Thirsty people don’t need much motivation to get them to seek after water. And souls who are thirsty for God shouldn’t need to be motivated by mere duty to seek after God. If they’re thirsty for God, they’ll go seeking for Him until they find Him.
I recognize this. I recognize that there are people who “do” Christianity. It’s willpower religion: I’m going to become a Christian. I’m going to attend church. I’m going to own a Bible. I’m going to force myself to read it.
Thirsty Christians put an end to all that. Thirsty people are different than just willpower kind of Christians that they see Christianity as kind of a duty. You know, we’ve got to do this thing. Why? Because I’m going to lose my soul in the end, so I’ve got to make sure that I go through the motions. But this is entirely different. And this kind of thirst, it drives us. You see, the duty-minded “religionist,” he hears “draw near to God.” And so, it becomes more of a duty. It becomes more of a: give me the list. How do I do this?
But you know, when you’ve got a thirsty person, you don’t have to give a thirsty person a list of steps on how to find water. They’re looking for it. You know what? Thirsty people, they come into the meeting and they want to hear from God. God, come. I need You! I need help! I need You to draw close. You come into the prayer meeting. We need to be heard. We need to get through. We need to have some kind of ability, an unction with God. That’s what happens. Lord, I’m going to fast, not like the hypocrite, not just to put the notch on my belt that I fast twice in a week. Lord, I need You! There’s some longing in my heart. You see, this is the psalmist. I thirst. I feel it. I’m in a parched place. I’m in this dry place. Lord, there’s a panting in my soul. I’m not satisfied.
Oh brethren, you have a church full of people like that, that’ll turn the world upside down. That’s the difference. Because what happens? You know what happens? What happens? You’ve got this. “Draw near to Me and I will draw near to you.” Oh, you know what happens? When you’ve got thirsty people, how do you have to convince a thirsty person to draw near to the water? You’ve got a thirsty person over here. You just set it there. It’s not like I even have to say: Now this is water. And you should walk that straight line. Put one foot in front of the other. He doesn’t need that. He sees what he’s longing for and he’s going to come to it.
And I recognize this, the promise of James 4 is going to come to life when you have a thirsty people. Why? Because they’re looking for God. They’re looking to draw near to God. They’re looking to find God. And you know what happens? They’re looking. They’re looking for Him. They’re trying to draw near. They’re trying to press in. They’re thirsty people. They’re looking for the water. And God’s promise then comes into play. Oh, you thirst for Me and you come seeking My face? You’ll find Me. And I’ll give Myself to you.
And what happens then? Then we’re full of glory. Then we’re full of joy. And you remember how it’s said. “The joy of the Lord is your strength.” That’s the reality. When we find God, you know what happens? It infuses us with a mighty unction to sacrifice and to run. We heard those two letters: G O. Brethren, when you’ve got a people that are thirsty for God and they find God, you come across such glory it’s like I want to tell people! They’re standing before the Sanhedrin. They’re getting beat for it. They’re getting imprisoned for it. And they’re rejoicing. That’s what people do when they’re hungry for God and they found God and it’s glorious to them. And suddenly, all you have to do is open the door. And you can let a person like that out into the world and watch what they do. Those are the kind of people that turn the world upside down. Not the duty religionists. Not the willpower religionists where it’s just all I’ve got to go through the motions.
And listen, if you can’t tell the difference between what I’m talking about right now, then you’re not in a good place. Because this is what true Christianity is all about. Don’t we look at Christianity, conversion as this exchange of desires? Our desires become altogether new. Isn’t that what happens? Brethren, when we find God it infuses us with a joy unspeakable and full of glory. And you fill a people full of joy and the joy of the Lord is our strength, and suddenly we’re strengthened to do all sorts of things in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. Do you know how it was said of the Lord Himself? “Because of the joy that was set before Him” what happened? He endured the cross. What does it take for a people to endure suffering and endure sacrifice and cross-carrying and dying daily? Just infuse them full of a glory of the joy of finding God. Come out of the holy place having this glory manifest to them. And you know what? Unleash a people like that. This isn’t mechanical and cold and stale. People like that don’t sit around all content, just be happy, and stare at each other. No way.
This excerpt was taken from the full sermon, “Draw Near to God: Soul Thirst“.