You have made us for Yourself and our hearts are restless until they find their rest in Thee.
Do you want to increase your hunger for the Lord? Try weaning yourself from the world’s diet- be prepared for some withdrawal symptoms when you turn off the radio and the TV and eliminate unnecessary activities. Then begin feeding on the Word of God. At first, it may seem bland and boring; but in time, you will discover that it satisfies in a far deeper, richer way than those things you once thought were so filling.
Persons need not and ought not to set any bounds to their spiritual and gracious appetites, [instead they ought] to be endeavoring by all possible ways to inflame their desires and to obtain more spiritual pleasures… Our hungerings and thirstings after God and Jesus Christ and after holiness can’t be too great for the value of these things, for they are things of infinite value… [Therefore] endeavor to promote spiritual appetites by laying yourself in the way of allurement… There is no such thing as excess in our taking of this spiritual food. There is no such virtue as temperance in spiritual feasting.
It works like this: we hunger spiritually and are then filled and become supremely satisfied. The satisfaction then makes way for a deeper spiritual hunger, a further filling and blessed satisfaction. And so it goes on in sublime paradox: hunger – filling – satisfaction, hunger – filling – satisfaction. We become more and more full of Christ.
For my part, my soul is like a hungry and thirsty child; and I need His love and consolation for my refreshment. I am a wandering and lost sheep; and I need Him as a good and faithful shepherd. My soul is like a frightened dove pursued by the hawk; and I need His wounds for a refuge. I am a feeble vine; and I need His cross to lay hold of, and to wind myself about. I am a sinner, and I need His righteousness. I am naked and bare; and I need His holiness and innocence for a covering. I am ignorant, and I need His teaching; simple and foolish, and I need the guidance of His Holy Spirit. In no situation, and at no time, can I do without Him. Do I pray? He must prompt, and intercede for me. Am I arraigned by Satan at the divine tribunal. He must be my Advocate. Am I in affliction? He must be my Helper. Am I persecuted by the world? He must defend me. When I am forsaken, He must be my support; when I am dying, my life; when moldering in the grave, my Resurrection. Well, then, I will rather part with all the world, and all that it contains, than with Thee, my Savior.
The cost of food in the kingdom is hunger for the Bread of Life.
If you don’t feel strong desires for the manifestations of the glory of God. It is not because you have drunk deeply and are satisfied. It is because you have nibbled so long at the table of the world. Your soul is stuffed with small things and there’s no room for the great. God did not create you for this. There is an appetite for God. And it can be awakened.
People ought to come to corporate worship services to get. They ought to come starved for God. They ought to come saying, “As the deer pants for the water brooks, so my soul pants for You, O God” (Psalm 42:1). God is profoundly honored when people know that they will die of hunger and thirst unless they have God.
The key to Christian living is a thirst and hunger for God. And one of the main reasons people do not understand or experience the sovereignty of grace and the way it works through the awakening of sovereign joy is that their hunger and thirst for God is too small.
The greatest enemy of hunger for God is not poison but apple pie. It is not the banquet of the wicked that dulls our appetite for heaven, but endless nibbling at the table of the world. It is not the X-rated video, but the prime-time dribble of triviality we drink in every night… For when these replace an appetite for God Himself, the idolatry is scarcely recognizable, and almost incurable.
A man may study because his brain is hungry for knowledge, even Bible knowledge. But he prays because his soul is hungry for God.
God has created each of us with a thirst that only He can quench. French philosopher Pascal called it a God-shaped vacuum in our hearts that only He can fill. Or as Augustine put it, “Our souls are restless until they find their rest in Thee.” Man is perpetually seeking. To whatever degree we don’t know the unseen and eternal realm; we seek answers in the seen and temporal. We look for eternal answers among temporal things. But we discover that they cannot provide them.
When it comes to satisfying our spiritual appetites, there is no such thing as excess. There are no restraints placed on us by God. There are no rules of temperance or laws requiring moderation or boundaries beyond which we cannot go in seeking to enjoy Him. We need never pause to inquire whether we’ve crossed a line or become overindulgent. You need never fear feeling too good about God.
The thought hit me like a bell rung in the dark, silent hall. So far, none of the scary, negative arguments against lust had succeeded in keeping me from it. Fear and guilt simply did not give me resolve; they added self-hatred to my problems. But here was a description of what I was missing by continuing to harbor lust: I was limiting by own intimacy with God. The love He offers is so transcendent and possessing that it requires our faculties to be purified and cleansed before we can possibly contain it. Could He, in fact, substitute another thirst and another hunger for the one I had never filled? Would Living Water somehow quench lust? That was the gamble of faith.