ARE YOU BEING FILLED, OR HAVE YOU JUST BEEN SNACKING?
In Matt 4:2, we see a good definition of what the "hunger" for righteousness that Jesus was referring to is. After Jesus had fasted for forty days and forty nights, the Word of God tells us that "He was afterward hungry".
My experience with fasting has been that after about three days, the hunger leaves you, and you are pretty much free to choose to eat or not to eat. You can do with or without it.
After about five days, my sense of smell becomes very acute, although hunger pains don't accompany that heightened sense of smell. But the food that I smell smells GOOD!
After about 7 or 8 days it seems like I can actually taste the food that I smell. The longest period of time I have personally fasted was for 17 days (as of March 3, 2004), and the only reason I quit was not because of hunger, but because I felt the fast was over.
But I understand that somewhere between twenty-five and forty days of not eating, maybe even sooner, depending on your body's constitution, a person's body begins to kick into the survival mode, since it is on the verge of starvation. At that point, Hunger begins to make itself known.
Jesus experienced that kind of hunger, and it appears that it wasn't too long after He had resisted the temptation to turn the stones into bread to satisfy His hunger that He taught His doctrine about the characteristics of the genuine child of God (commonly referred to as the Beatitudes), and mentioned how blessed those who hunger and thirst for Righteousness are.
We have seen that the one who is spiritually impoverished (Blessed are the poor in spirit), will sincerely grieve (Blessed are they that mourn) over his or her propensity toward sin, and being aware of his absolute dependence on God's intervention in his life on a daily basis, he will have no place for boasting (Blessed are the meek), and will be yielded to God's Will for his or her life. Knowing his lack, and loving his Father, the child of God will strongly desire to be conformed to His Image (Blessed are they that hunger and thirst for righteousness).
The God he has come to know is Holy and Righteous, and in the Sight of God, any righteousness that he may have is as filthy rags. The genuine Christian will understand his lack, and will have such a burning desire to manifest God's Righteousness in his or her life, that their desire for the Righteousness of God to manifest in their life will be akin to the person who is on the verge of starvation.
Isa 64:5 Thou meetest
him that rejoiceth and worketh righteousness, those that remember thee in
thy ways: behold, thou art wroth; for we have sinned: in those is
continuance, and we shall be saved.
In Isaiah 64:6 the confession is made that we are ALL as an unclean thing. All our righteousness is as filthy rags. NOTHING that I can do will ever measure up to the Righteousness that is of God. But as a child of God, my desire is to be like my Father. I want to reflect His Righteousness to the world, but I understand my utter incapability to do so because of the struggle between the flesh and the Spirit of God. Jesus gave a provocative challenge to His hearers when He said:
Mat 5:20 For I say unto you, that except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.
The religious leaders had a form of righteousness. Every jot and tittle according to the laws and traditions of the Jewish religion were to be carefully observed. They looked righteous.
But Jesus taught about a heartfelt and non-hypocritical walk that the Child of God was to have. A child of God's righteousness had to exceed that of a Pharisee's.
The Righteousness of God is a righteousness that is naturally born from a heartfelt love for the things of God, not a self-styled righteousness which is attained through complying to regulations, laws and rules. The first and greatest commandment is that we should love the Lord our God with all our heart, with all our soul and all our mind. This means that God and the things of God should have the priority in our lives over the things of the world.
Jesus' doctrine instructs us to seek FIRST the Kingdom of God and His Righteousness.
Mat 6:31 Therefore take
no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or,
Wherewithal shall we be clothed?
The priority for true children of God is to be what God would have them to be, and to walk as God would have them to walk. When we come to the point where we surrender to Jesus Christ as our Lord, God begins a creative work in us, in which He makes us NEW creatures. Old things are passed away, all things are become new (2 Cor 5:17).
There is an ongoing creative process that God is doing in the lives of His children. The Bible refers to that as Sanctification. Christ became sin for us, so that we would be made the Righteousness of God in Him (2 Cor 5:21).
IN CHRIST we are a new Creation.
To walk in anything less than the Righteousness that Christ has imputed to us is to declare that the Word of God is not true, and that the Work that Jesus Christ did on the cross was of no effect. To say that we are incapable of manifesting His Righteousness in our lives is to negate the Word of God, which says we are to yield our bodies as instruments (weapons) of righteousness unto God (Rom 6:13). If we are incapable of yielding our bodies as instruments of righteousness to God, we are accusing God of being a hard taskmaster Who expects more of us than we are able to do. It would be unfair of God to demand something of us that we were incapable of doing.
Christ's Work on the cross has enabled us to walk in His Righteousness.
It is a matter of YIELDING to His Will for our lives. If we say we are unable to obey His Word and to yield our bodies as instruments of righteousness to God, we insult the Spirit of Grace, which teaches us that denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present world (Tit 2:11, 12).
CHRIST HAS ENABLED US TO WALK IN OBEDIENCE TO HIS WORD.
Knowing that this is the case, a child of God will be grieved for his or her lack of walking in Christ's Righteousness, and will have an overwhelming desire to manifest His Righteousness to the world. He will hunger and thirst on a daily basis to walk in the Righteousness of Christ.
2Co 5:17 Therefore if
any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away;
behold, all things are become new.
Jesus Christ bore our sins so that while we once were dead in our sins, now we are dead to sin, and are free to live to righteousness.
1Pe 2:24 Who his own
self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to
sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.
The phrase "Being dead to sins" literally means "to be absent from sins". We have been redeemed and are new creatures through the Blood of the Lamb. Sin can no longer dominate our lives (Rom 6:14), because we have been made free from the power of sin by the sacrifice of our Lord Jesus Christ. Having been purchased through His Precious Blood, we are enabled (and as such are obligated) to live unto righteousness.
2Pe 2:20 For if after
they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the
Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and
overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning.
Choices are put before the child of God. Each day there is a choice to serve God in righteousness or to wallow in the mire of unrighteousness. The fact that there is a choice shows us that we are able to resist sin. We have not been saved to wallow in the mire.
1Jo 2:29 If ye know that he is righteous, ye know that every one that doeth righteousness is born of him.
The genuine Christian does not PRACTICE sin. He may have some sins that continually beset him and ensnare him or her, but the child of God takes no pleasure in the fact that these sins have such a foothold in his life. I have met many miserable back sliders. The true Christian will loathe his sin, and will desire to walk in righteousness before God.
He may go through the experience Paul spoke of in Romans 7:15-23. He declared that he doesn't do what he knows is right, but does the things that he hates. Even when he wants to do right, he finds he can't do it. Instead of doing what he knows to be right, he does wrong. He understands his wretched state before God and man because of this struggle, and because of his hunger and thirst to do that which is right, he cries out in frustration: "O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?" (Rom 7:24) His answer is immediate. The Only One Who can deliver him from his dilemma is Jesus Christ through the Work of the Holy Spirit in his life (Rom. 7:25, 8:1).
Today, because of wrong theology ("We're just sinners saved by Grace"), many professing Christians do not have a hunger and a thirst to do what is right. They do not understand their own wretchedness, because they have been lulled to complacency by the false doctrines that divest them of their responsibility before God.
THE GENUINE CHRISTIAN RESPONDS TO BIBLICAL TRUTH IN OBEDIENCE.
For the genuine Christian, sin is the exception to the rule, instead of the rule. The Christian strives against sin (Heb 12:4). His life is to be one of resistance against temptation (Jas 4:7). We have a mandate to remain in Christ. The genuine Christian, despite his faults and tendencies toward sin, will have a strong desire to manifest the Righteousness of Christ in his life.
1Jo 3:5 And ye know that
he was manifested to take away our sins; and in him is no sin.
"He that committeth sin" speaks of the person who continues in sin with no regard to his lifestyle or responsibility as a Christian.
Rom 10:9 That if thou
shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine
heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.
Christianity is a heart issue. If a person continues in sin with little or no regard to that sin after he has prayed to ask Jesus into his heart, there is a question as to whether or not he has believed with his heart. If we believe with our heart, we will strive to live in accordance to the Will of God. Sometimes our fleshly desires or lusts may get the better of us, but we will understand that is exactly why we are in need of a savior, to save us from our sins. We will earnestly desire to be conformed to His Image.
Rom 14:17 For the
kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and
joy in the Holy Ghost.
As we hunger and thirst for His Righteousness, Jesus promised that we would be filled, or satisfied with that desire. We will reflect His Righteousness in our lives. But there are many who profess to be Christians who do not even attempt to walk in His Righteousness.
In the Book of Romans, it speaks of those who HOLD THE TRUTH (they possess the Truth) in unrighteousness. Those who profess to be Christians, yet who justify their sin by saying "I am just a sinner saved by Grace" and who do little or nothing to resist their sin, have a promise from God that they can rely on:
"The Wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who hold the truth in unrighteousness" (Rom 1:18).
These reprobate Christians who walk in self-justification and who have changed the Truth of God into a lie worship and serve the created thing (their own lusts and their own will) more than the Creator.
Many Professing Christians have asked Jesus into their hearts because they are looking for fire insurance. They don't want to go to hell, but they don't want to give up their sin, either. They search for teachers who will scratch their ears and teach those things that justify their sinfulness (2 Tim 4:3). They don't hunger and thirst for righteousness. They have a form of godliness (they go to church), but they deny the transforming power of it (2 Tim 3:5).
Rom 1:16 For I am not
ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation
to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.
The Gospel teaches us that Jesus Christ has freed us from our sins (1 Jn 3:5).
It teaches that sin no longer has any dominion over us (Rom 6:14).
It teaches us that we have a responsibility to remain IN Him (John 15:1-6).
We have a responsibility to turn away from a lifestyle of ungodliness and worldliness, and that we should live soberly, righteously and godly in this present world, because Jesus gave Himself for us, that we should be redeemed from ALL iniquity (Titus 2:11-14).
CHRISTIAN: DO YOU FEEL INADEQUATE BEFORE GOD? YOU TRULY OUGHT TO. THAT WILL CAUSE YOU TO BE IN THE RIGHT POSITION BEFORE HIM, WHERE YOU HUNGER AND THIRST FOR HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS.
RESOLVE TODAY THAT YOU WILL FIGHT THE GOOD FIGHT OF FAITH (1 Tim 6:12). THAT YOU WILL STRIVE AGAINST SIN (Heb 12:4). THAT YOU WILL RESIST THE DEVIL (James 4:7). THAT YOU WILL BRING YOUR BODY IN SUBJECTION TO THE WILL OF GOD (1 Cor 9:27). THE MORE YOU REALIZE YOUR UTTER HELPLESSNESS TO DO THESE THINGS BY YOUR OWN STRENGTH, THE MORE YOU WILL HUNGER AND THIRST FOR RIGHTEOUSNESS.
WHEN YOU FINALLY WANT THAT RIGHTEOUSNESS TO BE MANIFESTED IN YOUR LIFE ABOVE ALL THINGS, THE LORD WILL DO SUCH A WORK IN YOU THAT YOU WILL BE FILLED.
Pro 10:11 The mouth of a
righteous man is a well of life: but violence covereth the mouth of the
GO TO THE NEXT PAGE
(JESUS' DOCTRINE CONCERNING HELL AND THE SOUL)
GO TO MY INDEX PAGE
READ MY NEWSLETTER
(MARDI GRAS 2004)
This Web Page Created with PageBreeze Free HTML Editor / Best Web Hosting