accounted it to him for righteousness.

In The Message of the Sermon on the Mount, John Stott said it best:

There is perhaps no greater secret of progress in Christian living than a healthy, hearty spiritual appetite. Scripture addresses its promises to the hungry. God 'satisfies him who is thirsty, and the hungry he fills with good things'. (Psalms 107:9)

Yet in this life our hunger will never be fully satisfied, nor our thirst fully quenched. True, we receive the satisfaction which the beatitude promises. But our hunger is satisfied only to break out again. Even the promise of Jesus that whoever drinks of the water he gives 'will never thirst' is fulfilled only if we keep drinking.  (John 4:13-14; 7:37)

More than once as a young woman, after my little girl was asleep, I left dishes in the sink while I spent time with Him. As a lover of music, hymns and worship choruses, it was no hardship to sing praises and dance. Night after night in some of the most difficult days of my life, I spent time in the Word and often filled page after page with my deepest yearnings.

During that time that I moved beyond head knowledge into a deeper relationship with God. It was only by satisfying that hunger and thirst for Him by devouring His Word, spending time with Him in prayer and yielding to the Holy Spirit that my life begin to change. This is where the healing of my mind, my will and my emotions began. It was and is a continuing process.

But being filled with His righteousness isn't the only blessing. It's only the beginning, and I'll explore more of this subject in a later post.

    For He satisfies the longing soul, And fills the hungry soul with goodness.  Psalm 107:9  

No comments: