Wednesday, July 10, 2013
A PASSIONATE THIRST FOR GOD
The LORD Jesus has declared in the Word that if any one should thirst, they were to go to Him and from Him they would receive the Living Waters flowing (literally "gushing, torrential") out of his heart ("belly"):
37 In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink.
38 He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.
Elsewhere the LORD spoke of the blessedness of those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled:
6 Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.
We understand that to thirst for righteousness is to thirst for the LORD God, Who alone may be called the Righteous One Who is the Holy Servant of the Father (IS. 53:11). People the world over since time began have sought to satisfy the thirst and hunger to fulfill the vacancy that we all sense deep within our hearts - that which the KJV classifies as a "vanity" within (ROM. 8:20) and the LORD Jesus told us that whoever would seek to satisfy these inner longings of the spirit with earthly things would "thirst again" (JOHN 4:13).
Yet the world keeps on trying - pursuing relentlessly the pleasures of this world in all their sensual varieties. Some dream of winning the lottery, and living on 'easy street' which entails the "broad way that leads to destruction" (MATT. 7:13); others seek out assortments of drugs to get that euphoric high, which enables them (temporarily) to achieve a care free happiness that allows them to forget their burdens and problems and pain - for a while anyway. "Sex and drugs and rock n roll is all my body needs" is the lie of that particular song we've all heard.Others seek out satisfaction in marriage, and family; those who have the 'single-time blues' believe that if they were only married - THEN they wouldn't be lonely and know satisfaction and fulfillment! And while God Himself stated that "it is not good for man to be alone" (GEN. 2:18) ultimately, the satisfaction of the heart can only be truly filled (to overflowing) with His own Person!
There is nothing, absolutely nothing physically in existence in this world that can satisfy the longing of the heart, that spiritual aspect of man, for we indeed are a three fold being: body, soul and spirit (1 THESS. 5:23; HEB. 4:12) and to satisfy our spiritual hunger and thirst with physical things is more bizarre than trying to feed your houseplant a rib eye steak, or feed your dog with bird seed!
12 Neither have I gone back from the commandment of his lips; I have esteemed the words of his mouth more than my necessary food.
Note what this saint stated: "more than my necessary food." Or in other words, food that is required in order for him to survive! Job was saying, I'd rather starve to death than to not have Your Word O LORD!
This is one of the reasons why we as Christians fast sometimes when we pray; its a means to show the LORD our earnestness and intense desire for Him and His will for our lives - that we fore go any and all distractions and needs, including our necessary food, so that we may fully attend to Him!
There is but one who can bring contentment and fulfillment in our lives, and that, by indwelling us with Himself. The apostle Paul told the saints at Colosse:
"To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory:"
The indwelling Christ, in the heart of the believer! This truth is spoken of everywhere in the Scriptures:
20 At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you.
23 I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.
20 I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.
See also: EPH. 3:17-19; 1 JOHN 3:24; and REV. 3:20.
So once we know the indwelling Christ via the spiritual rebirth (JOHN 3:3-5; 1 PET. 1:23) then we never, ever thirst again, right? Well, not exactly . . .
If we lapse into the flesh, we may (temporarily) thirst once again for the things of the world, just as in type, the children of Israel who were once liberated from Egypt, sought to return there for the "leeks and onions" (could you imagine their breath??) and the 'spice of the world' as it were. Yet if we are true children of God, the LORD will not allow us to remain in such a state, but will chasten and rebuke us as necessary - consider what He did for the prodigal son: He sent a famine to the entire land in which he dwelt, just to scourge this one son for his own good (HEB. 12:11) and to work righteousness into his life!
Such good saints who find these pulls, struggles and temptations within themselves will know satisfaction at the Hand of the LORD, from themselves!
The backslider in heart shall be filled with his own ways: and a good man shall be satisfied from himself.
Yet what of us who are walking in the Spirit, not fulfilling the lusts of the flesh (GAL. 5:16-17), will we never know thirst again? The Word declares after all, that if we hunger and thirst for righteousness, we SHALL be filled, right?
Correct, and so as we indeed walk in the Spirit, we will in fact be filled and no longer empty, no longer desiring the things of this world - however, I don't believe this means we won't continue to hunger for GOD, a hunger to know Him more and more - the vast, eternal depths that is Christ!
Of all the New Testament saints, I think most agree that the one that was closest to the LORD was Paul; if any one would be content with his relationship with Christ, it would be him! And yet, what did he declare to the saints at Philippi?
That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death;
Say, what Paul? That you "may know Him"? Don't you already KNOW the LORD Paul?
Obviously the apostle knew the LORD, so what he meant was, that he may know the LORD to greater and greater depths, because elsewhere he says,
8 Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ;
9 And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ:
Such is the love of Paul for the LORD, his thirsting, his longing for his Savior and most intimate Friend that he would much rather depart this world and be with Christ "which is far better" (PHIL. 1:23).
David would be the Old Testament saint I would choose for the one that was so very intimate with the LORD (a very close second, if not someone tied for number one position in my mind would be Moses who spoke to the LORD face to Face); yet likewise David, who knew the LORD, said:
As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God.
2 My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God: when shall I come and appear before God?
And again, the Psalmist said:
O God, thou art my God; early will I seek thee: my soul thirsteth for thee, my flesh longeth for thee in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is;
2 To see thy power and thy glory, so as I have seen thee in the sanctuary.
3 Because thy lovingkindness is better than life, my lips shall praise thee.
4 Thus will I bless thee while I live: I will lift up my hands in thy name.
5 My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness; and my mouth shall praise thee with joyful lips:
6 When I remember thee upon my bed, and meditate on thee in the night watches.
7 Because thou hast been my help, therefore in the shadow of thy wings will I rejoice.
8 My soul followeth hard after thee: thy right hand upholdeth me.
We saints are on a spiritual journey, traveling on this 'Road of Righteousness' with our Chief Companion - the LORD Jesus Christ Who is our Guide "even unto death" and beyond (PS. 48:14; ROM. 5:17; 6:4), and as we proceed in life, as we yield to the LORD and allow His work of sanctification and holiness to transform us - so that we become more like Him, we know greater depths of satisfaction, contentment, fulfillment, love and truth, grace and peace as NOTHING else in all creation can provide! And this leads us to greater and more intense desire - TO KNOW HIM MORE!
We Christians sometimes ask one another, "How is your walk?" meaning, how are you progressing in your life with the LORD? What depths have you uncovered of those "unsearchable riches" that are in Christ? Walking requires one step after another, and likewise by steps of faith (2 COR. 5:6-8), we progress to know the LORD.
Another way of explaining this progression, advancement, maturity is explained by Peter:
2 PETER 3:17-18
17 Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness.
18 But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.
We certainly have no desire to fall from a steadfast walk, but to remain resolute, stable, steady and advancing in our knowing the LORD, that is "growing in grace and the knowledge of our LORD" - and this is the means by which we become intimate with another person - by spending time with them, by communicating and communing with them in fellowship, learning of them so that we "may know" them, just as Paul stated in regards to Christ. Thus its important that we keep the lines of communication with the LORD open, via His Holy Word - by which He speaks to us, and by prayer - the means by which we speak to Him in confidence, approaching the Holy Throne of grace (HEB. 4:16)!
This is not a head-knowledge sort of thing; someone once reminded me that the Bible is not a text book for the purpose of scholastic endeavors. I agreed, and responded, "its a love letter, written in the blood of the Lamb!"
Certainly there is legitimate scholarship and studying the depths of Scripture to procure 'the meat of the Word' and the myriad of doctrinal truths necessary for living for Christ (HEB. 5:14), but with the higher calling involved that entails knowing Christ Jesus on a personal level.
There is coming a dreadful day for those who claim to be believers and followers of Christ Jesus; on the day that these will see our LORD face to Face and even call Him "LORD" but His response will be: "I never knew you, depart from Me, you that work iniquity" (MATT. 7:22-24)*. Since God knows everything we naturally assume that the LORD knows who these people are, but what this speaks of is not cognitive awareness, for "all souls" belong to the LORD Who created them (EZ. 18:4), and it stands to reason, those He creates, He knows; no, what is spoken of here is the sense of "approval, recognition as belonging, to know in an intimate manner".
[* Its vital to understand that to hear the Word of the LORD (that is, to acquire understanding by the Spirit) and yet to not obey the Word of the LORD shows a lack of love and obedience on our part, and we must then question whether or not we really DO know the LORD. This does not suggest that someone who slips and falls into sin is in such a condition, but rather, one who consistently walks in the flesh and not in the Spirit - having a practicing lifestyle of sin and disobedience to the Word without ever being convicted for such; this individual must question their relationship, and likely a lack thereof, with the LORD. See JN. 14:15; MT. 7:24;see also: JMS 2:18]
Likewise in this same manner are we to "know the LORD" and we rejoice in the truth that one day, when once this old universe is wrapped up by the hand of the Almighty and tossed aside like a worn out table cloth and replaced with an entirely NEW Heavens and Earth (IS.65:6; 2 PET. 3:13; REV. 21:1) that all those that will dwell upon the Earth will know the LORD, and His righteousness - the knowledge of the LORD will fill the Earth as waters cover the sea (IS.11:8-10; JER. 31:34; also HEB. 8:11)!! I can't wait!!
So may we continue and press on in our passionate thirst for God; that we may progress, and grow and even thrive in our relationship with the True Vine as a branch that abides in the LORD Jesus Christ:
I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman.
2 Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit.
3 Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you.
4 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me.
5 I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.
6 If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.
7 If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.
8 Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.
9 As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love.
10 If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father's commandments, and abide in his love.
For those who perceive that they have slipped from a close and intimate walk with the LORD, may I encourage you to read the following article and prayerfully consider what must be done to rekindle the fire and the passion for the LORD God, our Redeemer!
WANTED - RIGHTEOUS RAIMENT
MAY THE LORD JESUS CHRIST BLESS US WITH A GREATER, MORE INTENSE, WHITE HOT LOVE AND ZEAL FOR HIM THAT WILL CONSUME ANY REMNANTS OF WORLDLY DESIRES, PASSIONS, LUSTS FROM OUR BEING, LEAVING ONLY THAT WHICH JOYFULLY SURRENDERS THE HEART IN A LIFE LONG, MOMENT BY MOMENT WORSHIP OF SWEET FELLOWSHIP WITH OUR LORD AND SAVIOR! AMEN!