Fresh snap beans from our garden simmered in garlic, piping hot mashed potatoes, and homemade gravy warmed on the stove next to the meatloaf. A heavenly smell drifted through the house. The perfect meal was ready for the ones I loved. My children and grandchildren were visiting, so I was glowing and in my element with my family around my dinner table.
Our oldest grandson is the athletic type, and not much can stymie his appetite. The expression “hollow leg” definitely applies to this child, so I made double batches of everything. When the food passed to him, I was surprised to hear him say he wasn’t hungry. That comment, from this robust and energetic child, made us wonder if he was sick.
Then I noticed his younger brother got “that look” in his eyes. We soon learned the secret that caused this lack of appetite. He had no hunger because he and his brother had stuffed themselves on several bags of potato chips before dinner. He was so full of junk he had no room for my lovingly prepared meal.
Many of us are like my grandson in our spiritual walk. Just as there is physical hunger, there is spiritual hunger too. Most of us could admit to having sluggish appetites spiritually speaking. Our days are filled with many things which clamor for our time and attention. Our mind and emotions become so occupied; we often discover we aren’t hungry for the things God has lovingly prepared for us in His Word.
Lack of spiritual appetite isn’t new to humanity. Even the Israelites, who saw God manifest Himself in miraculous ways, fell prey to this lack of spiritual hunger. They stuffed themselves with things of their choosing rather than hungering for God’s word. Deuteronomy tells us God humbled them with hardships to bring them back to a place where they hungered for Him again.
He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your ancestors had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord. (Deuteronomy 8:3 NIV)
When I thought about my grandson, I repented of stuffing my life full of activities that kept me stressed and lacking any real hunger for God. Some were ministry activities, but I allowed too many of them without asking God which ones He wanted me involved in. I was overstuffed and not able to thoroughly enjoy what God had prepared for me. I knew I needed to hunger for Him again. I didn’t want God to have to humble me as He had the Israelites, so it was time for repentance and crying out for my spiritual hunger to return. And it did!
God is faithful when we cry out to Him. Our hunger for Him does not come from ourselves; it comes from His loving kindness and mercy toward us. Our desire to know more of God does not come from our human appetites; it comes from Him. How wonderful that our Lord prepares a spiritual feast for us, and then produces in us a desire to partake in a meal of His Word.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. (Matthew 5:6 NIV)
Heavenly Father, Forgive me for the times that I have stuffed myself with so many things that I had no appetite for you. Thank you for loving me so much that you patiently brought me to a place of spiritual hunger again. Thank you for preparing a table before me, and create in me a heart that desires to fill up on a meal with you before anything else in my life.
Call to Action: This week make an effort to become aware of what you are filling your mind, emotions, and time with. Become aware of when you are so occupied with these things that you don’t desire time with Christ. When you do become aware of your soul being overstuffed with junk, remember to repent and ask God to once again create in you a hunger for God and His written Word.
Further Encouragement: Psalm 23:5, Matthew 5:6, Exodus 16:2
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