When we get thirsty, we look for something to drink. It’s natural, we don’t have to remind ourselves consciously to seek water when we realize that we are thirsty, we don’t have to teach ourselves how to drink water, even new born babies know how to drink.
Jesus taught us a little bit about being thirsty and drinking. In fact, a lot of His lessons center around thirst and drink. His first miracle was turning water into wine. He told the woman at the well that He could give her living water and that she would thirst no more. He also told us that those who hunger and thirst after righteousness will be filled.
But many of us hear “righteousness” and we immediately think of hypocrites and “churchy” people who look down their noses at us because of where they believe they are compared to where they perceive us to be. But you see, we are all standing on fallen ground if we are examining and comparing our works against each other.
Only Christ’s work through us is worthy and righteous, and none of us should take credit for that to use it to boast or compare ourselves against others, because only He is worthy of praise and honor. It is His righteousness that we receive that redeems us, our own works cannot earn righteousness.
Righteousness is not a measuring stick for us to stand beside, measuring ourselves and comparing ourselves against others. It isn’t even a measuring stick for us to compare our today to yesterday and either be despondent or proud over our progress.
Righteousness is like a high bar set so that when we are extended fully on the tips of our toes, and reaching with every fiber of our being, and extending our fingertips, they can brush ever so slightly against it for a moment. It is meant to keep us ever reaching forward, not content that we have arrived or achieved our goal.
This is what it means to thirst after righteousness, to look beyond the evidence of our daily shortcomings, to remember that Christ is at work inside us, and to reach eagerly for the high bar daily, even moment to moment, decision to decision, with faith that our lives will be filled with the presence of that touch of the Lord’s hands on our lives when we reach forth towards the high bar.
Psalms 42:1-3 NLT
As the deer longs for streams of water, so I long for you, O God. I thirst for God, the living God. When can I go and stand before him? Day and night I have only tears for food, while my enemies continually taunt me, saying, “Where is this God of yours?”
If we believe that we have arrived, if we feel that we have grasped the bar firmly within our hands and that we are righteous, I fear that we may be walking blind in the darkness, unaware of our true situation.
If we once touched the bar, and that was enough active spiritual exercise to keep us satisfied with low impact religious practice but not reaching for the bar daily, I fear that we are settling for a false peace that provides little growth or fruit in our lives.
If we are measuring ourselves by the laws of men, if we are eagerly checking off the list of rules that we are not breaking, I fear that we are stumbling over the letter of the law that leads to death.
But if we are thirsty for righteousness, if we are reaching for the bar, if we are led by our goal of loving and honoring God with a life of loving and serving others – then even when we know that we aren’t grasping the bar firmly and that we aren’t touching that bar quite as often as we would like to – this is the humble, spiritual position of a child of God reaching out to his loving, heavenly Father.
It isn’t about where you are.
It is about where you are headed.
And we aren’t headed anywhere if we aren’t reaching out.
Our desires drive what we are reaching for, so what we are reaching for either testifies to our faith, or it betrays our unfaithfulness.
What am I reaching for today?
Is it something that will glorify and bring honor to the name of the Lord – or is it all about me?
Is it something that will serve others showing them forgiveness, kindness, gentleness, patience, peace, and mercy – or is it all about me?
Am I looking at where I am in my spiritual walk instead of keeping my eyes firmly focused on the goal ahead, the high bar of Christ’s example and teachings?
Am I thirsty?
Am I reaching?
Let’s stretch forth our hands towards the high bar today, friends.
Not so that we can be proud of any progress made, but so that we might remain humbled by our constant reaching,and that our fingertips brushing against the presence of the Holy Spirit will serve as a constant reminder of the price paid for His victory over our lives.