In Luke 13:24 Jesus says, "Strive to enter through the narrow door. For many, I tell you, will seek to enter and will not be able." With this statement, Jesus is begging us to put all of our effort into following him, obeying him, seeking him, or as he said in the fourth beatitude......to hunger and thirst for him. This Sunday, we will continue our series in the beatitudes as we ask the question, "In our pursuit of God, what does it mean to hunger and thirst?"
Discovering Christ for the very first time is the absolute greatest achievement of your life. But it is not enough to discover Him just once. Discovering Him needs to be an ongoing journey of seeking Him more, knowing Him more and becoming more and more like Him everyday. I like the word strive in referring to this pursuit of God. The Greek word for strive used in Luke 13:24, means to struggle, to fight, or as Paul said in Philippians 3, "straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus." In a little over a week from now, many of us will watch, riveted, as Olympic athletes battle for the gold. They will strive for the prize that has consumed them for the last 4 years. They hunger and thirst for gold. Do we hunger for the things of Jesus with the same intensity as an Olympic athlete? Spiritual hunger is the characteristic of all those who claim to follow Jesus.
Now that we have a better idea of what it truly means to "hunger and thirst", what does it mean to hunger and thirst for righteousness? Righteousness in the Bible has at least two aspects. The first aspect speaks to our salvation and the recognition that the penalty for our sins has been paid for through the blood of Jesus. The second aspect of righteousness refers to our inner righteousness of heart, mind and motive. Once the blood of Jesus has satisfied our hunger for salvation, it then shifts to sanctification and a desire to increase in holiness. This hunger and thirst for right living is a perpetual characteristic of a disciple of Jesus that will not be satisfied until we reach heaven. Revelation 7:16-17 says, "they will hunger no more, neither thirst no more....for the Lamb in the midst of the throne will be their shepherd and he will guide them to springs of living water." This is what Jesus meant when he said that those who hunger and thirst for righteousness will be satisfied. Satisfaction will come once we gather together around the throne of our Heavenly Father.
There is perhaps no greater measuring stick of the progress in Christian living than one's spiritual appetite. It is not enough to recognize our spiritual poverty and mourn over our past sins; we must also hunger for future righteousness. Join us this Sunday as we gather around God's banquet table and don't forget to bring your appetite.
See you Sunday.