WISDOM FOR LIVING DAILY DEVOTIONAL
NOVEMBER 28, 2023
TOPIC: ARE YOU HUNGERING AND THIRSTING FOR RIGHTEOUSNESS?
BY T. O. BANSO
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled” (Matthew 5:6 New King James Version).
Hunger and thirst are natural urges or desires in man. They’re proof of life! A dead man neither experiences hunger nor thirst. Sickness sometimes results in loss of appetite or inability to eat and drink.
In the Beatitudes, Jesus says, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled” (Matthew 5:6 New King James Version). Young’s Literal Translation puts it this way: “Happy those hungering and thirsting for righteousness — because they shall be filled.” The Amplified Bible says, “Blessed [joyful, nourished by God’s goodness] are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness [those who actively seek right standing with God], for they will be [completely] satisfied.” Note the phrase: those who actively seek right standing with God. Without trying to add to the Word of God, I usually say: Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for it shows they are spiritually alive!
Man can survive without food and water for some time but beyond a certain limit, lack of both, especially water, could lead to death. Hungering and thirsting for righteousness keep you spiritually alive. Are you alive or dead? Revelation 3:1b says, “I know your works, that you have a name that you are alive, but you are dead” (New King James Version).
Leonard Ravenhill, in his book, Revival God’s Way, notes, “The church right now has more fashion than passion, is more pathetic than prophetic, is more superficial than supernatural.” Are you hungering and thirsting for righteousness? Hunger and thirst for righteousness refer to appetite, a desire, a craving for righteousness. Do you have an appetite for righteousness or are you content the way you are?
There are two kinds of righteousness: God’s righteousness and self-righteousness. God’s righteousness is “Holy and upright living, in accordance with God’s standard” (Nelson’s Illustrated Bible Dictionary). God’s righteousness is imputed to man through faith in Jesus Christ. Self-righteousness is morality – man’s insufficient effort at living to please God or win His approval through keeping rules (Romans 10:3-4). Isaiah 64:6b says all our deeds of righteousness are as filthy rags.
A sinner needs to seek God and His righteousness. “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you” (Matthew 6:33 New King James Version). The Amplified Bible says, “But first and most importantly seek (aim at, strive after) His kingdom and His righteousness [His way of doing and being right—the attitude and character of God], and all these things will be given to you also.” Are you striving after God’s kingdom and His righteousness?
If you’re born again, you’re declared righteous. “For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him”(2 Corinthians 5:21 New King James Version). That means God doesn’t see you standing on your own but through Jesus Christ. So if born-again people are righteous because of their faith in Jesus Christ, must they still seek God’s righteousness? Why are they to hunger and thirst for righteousness again?
The answer is this: Because though they’re righteous, they don’t always act consistent with their status – they don’t always act righteously i.e. live holy and uprightly – so they must strive to live up to God’s standard that He has called them to.
Hunger and thirst are continual desires. That you’ve eaten or drunk water doesn’t mean the hunger or thirst won’t return but you must satisfy these urges as soon as they return. You must never be permanently content with your righteousness level – always seek more of it. Hunger for it and God will satisfy your hunger. Thirst for it and God will fill you with it.
Psalm 42:1-2 says, “As the deer pants for the water brooks, so pants my soul for You, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When shall I come and appear before God?” (New King James Version). Also, Psalm 107:9 says, “For He satisfies the longing soul, and fills the hungry soul with goodness” (New King James Version).
Don’t be satisfied with your righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith. Paul said he wanted to be found in Jesus Christ, not having his own righteousness, which was from the law, but that which was through faith in Christ, the righteousness which was from God by faith (Philippians 3:9).
Also, Romans 3:21-22 talks about the righteousness of God thus, “But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, 22 even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe. For there is no difference” (New King James Version)
God created the natural urge for food and water in man and nothing else will satisfy him – no viable substitute for food and water though humans in their devices have come up with alternatives but they’ll never satisfy man.
Similarly, God has created in man a vacuum or space in man that only He can fill but humans in our devices foolishly go after other useless alternatives. Nevertheless, we remain empty until we go after God and fill ourselves with Him or allow Him to fill us with Himself.
In what way have you been wrongly or foolishly trying to satisfy the hunger and thirst for God that He has created in you? Have you been filling yourself with ungodly passion and quest for power, money, liquor, sex or ambition, clubbing, partying, etc.? All this will never satisfy you. “Do not labor for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to everlasting life, which the Son of Man will give you, because God the Father has set His seal on Him” (John 6:27 New King James Version).
If you hunger and thirst after God, He’ll satisfy you. Accept His invitation to eat and drink at His table. “On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, ‘If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water’” (John 7:37-38 New King James Version). Desire God more and what He wants.
If you are not born again, you need to give your life to Jesus now. I urge you to take the following steps: *Admit that you are a sinner and you cannot save yourself and repent of your sins. *Confess Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. *Renounce your past way of life – your relationship with the devil and his works. *Invite Jesus into your life. *As a mark of seriousness to mature in the faith, start attending a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church. There they will teach you how to grow in the Kingdom of God.
Kindly say this prayer now: O Lord God, I come unto You today. I know I am a sinner and I cannot save myself. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to save me and God raised Him on the third day. I repent of my sins and confess Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. I surrender my life to Jesus now and invite Him into my heart. By this prayer, I know I am saved. Thank You, Jesus, for saving me and making me a child of God.
I believe you have said this prayer from your heart. Congratulations! You will need to join a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church in your area where they will teach you how to live your new life in Christ Jesus. I pray that you flourish like a palm tree and grow like a cedar of Lebanon. May you grow into Christ in all things and become all God wants you to be. I will be glad to hear from you. The Lord be with you.
PRAYER POINTS: Father, give me a thirst and hunger for You. Cause my heart to hunger and thirst for righteousness. Satisfy my longing soul, and fill my hungry soul with goodness. I shall not have my righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ.
(For over 900 in-depth and powerful messages by T. O. Banso, visit www.cedarministry.org).
T. O. Banso is the President of Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
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