Earlier today I spent two hours with some young disciples of Jesus. I’m guessing they were between 18 and 30 and the leader was in his mid fifties. The young people had such a hunger for God. For more of God. They were attentive to everything I was sharing. They asked questions. They “leaned into” the material I was teaching and interacted with it and with me. It was an amazing two hours that blessed me and super-charged me. I felt encouraged and excited. Not drained and depleted as I often do after teaching.
When people are hungry for more of God it is so exciting to teach. When they are not hungry it is like pushing a dead horse uphill all the way. An effort and very unrewarding for the teacher. For me.
So afterwards I began thinking about the difference between today’s experience and that which I most often encounter when teaching. And it seems to be that it simply boils down to how hungry people are for more of God. And hunger leads to people being expectant, wanting to receive from God through the teachings. Anticipating meeting God in some way within the teaching.
So, the question I asked myself: How Can A Person Stay Hungry for God?
We read in Matthew 5:6, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.” (NIV).
It seems that the greatest blessing comes to those who are hungry and thirsting for Jesus. Disciples who hunger after the bread of life and thirst for living water (to put it in Bible terms).
So how can we develop this hunger for God, and then stay hungry for Him?
1> Receive Hunger as a Gift
Hunger for God isn’t something that we conjure up for ourselves. It’s a gift that we can only receive from Him. A lot of Christians try to coerce themselves into hunger for God, thinking, “I’ve got to have more faith, I’ve got to be more hungry, I’ve got to be more loving.”
In Galatians 2:20 we read, “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” (NIV).
In the King James translation, we read “I live by the faith of the Son of God.”
When we grasp that Christ is alive inside of us, that we are no longer alive in our old ways, then we can understand that all of our ability to live the Christian life comes from Jesus. All our ability to love God comes from Him. Our hunger for God is because of Jesus’ passion for the Father and the Holy Spirit.
So, we need to simply ask for this hunger for more of God to grow within us. It’s a gift and God most certainly wants to give this gift to each and every one of His children.
2. Ground Yourself in the Fear of the Lord
True hunger for God comes from a revelation of the fear of the Lord. When you’re grounded in the fear of the Lord, you want your life to bless Him, for His sake, more than for your own gain. Our hunger is fueled knowing that Jesus is the center of our salvation rather than ourselves. It’s all by Him, through Him and for Him.
In the Old Testament, the Israelites were chosen as a nation to be priests and kings for God’s purposes and His glory. When they understood this, they were on the right track. When, on the other hand, they focused on themselves, whether they were blessed or not, they lost their way and followed other gods. The fear of the Lord was not at the centre of their hearts.
We develop the fear of the Lord by understanding who He is, and who He has made us to be. When you’re grounded in the fear of the Lord, you want God to be glorified in your life. Your entire motivation for your life is to please Him.
As you live a life worthy of Jesus Christ, a life that glorifies Him in thought, word, and deed then a deep hunger for God overwhelms you.
3. Read the Bible to Develop Lasting Hunger
How do we know that the God we’re relating to is the true and living God? I’m so thankful that He’s given us His Word. It’s by reading and studying His Word that we discover His ways and His character. We can’t learn God’s ways without knowing His Word.
By reading the Bible every day and spending time listening to His voice, we develop a lasting hunger for God. I have read the Bible, cover to cover, every year for the last 45 years. Reading and studying God’s Word has absolutely transformed me. It has caused me to be more in love with Him, and to be increasingly more hungry to know Him.
I urge you to develop a disciplined approach to reading God’s Word. It will create a broad and wide foundation for your spiritual life. Your passion for God will grow, your fear of the Lord will grow and you’ll develop discernment about how He’s leading you to live your life