Blessed (Part 4)
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they will be filled. — Matthew 5:6
So far, a person has realized they are poor in spirit and have accessed the kingdom of heaven. They have mourned their old lifestyle and have been comforted. They have even begun to demonstrate self-control through this process of becoming meek. Now comes what I feel is the best part that I have experienced so far in my Christian experience…you go from HAVING to do the right thing, to WANTING to do the right thing. You actually begin to hunger and thirst after righteousness. When you do this, God fills you. You begin to feel His awesome presence. I can’t tell you how this worked or will work for you, but I can tell you how it worked (and still works) for me.
Today, I can’t believe I used to crave the stuff I used to crave. I used to crave the next rock concert that came to town. I used to live for those moments driving down the road blasting the latest (or the oldest) AC/DC CD (or was it cassette tape?) I thought I was the MAN! I used to crave going home, cranking up my Marshall stack, tuning my Les Paul and pretending I was Ace Frehley in front of thousands. Every once in a while, I would crave the next time I got to play guitar in front of 10 people at a party our band threw ourselves. I read my guitar magazines cover to cover as soon as they came in the mail. I hungered and thirsted for anything and everything to do with music and the lifestyle, especially the girls that came along with it. I drank, I cussed, and I did whatever I could to fit in with the wrong people. That was the road that I was on…my “Highway to Hell.”
Fortunately, for me, I asked Christ in my life when I was 16. I gained access to the Kingdom of Heaven. Unfortunately, I would do this awful “one foot in the world, one foot in the church” thing for the next several years. I had a nagging “this is wrong” feeling that would just never EVER go away! Until…one day it did. It worried me. I was scared. I thought about how Sampson lived his own way instead of God’s way. Then, there was that moment that Sampson “did not know that the Lord had left him.” (Judges 16:20) The only difference between me and Sampson was the fact that I was very aware.
There would be three major moments for me after that. The first was a kneel down beside my bed where I told God I was sorry for ignoring Him for the past several years. God was very clear: “Either live for me…or live for the world. Choose one…forsake the other.” I told Him “I choose YOU!” But, I didn’t really know where to start. That was moment one.
Moment two came that same week when I got an invitation in the mail to go to a revival. It was one of those really hard core Church of God meetings. I felt so far away from God and was still wondering if He was “done” with me. Then, the choir sang this chorus about a little lost lamb: “There were ninety and nine…but He left the fold to find…one little lost lamb and here I am.” Even typing this right now…I feel Him now like I felt Him then. He hadn’t left me. That was moment two.
Moment three would come several years later. Even though I had more of God in my life, I was still really selfish. Madonna and I were both living in a material world…and I was a material girl (well…dude anyway) I still had my old music collection, but sprinkled in some Christian music on top of it. I was trying to add Christ to my life instead of making Christ the center of my life. I was seriously beginning to wonder if I had made the right choice by choosing God (Is the devil good at what he does or what?) My old band was starting to get some pretty serious success and there was a part of me that wanted to be a part of that. I know my wife was worried. It couldn’t have been a good feeling watching your husband look back on a burning Sodom. Then…the moment of moments. We visited a mega-church in Georgia. One of the worship leaders sang “Hallelujah, thank you Jesus! Lord you’re worthy…of all the glory…all the honor…and all the praise!” God must have opened a little bit of Heaven because it was majestic! For a moment, I saw Him with my spiritual eyes! He filled me up. I heard him plainly “Adam, you chose me! Do you think I will rip you off?” I had tears rolling down my cheeks. It was just the sweetest presence of the Holy Spirit. No longer did I have to TRY to live right…I WANTED to! Yes, there were still plenty of weeds in me that needed pulling…but, at that moment, I began to hunger and thirst after righteousness.
Today, I don’t have to read my Bible…I crave it. Today, I don’t have to listen to music that honors the Lord…I crave it. I used to could go weeks or even months without talking to my Heavenly Father…not any more. If I go more than a few days and haven’t connected with Him…I’m going for a drive, for a walk, or to a prayer closet. I just miss Him so much.
How long has it been since you have felt that thick, sweet presence of the Holy Spirit? Do you miss Him? Do you hunger and thirst to do the things that bring His presence?
Who do you think is waiting on who?
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be filled.”