Last time we were reminded that it is the meek who will inherit the earth. At the moment it looks as though it’s not the humble but the rich and powerful who own the world. Kings rule kingdoms, rich men and women own corporations and the millions and even billions of dollars that flow into them. Celebrities own our attention and garner the praise of millions of people all over the world. People hunger and seek after wealth and fame and a place in the halls of history. But they are not satisfied. There is no quenching their thirst for more. An emptiness continues to gnaw at their souls that nothing, it seems, can fill.
But the meek who have been filled with the Holy Spirit have been given a new appetite.
“Blessed are they who hunger and thirst after righteousness! For they shall be filled.” Matthew 5:6
Believers in Christ Jesus have been given an appetite for righteousness. Our spirits have been given life through the Holy Spirit and our new spiritual life hungers and thirsts for the food that will nourish it: righteousness.
Don’t get tripped up by the word righteousness, though. We may tend to think that means living a perfect life, but that’s not it. It is only in Jesus Christ that we are made righteous. The sacrifice made for us on the cross and then received into our hearts and minds has granted to us the righteousness of Jesus. And the Holy Spirit now within us craves to live out that righteous life through us.
What can trip us up, though, is the fact that we now have competing appetites – the one we had before our lives in Christ, the fleshly appetite, and our new spiritual appetite.
We fed our flesh, or our own physical and emotional desires, before Christ, by basically doing what we wanted. We lived lives that were against the will of God. We were selfish. We found pleasure in sinful ways. We lusted after things that were not ours. We walked through each day without consulting God, the Creator of our very own lives.
Even though we now have a new appetite for spiritual things, a desire to live pleasing to the Lord, to walk with Him and to do His will, we still have a choice. We can choose to continue to feed our flesh, or we can hunger and thirst after righteousness. Those who choose to continue to try to fill the void in their souls with the things of the world: money, sex outside of marriage, drugs or alcohol, materialism, or anything else that is not of God, will continue to be empty. Their spirits will starve. But those who choose to live by the Spirit and allow God to feed them will be fulfilled.
Feeding our spirits the food of righteousness entails two things:
1. The first is simply being in a right relationship with the Lord.
Even after we’re saved we will still sin and though that sin can’t steal our salvation, it will begin to cause separation between God and us if we aren’t careful to acknowledge the sin and ask for forgiveness. But we must crave the relationship with God more than we desire the sin. And when we do we will continue to be filled with the power and strength and love that can only come from God.
2. The second is living out that righteousness in our thoughts, words and deeds.
Jesus said, “‘My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me and to finish His work.’” (John 4:34)
So, what is God’s will for us? People ask that question all the time and we have but to open God’s Word to see the answers.
Some examples are:
The first and greatest one: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.” (Matt. 22:37)
The second greatest follows it: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” (Matt. 22:39)
“In everything give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” (1Thess. 5:18)
“Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands, as to the Lord.” (Eph. 5:22)
“Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for it..” (Eph. 5:25)
Do your own word study in the bible of the will of God and see what you find.
A Christian who feels empty is a Christian who is continuing to feed their flesh with the things of the world. The world never satisfied us before, why would it now?
God saved us for a purpose: to worship Him, to carry out His plan for our lives and to further the kingdom of God. It is only as we nourish our spirits that we will be filled with the righteousness and holiness that make us able to know God, to trust Him, to praise Him, to worship Him, to be led by Him, to serve Him, to be a witness for Him and to love Him with all our hearts.
If we will choose to hunger and thirst after righteousness, God will fill us in a way that no worldly thing can. And when we finally meet our Lord in heaven, we will hear those long-awaited words, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” (Matt. 25:21, 23)