Today we are looking at the fourth step to attain happiness. Today’s step is the hungering and thirsting for righteousness. This step can only come about by these who are meek. If you have not been following this blog daily the steps are listed below.
#1 The poor in spirit (realization of our sin and God’s righteousness)
#2 Those who mourn (severe mourning over our sin condition)
#3 The meek (those who know their place in view of God and men)
#4 Those who hunger and thirst for righteousness (longing to be like Him)
As we look at what it means to hunger and thirst after righteousness I hope that each of us reading this will examine ourselves and see if we have fallen in line with the teaching of Christ. The first thing we need to understand is the desperation of those who are truly hungry and thirsty. In the United States there are few who will go with out food or water to the point of starvation or dying of thirst. The desire to meet those two needs when one is hungry or thirsty in the real sense is hard for us to imagine. To what lengths will people go who are this in this type of need? I have read of the atrocities that happened to the US soldiers during the death march of Bataan. The Japanese had taken US troops in the Philippines prisoner and forced them to march for more than one hundred miles with out giving them sustenance. Many did not survive the march and many others were beheaded at the amusement of the Japanese soldiers. One story of the march told by a survivor was that of extreme thirst. If you have never been to South East Asia it is hard to understand how hot it can get. This man tells of troops who dove into an oxen trough to eat the mud that was filled with urine due to their desperate need for water. They gorged themselves as quickly as possible on this mud-urine in order to try and satisfy their insatiable thirst. These men know the real meaning of being thirsty.
In the life of a true believer there is an indescribable desire to be more like Christ. This desire stems from the first three steps mentioned in the paragraphs above. The believer realizes how defiled they are, how much grace has been shown, their position in Christ (He is the master) and there is a strong desire to follow and obey Him in order to do what is right in His eyes. This is repentance. This is what Jesus was preaching about when he said “repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” In this mentality the individual no longer looks at the Word of God as a book of “what can I get away with?” They instead, look at the Word of God to see “how can I become even more like Him?” Instead of studying what liberty we have in Christ we begin to focus on what we can do to more glorify Him and draw others into His marvelous grace. We begin to think like David in Psalm 51 when He says “search me and see if there is any wicked way in me…”
A good illustration of this is with the consumption of alcohol. Alcohol is always shown in a bad light in scripture (the wine Paul asked Timothy to drink was not alcohol). No where in scripture does it formerly forbid one to abstain from alcohol although, the Bible calls it a moocher (Proverbs 20:1) and says not to be drunk with wine which leads to debauchery but be filled with the spirit (Ephesians 5:8). Scripture also says not to gaze on the wine when it is red…(Proverbs 23:31) along with many more warnings. We hear story after story of those who become addicted to alcohol, marriages that have been torn apart and children left without parents due to it. There are many who have died in traffic accidents due to the use of alcohol and it causes liver damages and poor decision making. Many girls and women will be molested due to the consumption of alcohol. So, the believer is left with a choice, that choice is weather to claim “liberty” which we indeed do have, or to hunger and thirst after righteousness. Do we neglect how the world views us as we decide to take part? Do we chance the circumstances of alcohol consumption due to this liberty? Or, do we look at it from a hunger and thirst for righteousness point of view? When we chose what we want to do in liberty over what will glorify God, we are not thirsty for His righteousness.
The happy, blessed, true believer will always search out ways to become more like Him. It will be a life long struggle with many failures, but it will be a constant fight as we have this over riding desire to put on the righteousness of Christ and become more like Him each day. I believe that any one who does not have this desire has not come to salvation. This attitude is a part of repentance and is necessary for s relationship with Christ.
Tomorrow we will begin to look at the next four beatitudes. These next four are the effects of the first four. Each change that God makes in us causes an effect. Jesus, the master teacher, gives these responses in the next verses.