How Hungry? Tests of Spiritual Appetite

Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.” Matthew 5:6

What does it mean to “hunger and thirst after righteousness”?  In his book “Studies in the Sermon on the Mount”,  Dr.David Martyn Lloyd-Jones gives a few tests to determine the presence of spiritual appetite.

“The first test is this:  Do we see through all our own false righteousness?”  This would be the first indication of such appetite.  That  is, unless one recognizes his righteousness as nothing but “filthy rags”, there would be no hunger for something better.

Another test is discipline.  Dr. Lloyd-Jones says, “This subject of discipline is of vital importance.  I am suggesting that unless we day by day voluntarily and deliberately remind ourselves of this righteousness which we need, we are not very likely to be hungering and thirsting after it. The man who truly hungers and thirsts makes himself look at it every day.”  Discipline is finding the time to satisfy the hunger pangs that one feels.

The next test according to Dr. Lloyd-Jones is this:  “The man who is hungering and thirsting after righteousness always puts himself in the way of getting it”.   The blind man, Bartimaeus, could not heal himself, so he put himself in the way where Jesus was passing through and made such a commotion that Jesus could not help but notice him.   In modern life, this implies going to Church and being involved in the Church, reading the Bible, and making time for prayer.

Dr. Lloyd-Jones mentions the need for reading the biographies of saints and all literature one can lay hold on the matter of righteousness and the Kingdom of God.  He continues, “The people who hunger and thirst after righteousness are frantic.  They do all these things; they are seeking righteousness everywhere; and yet they know their efforts are never going to lead to it.  … It does not matter whom you look at.  It seems to work out like this: it is only as you seek this righteousness with the whole of your being that you can truly discover it. You can never find it yourself.  Yet the people who sit back and do nothing never seem to get it.  That is God’s method.  … We have done everything, and having done all we are still miserable sinners: and then we see that, as little children, we are to receive it as the free gift of God.”

These then are the tests for spiritual appetite.  Dr. Lloyd-Jones concludes by asking: “Is it(hungering after righteousness) the greatest desire of our life?  Is it the deepest longing of our being? Can we say quite honestly and truly that we desire above everything else in this world truly to know God and to be like the Lord Jesus Christ, to be rid of self in every shape and form, and to live only, always and entirely to His glory and to His honor?”

If so, then as we keep on asking, seeking and knocking, indeed we shall be filled — ‘with all the fullness of God’.

 

*** Photo by Sifu Renka

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