Everyone owns a passion for something. The athlete's yearning is to win gold at the Olympics. This drives them to get themselves out of bed at four in the morning every day, while others the same age, unmotivated by any dream at all are just climbing into bed after wasting the night away in stupors. The sailor who wants to circumnavigate the world single-handedly suffers grueling conditions, faces death, loneliness and exhaustion beyond belief. The singer aches to win a Grammy, the actor, an Oscar. The passion to excel compels the aspirant beyond the average life. They rehearse, discipline, study, sometimes living poor and obscure lives. The passion to be the best, to excel, to overcome the opposition, to win against all odds, presses the owner to lengths they would never go without the fire.
If we have no desire for righteousness, the vacuum will demand to be filled. We will all hunger after something. Too often, we will find base desires attempting to overwhelm us and lead us to cheat on our own commitments to a higher life. However, if we own a joyful appetite for doing right, we will be empowered by the Holy Spirit Himself to walk away from the dark and embrace the light.
This hunger for right is a hunger for God Himself. The secret of being filled with God is to hunger for Him. What we hunger for, fills us. When I was a young Christian an older man named Alan Collins mentored me for a short time. He said if ever the hunger for God goes, that should set all the alarms off inside us. It's the signal of spiritual danger. When we lose the hunger for the Word, the desire for fellowship with believers, for church, for prayer and time with God, we need personal revival.
'Let the getting of money be a man's ideal, and he will of necessity grow toward the dust; let a man hunger and thirst after the kingdom of God, and he will grow into strength and enjoy an unspeakable peace'. Joseph Parker.
Jesus says this person is happy. The passionless person, robbed of an all-consuming thirst, is dead.
Desire for God is the purest and highest passion. Hunger and thirst for God, will not fail to fill us. The world cannot deliver this. We will be filled! Filled with the most beautiful of lives.
Charles Finney, one of the greatest revivalists in history, bringing at least 500,000 people to Christ over a ten year period in America relates his experience of receiving this fire from the Holy Spirit; 'But now after receiving these baptisms of the Spirit I was quite willing to preach the Gospel. Nay, I found that I was unwilling to do anything else. I had no longer any desire to practice law. Everything in that direction was shut up, and had no longer any attractions for me at all. I had no disposition to make money. I had no hungering and thirsting after worldly pleasures and amusements in any direction. My whole mind was taken up with Jesus and his salvation; and the world seemed to me of very little consequence. Nothing, it seemed to me, could be put in competition with the worth of souls; and no labour, I thought, could be so sweet, and no employment so exalted, as that of holding up Christ to a dying world'.
The 'righteousness' we hunger for, needs defining. Jesus condemns the 'righteousness' of the Pharisees. This is a judgmental, separatist, ascetic lifestyle proselytizing others into the same bondage. (Rom 10:2,3). Jesus condemns this religiosity. In fact, this zeal is possibly the deadliest of all counterfeits of service to God. It is this 'righteousness' that crucifies Jesus. This kind of religiosity seeks to kill the life of God here on Earth, in the name of Christianity! Countless millions have turned away from God because He has been represented so badly by religionists.
Yet there is a righteousness that is beautiful, and this we are to seek for (Matt 5:20). This 'righteousness' is the mercy of God, in action. It is love, serving and sacrificing for others. Righteousness is not a list of moral do's and don'ts. It is a pro-active force motivated by love for people. This rightness of life is what a person in Christ hungers for.
The world we live in proffers 'happiness' to those flaunting the rules of God. Our world finds it impossible to conceive of a happy life without living outside His rules. Those choosing God's way are mocked as though they don't know what real living is. Yet Jesus has declared the happy person is so, because they do good. Goodness equals happiness. The price of this joy is not doing what is not good.
See you in church!