Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled (Matthew 5:6).
Some years ago the Lord spoke to my spirit and said, You are filled with what you are hungry for. Our hunger draws us. Hunger is a tremendous motivator. Susan and I were walking in downtown Raleigh a few months ago, and I watched in shock as a man reached into a trash can on the street and retrieved some partially eaten food for himself.
You may have read accounts of single mothers who become prostitutes so they can earn money for their hungry children. Hunger motivates. I confess that there have been times that I’ve gotten so hungry (was just too busy to stop to eat) that my health conscious brain was tempting me to eat some McDonald’s fast food! For me that’s pretty radical. Hunger is a powerful force.
The word hunger here in Matthew 5:6 is in the present durative tense in the Greek. That means that the action continues on and on without ceasing. The hunger continues even after you’ve been fed. The longing is not satisfied.
In so many ways in life our appetite drives us. How we spend our time, what we value, what we spend our money on, what kind of occupation we are involved in all have to do with our appetite on various levels.
Since our spiritual life is really the hub of our existence and determines our life values, it would benefit us to remain spiritually hungry! The word here in Matthew 5:6 could be translated starving. Starving people are desperate people. To be starving spiritually would alter daily life! A starving person would do anything to eat. Are you starving spiritually? Are you desperate for God? If not, work on increasing your spiritual appetite.
Three things that hinder spiritual appetite are excessive entertainment, excessive activity, and anger and disappointment.
Globally people spend 1.8 trillion dollars annually on entertainment! Here in the US it has been estimated that we will spend 67 billion dollars a year on entertainment by 2010. So do you wonder why so many lack spiritual zeal? The many entertainment distractions inhibit hunger. Movies, video and computer games, all sorts of technology can just eat up your time. Don’t let it happen!
Excessive activity can also crowd out time for God. Recreation is important for high stress lifestyles. But too much can damage your spiritual life. Put recreation in its place. Going to the beach or to the lake, or involvement in a sports activity or working out has great benefit. A hobby is a great diversion from normal routine. But make sure these things don’t crowd out attending your local church or spending time in the word and in prayer each day. For me, I take care of my spiritual life first, and then I involve myself in some form of recreation to relax. Seek first the kingdom of God!
Anger and disappointment at God or yourself when life doesn’t go the way you thought it should or would go can quench spiritual hunger. An I don’t care attitude can do some real damage to you spiritually. I’ve been at the place where I was so disillusioned that my natural person just wanted to throw in the towel. That’s a dangerous place to be. And the enemy of your soul will take advantage of this kind of demeanor. It can totally quench your hunger for God.
Tomorrow I will talk about how to develop your God hunger if you’ve lost it. Don’t let the candy of the word quench your hunger for Jesus. You become what you’re hungry for.