The Fruit of The Spirit, Lesson 11

I am writing today from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

The key text for this week’s SS lesson is Matthew 5:6, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, For they shall be filled’.”

 

Why is it a blessing to be hungry? Millions of people have starved to death, not because they lived in a third world country and are poor, but because they have a disease which takes away their appetite and they simply can’t eat. Famous millionaires have become anorexic and died of starvation not because they had no food, but rather because they had no appetite.

It is the same reason Jesus tells the church of Laodicea, “I wish you were hot or cold”. You see when we are lukewarm not only are we riding the fence but we do not sense our need of Jesus and His righteousness. I remember years ago going to a camp meeting in Wewoka Oklahoma. I was not planning on spending the night in a tent until late that evening when it was too late for me to drive home after the evening meeting. My friends in the next tent offered my blankets but I did not think I needed any blankets sleeping in a tent in an Oklahoma July. Well let me tell you something. Even in Oklahoma, come 3am in July it still gets cold! I was freezing. I wanted to do something about it. I wanted to make a change to get warm. This is why Jesus would rather his church be cold than lukewarm. He wants us to sense our need to change and accept His righteousness.

In order for us to experience Christ’s righteousness, self must be put of the way. Malachi 4:2 refers to the Sun of righteousness. So righteousness is the same as hot. Matthew 6:23 equates evil with darkness as does John 3:19. It was in the darkness that I got so cold. You know why Laodicea got so lukewarm? They were doing good works which Jesus recognized which were hot. But Jesus also recognized they were doing the good works for selfish reasons, which was cold. The end result was they just came out lukewarm. Paul has the solution for being lukewarm in Galatians 2:20, “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.” With self interest out of the way Christ can perform His perfect will in us.

While millions starve physically with food nearby, millions more starve spiritually with churches on every corner and Bibles in every home. Why? Because they are not spiritually hungry. Let’s ask Jesus for the blessing of hunger and thirst so that we can be filled with His righteousness which will warm our hearts and cure our cold and lukewarm natures.

Why Its a Blessing to be Hungry

Sunsets St.Pete 011

I am writing tonight from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

 

After reading this passage tonight in Early Writings something dawned on me. Here is what I read, “I was shown a time when Satan especially triumphed. Multitudes of Christians were slain in a dreadful manner, because they would preserve the purity of their religion. The Bible was hated, and efforts were made to rid the earth of it. The people were forbidden to read it, on pain of death; and all the copies which could be found were burned. But I saw that God had a special care for His Word. He protected it. At different periods there were but a very few copies of the Bible in existence, yet He would not suffer His Word to be lost, for in the last days copies of it were to be so multiplied that every family could possess it. I saw that when there were but few copies of the Bible, it was precious and comforting to the persecuted followers of Jesus. It was read in the most secret manner, and those who had this exalted privilege felt that they had had an interview with God, with His Son Jesus, and with His disciples. But this blessed privilege cost many of them their lives. If discovered, they were taken to the headsman’s block, to the stake, or to the dungeon to die of starvation.” {EW 214.2} 

We often talk about all the modern conveniences we have today. Cars, microwaves, washers and dryers, cell phones in our pockets, even the Internet in our pocket phones and on our laptops. However when we get to heaven and meet with people who have lived in every age of Earth’s history none of them will be in awe of our Facebook privileges or fancy sports cars. In heaven, while talking to someone who lived during the dark ages what will impress them the most is, we had Bibles! I love the Internet and Facebook because it keeps me in touch with all of my friends, but those who treasure God’s Word see the Bible as an “interview with God!” How cool is that! 

Our mothers told us there were kids starving in Africa when we did not eat our physical food, but blessed is the mother who reminded us of those starving spiritually when we did not want to eat the Bread of life. I look at the world today and I pray, no I beg God to create a hunger in us all for God’s Word. In Matthew 5 Jesus says, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness.” While millions starve to death in Africa where there is famine and no food there are also millionaires who have starved to death right here in America. Why? Not because they had no money or food but because they had no appetite! Certain diseases robbed them of their appetite and they starved to death right here in America where food is everywhere. Likewise millions are starving not just from the dark ages but in today’s age with Bibles all over the place. They are starving to death because they have no desire for God’s Word. They are not hungry for God’s Word. See why Jesus said hungry people are so blessed, they will eat! They will do something about their situation. 

A while back I was talking with a man who I was supposed to be having Bible studies with. That is what he invited me over for. Yet he never wanted to study, jus talk. He told me about his uncle who really knew the Bible. His uncle actually had some crazy ideas but my friend thought he was a Bible Scholar. Finally I asked my friend how he knew his uncle knew so much about the Bible without knowing it himself. Friends the Bible must be studied personally. We must study it for ourselves. It is like a personal interview with God, not a group interview. No one can study it for us for the simple fact that we can never know who really knows it unless we know it too! The only way I can know if you know the Bible or not, is if I know it too. 

I am praying tonight for God to make us all hungry for His Word. I am praying that we will treasure our Bibles more than our computers or anything else!