Matthew – Day 22 – Soul-full
lease begin by reading the Shema out loud and continue trying to memorize it.
“Hear, O Israel. The LORD is our God. The LORD alone. Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. Amen.”
Continue trying to memorize “The Beatitudes” (Matthew 5:1-12). Today we add verse 6.
The fourth beatitude from the Sermon on the Mount is found in Matthew 5:6. “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.” It is hard for us to truly understand hunger and thirst. We have been blessed to live in a country where most do not worry about their next meal. Probably the closest we can come to understanding what this feels like is the thought of being really thirsty. Have you ever been so thirsty that you felt like your throat was sand paper? Do you remember how good the liquid tasted that quenched your thirst?
God made us with passion. Passion is a powerful force within people – it can be used for good or evil. Our fleshly passions were given to us for a purpose. God gave Adam and Eve an appetite for power so they would rule over the creatures of the earth. He gave them physical desire so they could populate the earth. He gave them curiosity and independence to encourage the exploration of and filling of the earth. And He gave them a desire to be with Him. All of these desires were given to move mankind toward good, but Satan found that He could twist these desires just a bit – and the result would be negative.
How have men and women used these passions? We have become power hungry and enjoy dominating other people. We have become passionate for money and possessions. We have many Spirit-draining addictions (alcohol, drugs, pornography, video games, social media, etc.). We are full of the passion of hatred (toward other races, religions, etc.). We have deep desires for attention (lying, exaggerating, being the “drama queen”, immodest dress, physical relationships, etc.).
What it comes down to is we are searching for something – but we are searching in all the wrong places. When God created us, I believe He left a place in our heart that can only be filled by Him. We have this incredible feeling that we are missing something, yet we look to all of the things mentioned above to try to fill this place in our heart. Power, money, possessions, addictions, hatred, attention, and other people cannot fill us – only God can.
The passion that God placed in each of us is there to cause us to hunger and thirst for righteousness.
Read Psalm 42:1-2 (out loud). The psalmist beautifully describes how our souls can thirst for God.
Now read John 4:32-34 (out loud). What did Jesus say His food was? The thing that sustained Jesus, as physical food sustains each of us, was to do the will of God and finish the work that God had sent Him to do.
The only way to accomplish God’s will in this life is to wrestle our passion away from our fleshly desires and return that passion to the rightful owner of it – the Spirit. When we take that zeal, desire, and hunger – and apply it to what it was intended for (God, His Word, His work, and relationship with Him), then our desire can be satisfied and our emptiness can truly be filled. The flesh can never be filled or satisfied, but when we hunger and thirst for righteousness, we become soul-full.
Stephen Willis’ Discipleship Materials