Are you really hungry?

I went to dinner last night and was served a good plate of nourishing food. When it was set in front of me, inwardly I critiqued the way it was prepared – ‘the meat is overcooked.’  In that moment, a thought came to me.  “Jerry, you are not really hungry. If you were, you would eat this good food with thanksgiving.”  When a busy day has kept me from food and I am served a simple bowl of soup and a slice of bread, it seems a feast.  

Are you spiritually hungry? 
Or, has your appetite for the food of the Spirit been lost or temporarily satisfied by lesser things?

Matthew 4 tells us about the temptation of Jesus. He prepared for the Test by fasting forty days and forty nights.  Naturally, he was extremely hungry. Who showed up next? Satan, with his various offers. It was Jesus’ hunger that the devil exploited. In the middle of the battle for his soul, Jesus wanted food, comfort, and meaning. “Then the Devil came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, change these stones into loaves of bread.” But Jesus told him, “No! The Scriptures say, ‘People need more than bread for their life; they must feed on every word of God.’ ” (Matthew 4:3-4, NLT) There is truth packed into that short passage for us.

We live in a ‘wilderness’ where we too will meet temptation – spiritual and physical – that depletes our reserves and leaves us hungry, not just physically, but starved for love, for meaning, for hope, for peace and soul rest.  As he did with Jesus, the Enemy of our soul will exploit that hunger. When Jesus was near exhausted, depleted, and vulnerable, the devil lied – offering temporary satisfaction for the hunger that Jesus experienced. He attempted to lead Jesus to abuse God’s power and gifts in several ways.

“Make a stone into bread!”
“Throw yourself down and make God, your Father, show up to rescue you.”
“Worship me, just for a moment, and I’ll give you recognition among men!”

Similarly, when we are spiritually hungry, or depleted by life, or in a time of challenges – temptation will find us.

Feeling emotionally empty?
Throw an abusive tantrum and get some attention.

Need to be comforted
Overeat. Buy a new toy.

Want meaning?
Pour yourself into getting power or gaining awards for your ‘selfless’ service.

Manipulate religion to make it serve your needs and desires.

Behind all of those temptations is the great lie: “God doesn’t care about you. If He did, He wouldn’t allow you to be hungry! SO, it’s time to take care of yourself.”

Here’s the faith challenge in such moments. It is the very love of God that allows us to feel hunger. He gave us an appetite so that we would hunger for Him, causing us to seek for Him!

That is why Jesus replied to the devil with the Word Truth again and again. Jesus insists – “My need will be met by my Father.” And so should we!

That does not mean that God will take away our hunger or fill us up in the way we always want Him to. If He did, we would not worship Him. Fatness, not leanness, is the greater test of the soul. And, we must never forget in it all – God is still Present!

Jesus was in the wilderness by the will of His Father. God, our Father, calls us to contentment in Him, trusting in His promise even when our hunger diminishes our ability to sense Him there.  Contentment is something entirely different than being satisfied.

John Eldredge writes, “Contentment is not freedom from desire (hunger), but freedom of desire. Being content is not pretending that everything is way we wish it to be; it is not acting as though we have no wishes. Rather, contentment is no longer being ruled by our desires.”

Are you feeling an ache of spiritual hunger today? Has a trip through a wilderness left you worn out, wondering where God is, why He letting it happen? I ache with you. But, don’t let your human emotions or the Deceiver turn that hunger into an occasion for sin- either by trying to satisfy it with temporal things or by accusing your Father of leaving you orphaned. Pray to be faithful, to find satisfaction in Him.

The word from the Word is TRUE, worthy of our meditation.  Take these words with you today and let them feed your soul. “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.” (Matthew 5:6, NIV)


As It Is In Heaven

Our Father Who art in Heaven
Hallowed be Thy name
Come and let Your glory come
And let Your glory fall
Our Father Who art in Heaven
The rocks cry out Your fame
Come and let Your glory come
And let Your glory fall

I will sing sing a new song
I will sing sing a new song
I will sing sing a new song
To the Lord
Let Your Kingdom come
Let Your will be done
On earth as it is in Heaven

Ev’ry heart proclaim
The mercy of Your name
On earth as it is in Heaven
God give us new ev’ry morning
Mercy as daily bread
In the name of Jesus
In the name of Jesus we pray

And lead us not to temptation
But deliver us with Your hand
In the name of Jesus
In the name of Jesus we pray
Father we pray

For the Kingdom is Yours
And the power is Yours
And the glory forever amen
And the Kingdom is Yours
And the power is Yours
And the glory forever amen

Ed Cash | Matt Maher

© 2005 (Admin. by Capitol CMG Publishing)

Thankyou Music (Admin. by Capitol CMG Publishing)

Wondrously Made Songs (Admin. by Music Services, Inc.)

CCLI License # 810055

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