Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled. Matthew 5:6
When I was eleven years old, my church had a revival. I don’t think revivals are common anymore, but they were pretty regular growing up and held at least twice a year. We had an evangelist who would come and deliver a special message of repentance and salvation. I don’t recall the sermon or anything that he said, but one night, I felt a yearning in my heart to receive Christ as my Savior and Lord. I walked down the aisle and prayed a prayer, although I don’t think I fully understood what was prayed. That would come with time and maturity. But I knew I wanted to have Jesus living in my heart, so I repeated the words.
As a young child, I still had much to learn to live a life pleasing to God. Anyone, no matter the age, when they first decide to follow Jesus, has a lot to learn. They have to grow and mature in their faith to understand fully how to live a righteous life. I learned that righteousness is to be in a right relationship with God. I had taken the first big step of faith by making the decision to follow Christ, but I had some more steps to take to understand fully the decision and commitment I made that night. I had to go through a gradual process of learning.
It’s like growing from infancy into childhood and then into adolescence until we become mature adults. I took my first baby steps on my walk of faith in 1960, being “born again” as a new Believer. I had so much to learn. I understood the elementary truths of becoming a Christian that God loved me and people all over the world, that God sent His Son, Jesus, to the earth to show His love for mankind and to die for me, that the Holy Spirit would live inside of me, and that I would have a home in Heaven one day.
Some Believers stop there. They believe all the above and are assured of a place in heaven, but they don’t go on to surrender to and pursue the abundant and victorious life God has for them while on earth before they ever arrive in heaven. They are satisfied with the elementary truths heard in church but don’t pursue the time it takes to grow and mature on their own to develop a personal, intimate relationship with Christ. They are content that they have their ”fire insurance” covered. They want to still live with one foot in heaven and one foot on earth. They are the person straddling the proverbial fence. He or she has saving knowledge of Jesus Christ but remains attached to the world and afraid to let go. They are convinced that they can have the best of both worlds. Sometimes compromise is good - but when it comes to serving God, we cannot serve Him and the world at the same time. If you are straddling the fence, it can’t be comfortable. “Choose this day whom you will serve…”
Surrendering is not easy. It’s relinquishing control of oneself to another, to, in fact, entrust someone else with one’s life. The sign of surrendering to man’s authority is upheld arms and open hands. That’s a pretty good visual of surrendering to God’s authority, lifting our arms, and opening up our hands to a lifestyle that we have held on to so tightly. Yielding to His authority over us, no longer living my will, but His will can take time because it is taking us into the unknown that we don’t control. We may not be sure about that. Let me assure you, putting God in the driver’s seat and you as the passenger is quite freeing. We no longer have to figure everything out on our own. God has our back, and He leads and, sometimes, carries us through the “whatevers” of life.
As I studied God’s Word more, I realized that it takes a changed heart to move toward righteousness. I am to have a heart like Christ’s. I wanted to love like He did and put that love into action. I was to have not only a right relationship with God, but I was to have a right relationship with others.
As I have matured in my faith, I have developed a special intimacy with Christ. Often, when I am spending time alone with Him, I just want to stay there. I am hungering and thirsting for His Presence and righteousness in my quest to be more like Him. He fills my empty cup to overflow with living water. He satisfies my hunger, filling me with the Holy Spirit. He sustains me daily with His ever-presence and provides me with hope, comfort, peace, and joy on earth and in heaven.
Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.”
John 6:35 NIV.
Jesus offered to the woman at the well:
“Whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”
John 4:14 ESV
I receive this “Blessed” with contentment and a feeling of spiritual well-being. There are times that I might feel parched and empty, but I know where to go to quench my thirst and get filled back up!
How about you? Where are you on your spiritual journey of faith? Are you running half-full or nearly empty, feeling weary, confused, defeated, or insecure? What do you need to do to pursue Christ’s righteousness to fill you?
Mary Bass Gray is the Spiritual Advisor for the Humble Faith Ministries team. She is a wife, mother of three sons, mother-in-love, Nonnie to eight grands, and Daughter of the King. She resides in the High Country of North Carolina with her husband and lab/beagle baby, Sully. She enjoys looking out her window every morning and being surrounded by the beauty of God’s creation and the majesty of His mountains.