Blessed are those who hunger
and thirst for righteousness (Part 2)
"As the deer pants for the water brooks,
So my soul pants for Thee, 0 God.
My soul thirsts for God, for the living God;
When shall I come and appear before Him?"
Righteousness and fellowship with God go together. Only as we come into the presence of our King and remain hidden in Him, will His true righteousness be expressed through us. To remain in His presence every moment becomes our essential activity; for apart from Him, we can do nothing. No matter how much we desire to please God, unless our words and action flow from His life within us, we will only produce self-righteousness which has no eternal value.
Since hunger and thirst for righteousness spring from awareness of personal need and emptiness, dependence on the life of Christ begins to replace self-effort and self- seeking. Therefore, His hungry and thirsty ones are those who daily seek to be hidden in Christ, totally yielded to His will, and desiring only to have His thoughts and ways expressed through their lives. As hunger and thirst for Him and His righteousness grows to be the motivating force in our lives, the song of our hearts becomes:
Fill Thou my life, 0 Lord, my God,
In every part with praise.
That my whole being may proclaim
Thy being and Thy ways.
FIRST DAY: Review Matthew 5:6 and read Romans 7:18--8:2. Growing in His righteousness may be described in terms of three stages. First, at spiritual rebirth, an initial transaction occurs whereby Christís righteousness is imparted (through the indwelling Holy Spirit) to the hungry and thirsty ones who come to Him. There may or may not be immediate outward change. The struggle which often characterizes this stage of spiritual growth is shown by Paul in the following verses. (Ask God to give you His understanding.)
1. In spite of some of his actions, what did Paul know about himself and his righteousness? (What desire shows his true nature in Christ?) See Rom. 7:20-22, 25.
2.Which statements express his hunger and thirst for righteousness?
3. Describe the conflict Paul experienced.
4. (Personal) Can you identify with this conflict? Explain.
5. Paul makes a joyful announcement in Romans 8:1-2. What is it?
6. What does this announcement mean to you personally?
SECOND AND THIRD DAY: The second stage of righteousness is gradual and progressive. By the Holy Spirit in us, a transformation takes place whereby the righteousness of Christ is increasingly manifested in thought, word and action. As we continue to hunger and thirst for His life and therefore choose His ways, we realize the joy, peace and purity of living in harmony with the heart of God.
1. To those who hunger and thirst after righteousness the Bible offers specific practical steps to fulfillment.
When followed, these will clear the way for His righteousness to be manifested through your daily life.
Identify these steps. How can you follow them?
1 John 1:9
Romans. 6:11, 13
2. Read Phil. 4:13, 19. As you set your mind to follow the preceding steps, what helpful message do you find in these verses?
3. I Tim. 6:11 has an exhortation (encouragement to act) for you concerning righteousness. What is it?
4. 2 Tim. 2:22 affirms the above exhortation and gives additional guidelines. What are these?
5. (Personal) As you consider your circumstances this week and your own areas of weakness and vulnerability, how can you carry out the above exhortations? (Remember also what you have in Christ and what He promises to be and do for you.)
FOURTH DAY: There is an ultimate righteousness or perfection that will only be realized when we meet Jesus ďface to faceĒ in our new bodies at the final resurrection.
1. How is hunger and thirst for this completed righteousness expressed by Paul in...
1 Thessalonians 5:23-24
1 John 3:1-3
2. (Personal) Can you identify with this longing? (Whether you can or not, express the thoughts and heart to God. Such transparent two-way communication is essential to an intimate love-relationship with God.
FIFTH and SIXTH DAY: Read Jude 20-25.
1. State Godís exhortation to you in verses 20-21. (Notice the attitude and action that keep you in His love.)
2. Sharing in Christís righteousness, what will you find yourself doing? (vs. 21-22)
3. What is His promise to you in v. 24?
4. What does v. 25 tell you about your Lord and King?
5. (Personal) Write your response to Him.
The Secret of Abundant Life: Lesson 7
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