“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled” (Matthew 5:6).

ALTHOUGH IT IS GOD’S PURPOSE TO SHOW FORTH HIS GOODNESS THROUGH US, WE MUST MAKE THE CHOICE TO YIELD TO HIS PURPOSE. Having been given a free will, we have a decision to make as to whether we’ll accept what a human being was meant to be. We’ve been created to receive God’s goodness, but that won’t happen unless we choose to let it happen. God will not force us against our will to be filled up and satisfied with Him.

There is a sense, of course, in which God will ultimately accomplish His intentions whether we accept those intentions or not. If we say yes to God and allow ourselves to be made vessels for His honor, God’s glory will be demonstrated by showing forth His goodness through us. If we say no, however, He will demonstrate His glory by punishing our rebellion. Either way, God will maintain the majesty of His own glory, but it is obviously in our interest to accept God’s original purpose rather than reject it. If we’re thinking rightly, we’ll want to avoid the fate of ancient Pharaoh, in whose case God had to gain His glory by the punishment of a hardened heart. Pharaoh’s defiance sealed his own personal doom, but it fell far short of thwarting God’s purpose. “Indeed for this purpose I have raised you up,” God said, “that I may show My power in you, and that My name may be declared in all the earth” (Exodus 9:16). Anyone who disregards God as Pharaoh did unleashes a tragic train of consequences.

Godly character comes down to doing the very thing Pharaoh was unwilling to do: opening ourselves up to God and His will. The posture of reverence is the posture of voluntary receptivity, an eagerness for everything about God. By virtue of our creation, all of us have a built-in hunger for God; humility and gratitude mean acknowledging that hunger and doing what is right about it. “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,” Jesus said, “for they shall be filled.” And shouldn’t this always be the spirit in which we pray? “Prayer is essentially man standing before his God in wonder, awe, and humility; man, made in the image of God, responding to his maker” (George Appleton).

“Behold, Lord, an empty vessel that needs to be filled. My Lord, fill it” (Martin Luther).

Gary Henry — WordPoints.com + AreYouaChristian.com

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