We All Thirst

Isaiah 55:1-3a ESV

“Come, everyone who thirsts,
come to the waters;
and he who has no money,
come, buy and eat!
Come, buy wine and milk
without money and without price.
Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread,
and your labor for that which does not satisfy?
Listen diligently to me, and eat what is good,
and delight yourselves in rich food.
Incline your ear, and come to me;
hear, that your soul may live.”

We all thirst for something. We might long to be loved, to be accepted, to be valued, and to be treated with respect. We might crave riches, possessions, prestige, and/or positions of power and influence. And/or, we might thirst after knowledge, talent, charisma, and/or outward beauty, etc.

Or, we might ache to see our loved ones free from their slavery to sin, saved by God’s grace, and to be able to live for God and for his will and purposes. And, we might hunger and thirst for righteousness.

The counsel here, though, is to not go after (hunger and thirst after) what is of this world, what is temporal, and what will never satisfy the deep longings of our souls. We are not to seek after pride, prejudice, immorality, impurity, wickedness, lies and idolatry, and the like. And, we are not to desire the superficial, the phony, pretense, and deception. And, such as these are not where our money, time, or talents should be spent.

Instead, we are to hunger and thirst after what money can’t buy, but not just anything. We are to desire God with all our hearts, minds and bodies. And, we are to long for his righteousness, holiness and purity.

We are to want his salvation from our sinful addictions, to be free from our slavery to sin, by God’s grace, and to be free to walk in obedience to Christ’s commands, and to have eternal life with God. We are to yearn for all that is good, pure, honest, holy and righteous. And, the way we “buy” this is through believing in Jesus Christ to be Lord and Savior of our lives, via death to sin and living to righteousness, empowered by the Spirit of God.

Isaiah 55:6-7 ESV

“Seek the Lord while he may be found;
call upon him while he is near;
let the wicked forsake his way,
and the unrighteous man his thoughts;
let him return to the Lord, that he may have compassion on him,
and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.”

We can’t truly “believe” in Jesus Christ, though, unless we forsake our wicked ways. We have to turn away from our sinful lifestyles, by God’s grace, and we have to turn to God to follow Jesus Christ in his ways, and in his truth and righteousness (Rom. 6:1-23; Eph. 4:17-24; 1 Jn. 1:5-9).

For, there are many who claim faith in Jesus Christ, and who feel they are guaranteed heaven when they die, and yet they are still choosing to walk in sin, and to not leave their sinful practices behind them. And, many of them feel they don’t have to, that it is not required of them at all.

Thus, they don’t make wise choices in this regard. Their minds are still set on the flesh and on evil. They may give the appearance of righteousness, and they may perform well for an audience, but in secret, when no one else is looking but God, they engage in all sorts of evil. Even though they know the good they ought to do, they continue to choose to do what is wicked.

So, God’s counsel to them is that they must forsake their wicked ways, and their unrighteous thoughts. They must seek the Lord, and return (or turn) to him. They must submit to his Lordship over their lives, and surrender their wills to his will for their lives, in truth.

Then, the Lord will have compassion on them, and he will abundantly pardon their iniquities. And, he will restore them to himself. And, he will guide them in the way of righteousness and holiness.

But, their repentance must produce genuine change in character and in behavior, or else it is false. For, this is not merely about feeling bad about one’s sins. And, this is not just about confessing one’s sins, either. This is about doing a 180. You were going left, and now you turn, and you go right, in the opposite direction, all in the power of God.

But, God’s pardon of our sins does not give us carte blanche then to keep on sinning in practice. God’s grace, instead, instructs us to say “NO!” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives while we wait for Christ’s return (Tit. 2:11-14).

Isaiah 55:8-9 ESV

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord.
For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.”

Our human way of thinking and reasoning is not like God’s. Yet, too many people who call themselves followers of Christ are basing their faith off of human thinking and reasoning. They may think that they are following the truth, though, but it may be a diluted truth, mixed in with lies. Or, it may be truth taken out of context and thus twisted to say what it does not say.

“Faith” itself may be reduced to a mere acknowledgment of who Jesus is and of what he did in dying on a cross for our sins. Or, it may be just some words repeated after someone else after which one is congratulated that he or she is now part of the family of God. But, that is not how the Word of God describes faith.

Paul made it clear that true faith in Jesus Christ means we die with Christ to sin that we might live with Christ for eternity and for his righteousness. The scriptures teach this over and over again, in the New Testament. And, yet so many people ignore these teachings in scripture in order to create their own God, their own Jesus, and their own salvation from sin absent of submission, obedience and repentance.

We have to know here that God’s Word is true, and that what he says he will do, he will do. That can be both a threat and/or a promise. For, if we turn from our wickedness, and we turn to follow our Lord in obedience, then he will pardon our sins, and we can then look forward to the hope of eternal life with God, provided that we continue in that faith until the very end.

But, if we don’t turn away from our sins, and we choose to stay on a sinful course, doing what our flesh desires, scripture is real clear that we don’t have salvation from sin, we don’t know God, he doesn’t know us, and we don’t have eternal life with God and the hope of heaven when we die. But, we have a fearful expectation of the raging fires of hell and of eternal torment and punishment because we refused to believe, and so be saved.

[Lu. 9:23-25; Rom. 6:1-23; Rom. 8:1-17; Gal. 5:19-24; Gal. 6:7-8; 1 Jn. 1:5-9; Eph. 4:17-24]

Have Thine Own Way, Lord

Words by Adelaide A. Pollard, 1907
Music by George C. Stebbins, 1907

Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!
Thou art the potter, I am the clay.
Mold me and make me after Thy will,
While I am waiting, yielded and still.

Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!
Search me and try me, Master, today!
Whiter than snow, Lord, wash me just now,
As in Thy presence humbly I bow.

Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!
Wounded and weary, help me I pray!
Power, all power, surely is Thine!
Touch me and heal me, Savior divine!

Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!
Hold o’er my being absolute sway.
Fill with Thy Spirit till all shall see
Christ only, always, living in me!

*copyright status is public domain

Saturday, October 5, 2019

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