Hunger for God

House of Prayer
May 22 · 9 minutes read

You, God, are my God, earnestly I seek you; I thirst for you, my whole being longs for you, in a dry and parched land where there is no water.” Psalm 63:1

As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, my God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God?” Psalm 42:1-2

Let us consider our salvation experience for a moment. How hungry and thirsty we were for Jesus, tasting and seeing how good God is. But are we still hungry for God after all these years?

“You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink,” the adage goes. If a horse isn’t thirsty, it won’t drink even if you put some water in front of it. The same is true of our relationship with God. We can be led to God, but we will have no interest unless we desire Him.

David Jeremiah distinguished between physical hunger and spiritual hunger.

Physical hunger– the more you eat, the less hungry you become until you are full.

But with spiritual hunger the opposite is true. The more you eat the hungrier you get. You can never have enough.

How can I tell if I’m hungry for God?

  1. I enjoy worshipping God.
  2. I want to know and understand God’s Word, as well as pursue His will for my life.
  3. I want to fill the void in my life by having a relationship with Jesus.
  4. I am ready to submit to God. I want to do His will, obey His commands, and follow Him.
  5. I want to love and serve others as Christ has loved me.
  6. I have a strong desire to spread the Good News to others.

God designed the human body with a built-in hunger mechanism to ensure that we feed our bodies regularly. If a person does not have an appetite, he or she will not be able to obtain the basic nutrition required to sustain life.

C. S. Lewis tells the story of a boy who is so preoccupied with making mud pies in the back alleyway that he does not want to go on a beach vacation. We are too easily satisfied with mud pies, when we should be looking for, longing for, and hungering for something much more. What kinds of mud pies are we making? A good job, a nice house, a healthy bank balance, family, and friends? There’s nothing wrong with any of these. But there is much more to life than these. And there is something wrong if we are content with a life that is limited to this. There’s nothing wrong with the boy who enjoys making mud pies in the back alleyway, but there’s something seriously wrong if he keeps doing it for the rest of his life.

“But I’m happy with what I have,” the boy says. “Isn’t it enough that I’m happy? Why should I have to take a bath and leave the mud behind for a long car ride to the beach when I’m already happy where I am?” “It is because we are convinced that this period of temporarily going without is only a minor inconvenience compared to the mountain of happiness you will have on the beach,” the parents may respond. “If you really want to, you can bring one of your mud pies with you, but once you get to the beach, you’ll see something so spectacular that you’ll forget about your mud pie.”

Christ offers us much more than mud or the mundane pleasures of a good job, a nice house, and a small circle of friends. Those things are not inherently wrong, but they are merely harbingers of a far greater reality that God is presenting to us. The good things in life are for us to enjoy, but God does not want us to believe that this is all He has to offer. It’s just a foretaste of better things to come. He wants us to yearn for better things while also being grateful for what we have now.

Colossians 3:1-2 Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.”

Our goals, hopes, dreams, and desires are to be in heaven. We have the option of desiring God’s things rather than the things of this world. However, there is a risk here. If we only seek God’s things, we have begun to idolize the things. We seek God only as a means to obtain the good things He provides us, whether they are earthly or heavenly. If our attitude is only about what we can get, if it is primarily about ourselves, and we will never have enough. Our desire can only be fully satisfied if our goal is God Himself. We must hunger for God, not just for things of God. We must seek the source, not just the byproducts—not just earthly byproducts, but also spiritual byproducts such as love, hope, and faith. We must look to Jesus, in whom dwells all the fullness of the Godhead. If you want the fruit of the Spirit, you need to hunger for God. If you want the gifts of the Holy Spirit, you should hunger for God. If you hunger for love and patience, hunger for God. If you desire the gift of healing or prophecy, then hunger for God.

Do we have a hunger for God? If not, is it possible to develop a hunger for God?

There are various ways to remain hungry for God.

  1. Accept hunger as a gift. It is a gift that only God can give us. Jesus gives us the ability to live the Christian life because He lives in us.
  1. Recognize your dependence on God. We are sometimes so busy that we forget to eat. We are so focused on a task that we forget about the basic necessity of food for survival. That is something we do from time to time in our spiritual lives as well. We become so preoccupied with life that we lose sight of the fact that what we truly require is communion with our Heavenly Father.
  1. Establish yourself in the fear of the Lord. You want God to be glorified in your life when you are grounded in the fear of the Lord. Your sole motivation in life is to please Him. A deep hunger for God overtakes you as you live a life worthy of Jesus Christ.
  1. Read God’s word to cultivate a lasting hunger. We learn about God’s ways and His character by reading and studying his Word. We develop a lasting hunger for God by reading the Bible every day and immersing ourselves in His presence.
  1. Use prayer to express your devotion. As you read the Bible, your devotion to God grows, and prayer becomes the vehicle through which you express that devotion. Prayer is a spiritual discipline. It doesn’t feel like a chore when our hearts are devoted to Jesus. It gives us great pleasure.
  1. Avoid fillers that suppress hunger or avoid spiritual junk food. When a child reaches for a snack just before dinner, a parent will say, “Stop! You’re going to ruin your appetite.” Parents want their children to arrive at the dinner table hungry. As a result, they will eat nutritious, homemade food. Make sure that we are not consuming spiritual junk food or anything that will distract or hinder us from desiring the good food that God has provided for us. Even non-sinful objects and activities can be spiritual junk food. Anything that prevents us from realizing how desperately we need God falls into this category. Our entertainment, money, security, and jobs are not bad. But we must not allow them to suppress our spiritual hunger and desire for God. Starve competing appetites like excessive amounts of time on visual media, social media, online games, web series, and sitcoms that rob us of our spiritual hunger.
  1. Get more exercise. A hard day’s work or a period of vigorous exercise increases our appetite and enhances our ability to savor food. Are we getting enough spiritual exercise to increase our appetite? If we don’t have a spiritual hunger, maybe we’re not expending enough spiritual energy.

Spiritual energy can be expended in a variety of ways.

  • You can tell others about Christ’s love and what He has done for you. It’s a spiritual exercise.
  • Demonstrate God’s love by assisting others with their physical and emotional needs.
  • Volunteer your time and talents to the work of the Church
  • Intercede for others.
  1. Inspect your heart. Something is seriously wrong if you don’t feel any hunger at all for God. Some people lose their appetites because they are spiritually ill. There must be some unconfessed sin. Perhaps they’ve let malice, hypocrisy, or envy into their hearts. Perhaps they have silenced the voice of the Holy Spirit in another area.

Dear brethren, God is on the lookout for growling spiritual stomachs. He’s on the lookout for people who are hungry for Him. God desires that we dine at His table. If we were truly hungry, we would be pleading with God for His power, presence, and supernatural intervention in our lives. And if we don’t cry out to God for His power and presence, we will be satisfied with pacifiers. You’ll be sucking on a pacifier while starving to death and not even realize it. So don’t rest until you have a hold of God. You need God, not a pacifier. Let us long and hunger for God.

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House of Prayer, Trivandrum
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