Monday, May 6, 2013

The Hungry Church

"Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied” (Matthew 5:6).

It has been said many times that a pregnant woman’s craving is a motivating force for her husband. When she wakes up at two o’clock in the morning and desires pickles and ice cream, like a hungry lion running to catch a gazelle to feed his starving pride, her husband jumps out of bed and will not return until he has obtained the sufficient items to quench this desire. This passion not only reveals his love for his wife but also his love for life. Well, maybe a slight exaggeration but the concept remains true. There are things in life that we will not be hindered from obtaining knowing nothing else will suffice. Hunger is one of the greatest motivators known to the human being for flesh needs food. Spiritually speaking, souls need feeding also.

The church is made up of hungry souls that know what they need to nourish their soul and they will not settle for anything short of the “real thing.” That hunger and thirst for truth is what motivates the church of Christ to learn. Hungering for righteousness drives the church’s search because the reward of discovering truth is a deeper relationship with God. That is why the preacher of the Lord’s message must be concerned about what the congregation is being fed. The souls that are listening are hungry and in need of solid food for the nourishment of their soul.

When the church is hungry they seek God’s teaching so they can observe His commandments: “Teach me, O LORD, the way of Your statutes, And I shall observe it to the end” (Psalm 119:33). We become foolish when we think to find the interpretation of God’s truth in the mindset of flesh. No one but God can make known to flesh the way of holiness that keeps His church separated from the world. And just wanting this teaching is never enough. We must develop inside us a heart-felt necessity for God’s truth. We must know in our hearts that we will die without God’s truth feeding our starving souls. This is the hunger that motivates faithfulness.

We not only hunger for the way of God’s truth but for understanding: “Give me understanding, that I may observe Your law And keep it with all my heart” (Psalm 119:34). David shows a heart for God in this prayer because only a heart that cannot live without God’s approval will seek understanding. Oh, there are many that will come to hear the word of God preached, but their desire stops there. Only a soul searching for the way to please God will commit to understanding. This is the reason James reminds us to prove ourselves “doers of the word and not merely hearers who delude themselves” (James 1:22). Some people’s desire for truth is satisfied with man’s opinion and, in hearing this false interpretation, will convince themselves that this is the truth that will set them free. This is where heresies originate, in the minds of man and not the word of God. When Jesus prayed for His church He prayed for the unity only souls starving for righteousness will find (John 17:19). The church desiring understanding will not be denied.

One more aspect of God the church hungers for is His leadership: “Make me walk in the path of Your commandments, For I delight in it” (Psalm 119:35). One of the greatest weaknesses of many in the church is where they find their delight. This kind of attitude can and will only be found in the hungering and thirsting church because they have disciplined their minds to a specific purpose. Their delight is not in pleasing the world but knowing they are pleasing God.

In His Grace,

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