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Some people can skip a meal and barely notice. I am not some people. Like for example, it's been four or five hours since breakfast, my body very convincingly says to me, "Feed me now!" When I don't eat regularly, I feel it and I take action. The doctor says there's nothing wrong with me, but my metabolism just seems to demand some regular maintenance. It's not like I'm alone in this. Most of us know when it's time to eat again, right? And we usually stop what we're involved in to do something about it. Hunger isn't exactly passive, you know. It goes after something to satisfy it!
Physical hunger tells you that your body needs more fuel. Spiritual hunger tells you your soul needs more. Jesus talked about this vital sign of spiritual health in His Sermon on the Mount. That's where we find our word for today from the Word of God in Matthew 5:6. "Blessed are those who hunger and thirst after righteousness for they will be filled."
Jesus is encouraging a holy hunger for a life that is more and more sin-free, more and more doing things God's way. There tends to be a problem with that kind of appetite for people who are already more righteous than a lot of people around them. You tend to become content where you are if you're nicer than most folks, if you're not guilty of the many overt sins that are usually considered the real dirty ones, and especially if you spend much of your time doing work for God. It's all too easy for nice folks, like you and me, right, to lose the driving passion to become more holy. And that is a spiritual appetite disorder.
If you've become relatively passive about your pursuit of a higher level of personal holiness, then you're not one of those Jesus described as "hungering and thirsting after righteousness," because hunger makes you stop what you're doing and go after something that will satisfy your appetite. Hunger is active, not passive. When we're hungry, we find something to eat. When you're hungry for righteousness, you pursue God to give you more.
It starts with a consistent prayer. "Lord, give me a passion for greater holiness. I need to be hungry for the next level of being all You want me to be." That means asking God to show you the sins that may be hiding inside your very decent exterior - the self-serving motives, the impatience, the critical spirit, the jealous spirit, the prejudice, the pride, the stubbornness, that insistence on having your own way, the ways you manipulate people, the bitterness, the anger, the lustful thoughts.
God may have taken out the obvious bags of stinking garbage in your life. But now He wants to start to renew the decay in the structure of your heart-house - the more subtle sins that others may not be able to see, but that keep you from experiencing the fullness of God's blessing and joy and peace. In other words, you are nowhere near "full" yet. You have to hunger and thirst to be more sin-free, more like Jesus in order to be what Jesus called "filled."
Maybe you've stopped with the appetizers or just a few offerings on God's righteousness buffet. And since you're farther along the line than most of the people with you, you've stopped where you are. But there is so much more God wants to serve you than you have ever sampled before. Don't be satisfied with where you are now. You go after food when you're physically hungry. Ask God to stir up that holy hunger in your soul that goes after the rest of His righteousness.