Do you find you are joyless or have a gnawing dissatisfaction as a Christian? Do you yearn for something but can’t quite put your finger on what it is you want? Do spiritual experiences and observances fail to satisfy your hunger and slate your thirst? Have favourite songs and hymns lost their wonder, bible passages their cutting and comforting edges? Perhaps you are hungering and thirsting after righteousness.
Thanks again to Thomas Watson who provides five marks of well fed and satisfied sinners. All five marks point to the source of all true righteousness, who is Christ crucified for sin.
Let us put ourselves upon a trial whether we hunger and thirst after righteousness. I shall give you five signs by which you may judge of this hunger.
1 Hunger is a painful thing. …a man that hungers after righteousness is in anguish of soul and ready to faint away for it. He finds a want of Christ and grace. He is distressed and in pain till he has his spiritual hunger stilled and allayed.
2 Hunger is satisfied with nothing but food. Bring an hungry man flowers, music; tell him pleasant stories; nothing will content him but food. ‘Shall I die for thirst?’ says Samson (Judges 15: 18). So a man that hungers and thirsts after righteousness says, Give me Christ or I die. Lord, what wilt thou give me seeing I go Christless? …While the soul is Christless, it is restless. Nothing but the water-springs of Christ’s blood can quench its thirst.
3 Hunger wrestles with difficulties and makes an adventure for food. We say hunger breaks through stone walls (cf. Genesis 42: 1, 2). The soul that spiritually hungers is resolved; Christ it must have; grace it must have.
4 An hungry man falls to his meat with an appetite. You need not make an oration to an hungry man and persuade him to eat. So he who hungers after righteousness feeds eagerly on an ordinance. ‘Thy words were found, and I did eat them’ (Jeremiah 15: 16). In the sacrament he feeds with appetite upon the body and blood of the Lord. God loves to see us feed hungrily on the bread of life.
5 An hungry man tastes sweetness in his meat. So he that hungers after righteousness relishes a sweetness in heavenly things. Christ is to him all marrow, yea the quintessence of delights.
By these notes of trial we may judge of ourselves whether we hunger and thirst after righteousness.
‘Blessed are they that hunger’. Though you do not have so much righteousness as you would, yet you are blessed because you hunger after it.
If you’ve read this and want guidance on slating your thirst, do take some time to read through some of the posts in my category “means of grace”.