What Causes Hunger in a Believer? – Part Two
We are looking at having a hunger for more of God… And we examined:
1> Receive hunger as a gift
2> Ground yourself in the fear of the Lord
3> Read the Bible to develop lasting hunger
4. Express Your Devotion Through Prayer
As you read the Word, your understanding of God grows as does your love and devotion to God, and prayer becomes the way you express that love and devotion.
Prayer looks different in different people’s lives. I pray early in the morning after spending time quietly listening for His voice and reading His Word, the Bible. As I pray I reflect on al the amazing and wonderful things He has done in my life, my family, and in the ministry He has blessed me with.
I just can’t help but magnify God in worship for all that He’s done and created. Prayer is a discipline of our faith, but when our hearts are devoted to Jesus, it doesn’t feel like a chore. It’s a deep pleasure.
There are so many ways that you can practice prayer. Find ways to pray that help you express your devotion to Jesus and inspire a greater hunger for Him, not based necessarily on what everyone else does, but from your heart of pure devotion to Jesus.
And remember prayer is basically building a relationship with the Lord God and not just a way to receive what you think you need in your life at this point in time.
5. Let Encounters Fuel Your Hunger
Encounters with God – experiences where you are touched by His presence and His power – are where our theology becomes a reality. When we encounter God, we meet Him in a very special way. When we encounter and experience God (Father’s love, Jesus, Holy Spirit) our faith in Him becomes stronger and we feel more secure and connected to Him.
Not all encounters with God will be dramatic, but every encounter with God has drawn me into more hunger for Him, as I long to know His heart better and hear what He has to say. But each encounter – big or small – has strengthened my faith.
Thomas told the other disciples that he wouldn’t believe that Jesus had risen from the dead, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side,” (John 20:25b NIV).
When Thomas eventually met Jesus, Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” (John 20:29 NIV).
What’s Jesus saying? I believe He is saying that encounters and personal experiences are good but they don’t create faith. However, they strengthen faith. Faith comes to us simply by hearing His voice through His Word and in prayer. Romans 10:17 states: “So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word (Rhema) of Christ.” (ESV)
There are many people who are hungry for God that have never experienced God physically like Thomas did, and yet they believe in Him and continue to press in. I believe that they’re more blessed than those who have big encounters with God.
God is present and good, whether we feel Him or not. Encounter is a beautiful part of our journey of developing hunger for God. It fuels our desire, our passion, and our hunger, but it can’t determine our faith in who God is.
6. Avoid Hunger-Suppressing Fillers
We’re all made with a built in desire for God. We’re made to be hungry for Him. But if we snack and fill up in other areas that satisfy for a short amount of time, that hunger for God will grow dull. These “fillers” look different for different people. For some, fillers are numbing habits, for others perhaps a better salary, bigger success, more possessions, or greater status, even within Christian circles.
The way to figure out if something in your life is a filler is to ask yourself how you’re motivated.
Love is always self-sacrificing, and the sinful nature is always motivated by selfish gain. Who is the beneficiary of the things you’re pursuing? Is it God, others, or you? The things that will develop hunger for God in you will be motivated by your love for God, they’ll be things you do for others as a result of God’s love for you. These things will result in God being glorified, rather than your personal gain.
7. Pursue a God-Focused Life – Be “Christ-Centered”
God – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit – must be at the centre of our lives. We must put Him first in our lives…
Then our hearts will be filled with the fear of the Lord, and all our motivations will be for His glory. All our affections will be focused on God, and our behaviours will come into line with that.
Matthew 6:31-33 NET “So then, donʼt worry saying, ʻWhat will we eat?ʼ or ʻWhat will we drink?ʼ or ʻWhat will we wear?ʼ For the unconverted pursue these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But above all pursue his kingdom and righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”
Remember our lead verse …
Matthew 5:6, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.” (NIV).
Matthew 22:37 (NET) “Jesus said to him, ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’”
So, keep God and your relationship with Him as the central focus of your daily life.
So, our prayer should be:
That our hunger for God will increase every day
That God will enable and empower us to stay focused on Him in everything we do
That our fellowship with the Holy Spirit will grow sweeter and deeper and that we can and will experience His presence every day
That through His Word (Bible) and His world we will see the hand of God active in our lives on a daily basis
That our lives will be ever increasingly filled with His joy and contentment
That we may live a life loving and pleasing Him as you walk in His love and give it away to those who do not know Him personally