Hunger for Righteousness: Born from Death to Self
Posted on February 7, 2018 by Graeme Wilson in Freedom Fighters
When in the Holy Spirit the soul becomes kin to the Apostles, the Prophets, and all the Saints and Righteous Ones, then she is irresistibly drawn to that world, and cannot remain, but is bothered, and thirsts, and cannot cease from prayer, and although the body becomes exhausted and wants to lie down on a bed, even while lying in bed the soul longs for the Lord and the Kingdom of the Saints.
~St. Silouan the Athonite
What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it? Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? We were buried therefore with Him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. For if we have been united with Him in a death like His, we shall certainly be united with Him in a resurrection like His. We know that our old self was crucified with Him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. For one who has died has been set free from sin. Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with Him. We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over Him. For the death He died He died to sin, once for all, but the life He lives He lives to God. So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.
~ from Romans 6
Oh beloved, it is true.
Each of us has a moral compass. As C.S. Lewis has said, this is one of the best arguments for a Supreme Being. The problem for us, though, is not that we have a moral compass. The problem is our inability to get the settings right on the dial, and for us to follow said compass when we do.
There is, though, truly a way. It is driven by our hunger.
Some of what makes us hungry is what we eat. If we keep stuffing ourselves full of the junk from the world, we know that we will crave it more and more. This we understand. For each of us has come under the sway of a habit or issue that doesn’t help us, but we get stuck in the rut of doing the things we don’t want to do, over and over (Read the end of Romans 7 for Paul’s lament on this).
And still, Jesus, The King of The Universe said it this way: “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.”
So, how can we get hungry for the things that will truly satisfy?
There is a part of us that will never be satisfied with anything. It is immature. It is temporary. It is fallen, and can never be redeemed. Paul called this part of us our old man, or the flesh. And NO, he was not saying that our physical bodies were evil. He was talking about that part of us that takes its cues from the body, to the exclusion of every other voice within us.
And, even though it is the most temporary part of us, it does have (sometimes and often) the loudest voice. It will wail and demand our attention. But, as each of us formerly lost boys at the Colony know, listening to our flesh will never (not ever) give us what we want.
Can we see it?
The passage above gives us some very important insights into what happened to us when we trusted Christ and followed Him. He says that we were actually baptized (immersed, drawn down into an overwhelming flood) in Christ Jesus. And this same Jesus, in His death on the cross, drew us even further down under into His very death. This is profound. It is not a theological nicety. It really is the core of how we develop a new appetite for good.
Because, if we keep reading the passage above, we find that while the death He died drew us down in His death, it also launched us up into a whole new Life altogether. The dead part of us stayed dead, but the alive part of us is alive in a whole new, and eternal sense. This life joins us into the very family of G_d, and makes us teammates with the apostles, and prophets, and great believers across the ages.
When we understand this, we see that we are no longer part of some temporary, tiny little life, where we are trying to just get a few thrills and kudos before we kick the bucket. We have no need for bucket lists. We have no need to listen to the tiny little, lying voice within us.
We find, instead, that we have been joined to a very large, and very ancient family. We find that our activities can matter, forever, if we will let them. We learn that the believing and joyful obedience of other in the past have worked together to save our lives. And then we see it…. Our lives can do exactly the same thing. We are eternal beings who can make an eternal difference in the lives of others. When we see this, we truly begin to have deep motivation and even ravenous hunger to do the right thing.
So, are you struggling with trying to do the right thing? This fool of a writer does, and too often. Maybe it is time for both of us to remember what happened to us in our conversion, and how truly big the family we are a part of really is. Knowing we are different, and knowing we can make a difference truly changes what we are hungry for!
Written by Makala Doulos: Makala Doulos is a child of G_d, a husband to his wife, a father to his children, and a teacher to his students. But mostly, he is a prisoner set free by Jesus. Love has invaded his life, crushed it, and made it new. Now, G_d’s Love is what constrains him to live in full surrender to the freedom The Father and Son and Holy Spirit have bought for us all. Grace and Peace to you all.
Daily Quote: It is impossible to draw near to God without sorrows, without which human righteousness cannot remain unchanged… If you desire virtue, than give yourself to every affliction, for afflictions produce humility. If someone abides in virtue without afflictions, the door of pride is opened to him.
~St. Isaac the Syrian
This Week’s Verse to Memorize:
Behold, the eye of the Lord is on those who fear Him, On those who hope in His mercy, Psalm 33:18