We were talking in general terms about spiritual things. The other person admitted to being deeply discontent with life, in spite of having what appeared to be an enviable lifestyle. Cars, vacations, a nice home … yet she was dissatisfied. I think I know why. By her own admission, she had no meaningful relationship with God. She told me “I believe in God and I trust Jesus as my Savior.” But daily prayer, regular worship, engagement in service – she admitted they were not part of the way she lived.
While we talked, my mind remembered the words of an ancient preacher. “Now this is what the LORD Almighty says: “Give careful thought to your ways. You have planted much, but have harvested little. You eat, but never have enough. You drink, but never have your fill. You put on clothes, but are not warm. You earn wages, only to put them in a purse with holes in it.” This is what the LORD Almighty says: “Give careful thought to your ways.” (Haggai 1:5-7, NIV)
Are you hungry? Perhaps you do not recognize it as hunger. For you it is that sense that there must be more to life or there is the feeling of emptiness. Most likely if you’re reading this, you are a Christian, having made a profession of faith. But, are you a disciple? Like my friend above do you just believe in Jesus or do you follow His ways, desiring to serve Him?
Some Christians spend day after day in endless diversion trying hard to fill up an empty soul. Their spiritual diet is one of pre-digested devotional material, 2 minute prayers, worship when convenient, and refusal to ‘get real’ with Christ is a sure way to slip into religion without relationship. They avoid the spiritual disciplines of contemplative prayer, silence, generosity (more than money, by the way), or fasting because they are hard or unfamiliar. They practice a form of Christianity that is more about ‘what I feel’ rather than daily discipleship. When life gets rough, instead of working through the situation with the help of the Spirit, patiently learning from it, they reach for a quick lift of inspiration.
And, their soul remains hungry for the Presence of the Living God.
Truth is that we are made to know God and to be filled with His Spirit. If we do not pursue Him, either because of rebellion or ignorance, we will look for something or someone to fill up our soul! Curiously, when we find ourselves stressed by temptation, pressed to our limits by life’s trials, we will feel the pull of ‘the flesh.’ Our soul hunger may get mixed up with sensual desires. All kinds of things we thought we would never even consider can become alluring when life is clouded with uncertainty.
The Lord asks us a question and follows with a promise: “Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labor on what does not satisfy? Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good, and your soul will delight in the richest of fare.” (Isaiah 55:2, NIV) Mature disciples know in Whom they find lasting satisfaction. With the Psalmist they say, “I will praise you as long as I live, lifting up my hands to you in prayer. You satisfy me more than the richest feast. I will praise you with songs of joy. I lie awake thinking of you, meditating on you through the night.” (Psalm 63:4-6, NLT)
The Scripture teaches us to seek Him and His ways. Will you prioritize your spiritual life, make seeking God more than something fit into a convenient spot in a busy life?
Put worship first. Find a place to help the needy where there is no reward or recognition. Pray to live for justice, to be full of forgiveness, to love Him and others intentionally, not occasionally.
The word from the Word is a promise. I pray you will live in this deep satisfaction with the things of the Lord. “The Lord will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail.” (Isaiah 58:11, NIV)
(Matt Redman builds our faith with this song of praise)
Bless the Lord O my soul
O my soul
Worship His holy name
Sing like never before
O my soul
I’ll worship Your holy name
The sun comes up it’s a new day dawning
It’s time to sing Your song again
Whatever may pass and whatever lies before me
Let me be singing when the evening comes
You’re rich in love and You’re slow to anger
Your name is great and Your heart is kind
For all Your goodness I will keep on singing
Ten thousand reasons for my heart to find
And on that day when my strength is failing
The end draws near and my time has come
Still my soul will sing Your praise unending
Ten thousand years and then forevermore
Worship Your holy name
Lord I’ll worship Your holy name
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