Devotions: Beatitudes (4) — Hungering and thirsting for God

Blake, William, 1757-1827. The First Temptation —” Command that these stones be made bread.”, from Art in the Christian Tradition, a project of the Vanderbilt Divinity Library, Nashville, TN. http://diglib.library.vanderbilt.edu/act-imagelink.pl?RC=54291 (retrieved July 12, 2014). Original source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:ParadiseRBlake2.jpg.

You’re blessed when you’ve worked up a good appetite for God. He’s food and drink in the best meal you’ll ever eat. – Matthew 5:6

“Hungering and thirsting” for God is one of the principles of kingdom-living, Jesus teaches us here. We usually get what we want, and Jesus challenges us here to want God more than anything else, to “pant” after Him, using the figure of Psalm 63. In his temptation, Jesus retorted to Satan who tempted him to turn stones to bread after forty days and nights in the wilderness, “Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4). The true follower of Jesus has an insatiable desire for God, and a delight in God’s presence that the unbelieving world cannot ever understand. Religion is much more than a list of rules, or even a correct theological interpretation, or having the right church. Religion is a matter of really wanting God!

What does it mean to really want God? It means that I have a relationship with God that is true and deep. It means that I consider God “my” God, as the Apostle Paul notes in 2 Timothy 1:12 — “for I know whom I have believed, and I am convinced that he is able to guard until that Day what has been entrusted to me.” The true child of God is not a stranger, or just a dutiful servant, but a son or daughter of the heavenly Father. There is a desired intimacy between God and His children. His love is better than life itself — “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain” (Philippians 1:21). It also means that God is my delight, that I want Him more than merely sustaining life on this earth. He gives me peace during the long hours of the night (Psalm 63:6) and I find shelter in the “shadow of His wings,” using the highly descriptive language of Psalm 63.

I think the problem with much of our Christian faith is that we look at it as a contractural arrangement between God and myself. I have made a “decision” for God, and He has forgiven me and accepted me into His heaven. I am declared righteous before Him because of the death and resurrection of Christ (“justification”). It all seems so legal, so merchantile, so indifferent to what a relationship with a best Friend is all about. Not that I am disregarding such a theological contract, or in any way despising it. But there is so much more to the Christian life and faith. No wonder the great American theologian, Jonathan Edwards, talked more about the “beauty” of God than others.

Do you hunger and thirst after God? Do you want Him more than anything else? Do you have a relationship of a son or daughter to a loving, constant, always present heavenly Father? See God in a new light and a new way today. Fall in love again with a loving God.

Girl drinking water in Rwanda (from Partners in Health initiative), from Art in the Christian Tradition, a project of the Vanderbilt Divinity Library, Nashville, TN. http://diglib.library.vanderbilt.edu/act-imagelink.pl?RC=54308 (retrieved July 12, 2014). Original source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/jongos/2824416129/.


Note: For the Beautitude series follow this link.

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Carl Shank

A Christ-follower and mentor of leaders and churches whose life plan is to make an eternal difference in lives for Jesus Christ. Carl currently serves as the Executive Pastor of Cross Roads Brethren in Christ Church (Mount Joy, PA), President of Carl Shank Consulting, and as a Board Member of the Mount Joy Chamber of Commerce. B. S. in Mathematics from Dickinson College. M. Div. and Th. M. from Westminster Theological Seminary (Philadelphia Campus). Carl's insights have been a great encouragement to Thomas B. Grosh IV, Associate Director, Emerging Scholars Network. To God be the glory!

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