“The grace of our Lord was poured out on me abundantly, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus” (1Tim. 1:14).
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled” (Matthew 5:6).
It is impossible to know how Paul’s past actions must have haunted Him. In light of his new revelation his deeds must have appeared even grosser, more horrific. By his own testimony he had been “a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent man” (1Tim. 1:13). In his mind he was the “worst” of sinners (1Tim. 1:15). And so he was, and so are we.
We are souls stranded in a spiritual wasteland. We eat, but wake hungry. We drink, but know deep thirst. The stuff of life wars with our soul and competes for our affection, promising so much yet leaving us empty. Sometimes it is all we can do to put one foot before the other and walk by faith, but we must.
This is the sort of world we must traverse until He tears it down and makes it new. Christians should always be hungry and thirsty and always filled and again hungry and thirsty. Experiencing the desert, the sense that we are just about starving or dying of thirst is a part of the Christian life—for now.
So He calls, “Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost (Isa. 55:1). We must be hungry and thirsty, but we have no currency with which to buy these things. We, like suckling cubs are to come longingly to our maker for nourishment “without money and without cost.” There is a cost, but what we could not and cannot afford grace supplies.
If we are not hungry, if we do not ache for more of His righteousness, then the riches of the world have filled us. We are that seed choked out by “the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other things” (Matt. 4:19). We must always be hungry and thirsty for God and His righteousness, always be craving more.
The spiritual realm does not operate as our world does. Rather, the more God gives of Himself to us the greater our capacity for God. His love stretches us till our souls increases and yearn for more of Him. Thus, more of God creates a hunger and thirst for more of God. Gaining grace and love shouldn’t sate our hunger or thirst for righteousness. Instead, being filled with God and His righteousness should create greater spiritual hunger and thirst.
This is good. Because, we have this promise: “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled” (Matt. 5:6). These are sweet words to those who walk through the desert of sin with dry swollen tongues. These are beautiful words to those tempted to eat the stale and rotting bread the world sells at such a high cost. These pursuers of righteousness will always be hungry and thirsty, but hungry and thirsty they will “come to the waters” and be filled.
So, hunger, thirst and be blessed.