Right passion for the new year – Part 1
As we stand on the threshold of a new year, it behooves us to contemplate what really matters to God and to plug into it. Jesus Christ, the all-knowing Lord, and Master recognised that the greatest desire in the hearts of His listeners was to be happy. Surveys have been conducted over and again to ascertain what people need most out of life. And each time, the finding of such surveys has confirmed that the bottom-line of man’s need is happiness. This is true all over the world.
People commit suicide because they are unhappy. Nobody gets into psychiatry case because he is so happy. People are in depression because happiness is missing. Jesus, knowing what they lacked told them, “Blessed [happy] are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.”
Man was created in God’s image, with the nature of holiness and righteousness (Psalm 17:15). Any departure from the original creation will make him incomplete, unfulfilled and unhappy. It is like removing fish or other creatures from their natural habitat; they cannot survive there. Jesus knew that His audience was not happy because they had been removed from the original habitat of righteousness, where they had been created. For you to be happy, you have to thirst and hunger after the righteousness of God, and then the blessedness of being filled with God’s righteousness will be yours.
People work from dawn to dusk because they want to draw a salary to satisfy hunger and thirst. The life of a human being, in whatever occupation, profession or place, is to be able to satisfy hunger and thirst. Our relationship and fellowship with God are to satisfy spiritual hunger and thirst. Once we lose this focus, there is no point in wasting time. We attend retreats, church activities, study the Bible, pray and do other things, so that we may learn spiritual things to satisfy the spiritual hunger in our lives and that of other people.
Just as people sell what they have to satisfy their hunger, so Paul, wanting to satisfy his spiritual hunger, disposed of things that were gainful to him in order to gain “the righteousness which is of God by faith.” There was hunger and thirst in his inner man. However, unlike Paul, many people do not dispose of the things that compete with the essential things in their lives. They did not dispose of their self-righteousness, so as to get the righteousness of God. This was why Paul pitied them.
Like the Jews, there are many people today who, though are hungry for God, have been feeding on the wrong kind of food, which do not give the righteousness of God. These people think that righteousness must be worked out by their human power. But they forget the admonition of Prophet Isaiah when he declared many years earlier that in the presence of God, that such “righteousnesses are as filthy rags” because they are not based on the blood of Jesus nor did they trust on the atonement of the blood. Such filthy rags or mere outward righteousness that does not have inward cleansing usually attracts the displeasure of God. What attracts God’s blessing is the righteousness of the heart that happens when an individual believes in the Lord Jesus Christ and passionately desires to be like Him.
This hunger and thirst in the soul after God’s image is the strongest of all spiritual appetites. It swallows up all the other desires in men’s lives. Such hunger and thirst become more craving, more importunate until they are satisfied. There cannot be any substitute that will satisfy the soul that truly seeks after righteousness. It will find no comfort or satisfaction in anything else, only in the righteousness that comes from the heart of God to the heart of man.
Further Reading (King James Version): Matthew 5:6; Matthew 5:6; Philippians 3:7-10; Romans 10:3,8-10; Isaiah 64:6; Matthew 5:20; Luke 16:15; 18:9; Matthew 23:25,28; Romans 3:24; 5:17-21.
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