What do you desire?
Honestly, what are you longing for at your core?
Now, I did not say, “give the answer you think you should.” Really, the question is a bit rhetorical. The title above is the answer. This phrase is given to us as a statement. It is not posed as a question. Jesus, I should add, at the end of the statement includes the guarantee of being filled. “Blessed are those who Hunger and Thirst for Righteousness, for they will be filled” (Matthew 5:6).
If you’re not growing in righteousness, it is because you are more concerned with preserving self. We must understand that there is no following Jesus (hungering and thirsting for righteousness) without denying self.
A right thing to do is ask yourself: “What over the past year have I grown into more of, the righteousness found in Jesus Christ or self?” The answer is truthfully seen in our habitual behavior.
There seems to be a core need in the human being to cry out for substance as we seek to find meaning in most anything we do. The desire within us is profound. I would even say it transcends our need for physical well-being and is why our physical needs are intertwined with the more profound core desire that cries out for fulfillment. This all makes life very hard.
Jesus makes “hungering for righteousness” seem the easy choice. In fact, Jesus knows as a human being we must battle for righteousness. This is why He said hunger and thirst. We find our focus in the words of Jesus. Hunger and thirst for righteous and you will be filled. He also so makes some similar statements: “the pure in heart shall see God” and “unless you eat of my flesh and drink of my blood, you can have no part in Me.”
Our Battle with Self
Self does not just go away when you become a Christian. Jesus, of course, may deliver you immediately from addictive behavior or misguided pursuits in your life, but you are yourself and have to honestly deal with you. Jesus must be your King. You can no longer think of yourself as your own. Paul tells us as much in 1 Corinthians 6: “you were bought with a price, therefore, honor God with your bodies” and 1 Corinthians 7, “you were bought with a price don’t become slaves to human beings.”
What’s more… many of us get stuck in life with the idea that we must forgive ourselves. What is usually meant is that we must let go of the wrong we have done and move forward. The problem with this idea is that it is nowhere found in the Bible (if it is please shows me where to find it). It’s true that we must repent and put our sinful life behind us and follow Jesus, but the idea that self is involved in the forgiving seems wrong. Self is involved in the repenting, but not the forgiving. Mentally letting go is one thing, but the Bible calls that belief in Jesus Christ. If you cannot let-go, I question your level of belief. Jesus forgives and the self repents, Self must humbly receive. Self plays no part in the actual power of release from sinful enslavement. To not keep self in a peaceful position after Christ as forgiven, is a denial of the Lordship of Christ in one’s life.
When we deny Christ relationally, it is plainly put “pride and or selfishness.” Whether you are arrogant or in self-loathing, your focus is still on self and not Christ. Without a focus on Jesus, there will be no or little thirst for righteousness. Christ alone brings real balance to life. The unfocused unbalanced life survives by self-seeking to gain stability with self-effort. Rather than trust in Jesus through the denying of self by putting to death the deeds of the flesh (Self) in following the lead of the Holy Spirit. The truth is we all have tendencies to try to heal self rather than die to self and live in Christ.
We do have things we must do– to believe is what we do. Jesus said this is the work the Father would have you do, to believe in the one He has sent.
The Divine Nature
When we really deny self and believe in Jesus, we partake of the Divine Nature. By faith, we die to self and live to the glory of God by the Spirit of Christ in us. The Spirit is God’s life-giving gift to those who ask for Him by faith.
Yes! Let the dead things die off entirely, and as a Christian, live by the Spirit within you rather than self-strength. Now you don’t need self-fulfillment. For you have been forgiven and through the denial of self, we can comprehend that reality and be filled due to our hunger for the Righteous One. Furthermore, this is a way of life. Real life is the perpetual hunger for righteousness and the thirst-quenching response from God when self is denied.
So, don’t forgive yourself, but rather with a contrite heart trust Jesus and conform to His will. This occurs within the fire of His righteousness presence. Hunger for Him happens in the eating and drinking of His way under the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
Who are those that hunger and thirst for righteousness? Those that King Jesus is preparing as the eternal temple of God where dwells His righteousness.
The Godhead is Majestic!