John 6:34-35 (ESV) Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst. But I said to you that you have seen me and yet do not believe.”
I am not absolutely certain what happens during a church service but immediately following my family is always hungry. As soon as the offering is taken and service dismissed, the debate begins as to where to eat. “I’m starving! Can we go to “insert restaurant”? It is clear by the appearance of my people that there is no imminent threat of demise yet one would not be so certain by their wails of distress. If I dare insinuate that there is food at home or I have prepared a meal, our girls will turn their noses up and state their preference. Now in everyone’s defense, the fellowship aspect is what they are really after. To congregate together which I strongly support and encourage. The truth of the matter is not their state of being but rather their preference.
Jesus told them, “I am the bread of life.” He went on to explain that “whoever comes to me shall not hunger.” He took it one step further in that “whoever believes in me shall never thirst.” To hunger means a feeling of discomfort or weakness caused by lack of food coupled with a desire to eat. It is a strong desire for something that produces a craving for it. Desire compels us to find satisfaction. It becomes a drive. Are you hungry today? Do you thirst? What is the object of your attention or even dare I say affection? There are few reading this who are on the verge of starvation but all will admit that there is something they crave and desire in life.
“But I said to you that you have seen me and yet do not believe.” Full satisfaction is found when Jesus Christ becomes our source of life. Food and water are essential to natural survival but righteousness is where eternal life is to be found. We must believe that Jesus can satisfy our hunger, need and yes even wants to come to him hungry and thirsty with complete expectation. Righteousness sounds so ominous and foreboding. It sounds like a lot of hard work and habit changes. Like a manual filled with rules and regulations throwing down heavy doctrine on top of us. More baggage to lug through life. This is not the case at all – right standing with God releases the heavy yoke and burdens. Who the Son sets free is free indeed. There is life and liberty in the Spirit of God living in us that can only be experienced by those who hunger and thirst for Him.
Romans 3:21-26 (ESV) But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it— the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.
”Since we’ve compiled this long and sorry record as sinners (both us and them) and proved that we are utterly incapable of living the glorious lives God wills for us, God did it for us. Out of sheer generosity he put us in right standing with himself. A pure gift. He got us out of the mess we’re in and restored us to where he always wanted us to be. And he did it by means of Jesus Christ.” (The Message)
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.” You cannot hunger or thirst for something you have not experienced. I have never eaten lamb that I am consciously aware of. Therefore, I am not going to hunger for it. I may have a desire to try it. But hunger or desire is established by an encounter or experience with something or someone. I may meet an individual who peaks my interest and I would like to spend time with them. You cannot hunger and thirst for righteousness without knowledge and understanding of what it is and how you achieve it. Otherwise, it is an experiment. I can look up recipes and buy all the ingredients to make lamb for dinner. Then I will give it a go and see how it turns out, but until I taste it for myself – there will not be a hunger or desire for it.
Righteousness is established in Jesus Christ through faith in the Grace of God alone. End of story. It’s finished. I can add things to it, or try to make it more palatable through preference but it does not change or alter God’s Plan and Promise. The sum total of my faith is the sufficiency of God’s Gift of Grace that establishes a right relationship with Him in my life. I can do nothing to earn or deserve the Grace of God. It cost the Father everything to give His Children the Kingdom. Therefore to hunger and thirst for the Lord requires relinquishment of our pride.
Psalm 34:9-10 (ESV) Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him! Oh, fear the Lord, you his saints, for those who fear him have no lack! The young lions suffer want and hunger; but those who seek the Lord lack no good thing.
Lions are the only wild cats that live in groups. These groups are called prides. I guess it is fitting that the “king of the jungle” would have an established kingdom. Isn’t it a bit ironic that the “young lions suffer and hunger”. There can only be up to three male lions in a pride. The younger males who reach adulthood are driven away to establish their own pride. “Those who seek the Lord lack no good thing.” What are you seeking today? Do survive in the world? Or to be part of a Kingdom? Kingdom culture is full satisfaction. Let me say it again, “Those who seek the Lord lack NO GOOD THING.” If you are not living in full satisfaction and even abundance then there is more to this righteousness thing to be discovered. We must taste and see that the Lord is good to create a hunger and thirst for more of Him. I must also mention that righteousness comes at the sacrifice of pride.
Luke 15:17-20 (ESV) “But when he came to himself, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have more than enough bread, but I perish here with hunger! I will arise and go to my father, and I will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Treat me as one of your hired servants.”’ And he arose and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him.
There is a common misconception that God puts certain expectations on us. An expectation would be considered a condition which is not possible in unconditional love. As our drives and desires detour us, it is easy for the enemy to convince us that God will not accept us like before based on our sin or unwillingness to follow Him. This is simply not true. Every single day every single Christian believer struggles with and engages in sin. I don’t how they look, what they say or how they live. Sin is a common problem. Some are just a little more honest about it. On the same note, every single day every single person strives to contend against their flesh some with success and others in total weakness. Again, the Grace of God is enough. It is sufficient. God knew you when He formed you and provided enough grace, love and mercy to overcome judgment in our life. The only thing for us to do is live in it.
The prodigal son took his inheritance. We have an inheritance in the Lord. Sometimes we see it and other times take it for granted. Impatience wants everything right now. We do not want our control, comfort or convenience compromised so “we make it happen”. When filled with dissatisfaction, disappointment and discouragement – what happens? We turn to the Lord. Exhausted and worn out – hunger and thirst for the love, joy and peace of God send us running for home (or the altar and/or prayer closet). “When he came to himself” – it was the truth that see him free and brought him full satisfaction. He only wanted his base needs met. The young man was hungry and just wanted a nice meal. What he gained was his father’s “kingdom”? So it is with you friend, when our desperation turns to desire for the Father and His Kingdom – grace shows us that the Father was waiting with open arms and an open heart to receive us.
Revelation 3:20 (ESV) Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.
Our family friends are hunters. Our fellowship with them has introduced a whole new world of “fine dining”. I have experienced many foods in their company that I had never tried. Truth is – I have enjoyed them all. I believe that the Lord offers us “bread of life” and “living water” on a continual and daily basis. He stands at the door ready to come in and create a “meal” for us called communion. It is in fellowship and intimacy with the Lord that we experience fullness. Satisfaction. Contentment. As our soul prospers, so does our natural life with the Fruit of His Spirit. Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Some may say that’s not what I want – I am praying for a partner, spouse, children, new job, new house, and more money.
The desire within us creates the drive that moves us. We do not hunger and thirst for righteousness because we have not experienced the fullness of a prospering soul, made up mind, and perfect peace. We want our preference and not His Perfection. Perfect love casts out all fear. Imagine never having a worry, care, anxious thought or sleepless night?
Happier were the victims of the sword than the victims of hunger, who wasted away, pierced by lack of the fruits of the field. (Lamentations 4:9) We are overcomers in Jesus Christ who live in the promise of victory. Every detail of our life ordained for good for those who love Him. He promises to do exceedingly and abundantly more than we can think, ask or even imagine. Yet many will die of starvation choosing fruitless fields and barren brooks rather than living in the abundance of God’s Kingdom and His Spirit’s Fruitfulness. Taste and see that the Lord is good! An invitation to experience an exquisite meal prepared to perfection by a Gracious Father free to those who will open the door to Him. If Wolfgang Puck, Racheal Ray, Emeril Lagasse, or Jamie Oliver came to your door with the intention of cooking you a wonderful meal, you might open it as they are famous chefs. Their cooking touted by the world and faces plastered on everything from television to cookware. If familiar with them, you would throw open the door and show them in. However, Jesus knocks and there is a hesitation. What if we do not like the life that He has prepared for us? What if we do not prefer His Will over our own? What if I don’t want what He has for me? A lack of belief will always foster lack in our life. To live a life of full satisfaction requires a hunger and thirst for righteousness that means believing that it is palatable for life. My hunger and thirst is individual, but when I hunger and thirst for the bread of life and living water – my life becomes a meal to be shared.
Philippians 4:11-13 (ESV) Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me.