If you are looking for my notes from last week’s Dojo on Interpretation, here they are for download. Enjoy!
The laborer’s appetite works for him;
his hunger drives him on.
How do we begin to pray for God to make us hungry? Sometimes these prayers are for ourselves, our local church, or the Church on a greater scale. This can become pretty difficult because God won’t just change us. That would violate our free will. However, I do believe that God does influence our hearts, thoughts and decisions. Ultimately, praying for hunger isn’t about asking God to change us but to influence us to get the change we want.
What is hunger? Hunger is about discomfort. It is about feeling lack. It is about pain. You aren’t hungry until you feel the pain of not eating. I don’t know it is time to eat dinner until the discomfort of an empty stomach fills my senses. My pain is what drives me to eat.
“God please make me hungry for you.”
That prayer means I am asking for pain. I am asking to feel the lack of God in my life. Hunger has been made into beautiful worship songs but they rarely sound painful.
Ultimately, I am asking God to allow me to feel the anguish of not feeling Him so I may seek Him.
Proverbs says it’s hunger that drives the laborer to do his work. He is motivated by his pain. Driven by hunger, people go to great lengths to get food and to appease their stomach.
But for Christians, we have a mix of reactions to spiritual hunger. Some of us go into a spiritual fetal position, waiting for our hunger to leave as we are wasting away. Some of us explain our hunger and think the explanation will be food enough. And sometimes we get so used to our discomfort and pain, we don’t even notice it anymore.
The wise reaction to hunger is to have a reaction. God wants us to pursue Him in our hunger. We are hungry because of our lack of Him. So let us fill our spiritual stomaches with more of Him!
God will answer your prayer for hunger by withdrawing from you just enough so you feel pain. This is His kindness. Kindness that is different from being nice, but alike to the discipline of a loving parent. And it is in your pain that you can respond and pursue the bread of life. God withdraws (He never leaves, abandons, or forsakes) from you so you wake up from spiritual sluggishness. He lovingly withdraws His presence to awaken your senses and awaken your hunger for what is only real.
If you are spiritually dry or bored, pray for hunger pains.
If God has granted you hunger pains, don’t just sit there! Let your hunger work for you and drive you on. Use this gift in disguise. Let it become your friend and ally. Go after God!
But keep in mind the most important thing. Hunger is only God’s mean to an end. Remember this promise, “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” Jeremiah 29:13
Brian Houston, pastor of Hillsong Church.
I will be preaching this Sunday at Wesley in our summer series Socially Acceptable Sins. I am going to talk about how we accept speech that isn’t godly and according to the Bible is sin. The only problem with is that there is no good one or two words to name a sermon that emcompasses all the ways we can sin with our speech.
Hence “Poop Mouth.” Mature, I know. Hey, I work for Wesley. What do you expect?
Check out my new design for my blog! It was time for a change!
Also, check out the new “Design Portfolio” section. Enjoy!
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, GOODNESS, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” Galatians 5 :22-23
The fruits of the Spirit are the characteristics that are produced in us as the Spirit works in our hearts. I am convinced that the “fruits” aren’t simply helpful characteristics but are the characteristics and nature of God’s heart. The fruits are His personality being woven into our hearts, transforming us.
“Good” means something is a blessing to people. Something is judged “good” not by it’s own characteristics but by how it effects things outside of itself.
God is good not because of who He is but because of who He is to us.
So what does that mean for us to grow in GOODNESS?
To grow in the fruit of goodness means growing in being a blessing to others.
- Who am I to others?
- How do I treat people?
- How do I talk to others?
- What are my priorities – myself or others?
- Do I look to your needs or to mine?
- Do I look to bless you or promote myself?
- Am I good to others?
This is just like God to make spiritual growth end up being about someone else. I love it!
God please make me good, just like how You are good. Make our faces look more like yours. We want to look like You and be like You. Make us a gift to the world, just like You are. We love you so much. Make us your kids be just like our Dad. I ask this in Jesus’ name! Amen!
Have you ever thought about what makes something good? What does that even mean – “good”? I having been thinking that when you break it down to it’s very core, for something to be “good” means that it is beneficial to people. It works the opposite way too.
- That is good for you
- That is bad for you.
- That tastes good.
- That sounds bad.
See what I mean?
Then what does it mean when we say, “God is good”?
What if we really believed that God’s existence in the world is great, beneficial and profitable for us because He is good in nature?
God being good means His presence is a blessing to others.
It puts a new perspective on scripture many of us hear all the time:
- God saw that creation was Good
- The Good news
- “I am the Good shepherd”
Thinking about this and starting to believe it makes my heart fly. I think all people need to hear this truth about Him. We all need to have our hearts flushed of the smear campaigns the enemy has ran about God. God is Good, He is a blessing to you and He is FOR YOU.
“Have mercy on me o God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion BLOT out my transgression…
Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow…
Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me. ”
I couldn’t believe what I was reading last night. I was feeling so scummy, so sinful, so far away from God. Every time I feel the weight of my disobedience I always want to get out of it. I want God to forget it. I want it to never to have happened. I don’t want to be cut off. I want to feel God. I want to be happy again in Him and I want it right now. I squirm.
So much of my life I have been taught that you can’t have your cake and eat it too. I always felt that when I sinned, God left my presence because He couldn’t be close to sin. My own choices bring my punishment.. distance and sorrow. Work to get back to Him. My payment is time in prison until the broken relationship is healed.
My heart cries out for it to be different. I want my foolish decision to be made ok. I want everything that I broke to be fixed. I want everything to be made normal again. And I always feel guilty for feeling this way. I feel so stupid. I hear a voice in my head telling me to suck it up and take the consequences.
“Do you really think God will just make it ok after what you did?”
“It doesn’t work that way. He can’t.”
But in Psalm 51 David cries out just like me. He cries for healing the rift. He cries out for God to BLOT out what he did. To completely scratch it off. To restore everything as if it never happened. Really, think about the word “blot”. Imagine God writing down what you did wrong and then pouring ink over it so you can never read it again. EVER. “Whiter than snow” means to be made as pure as possible. “Restore the joy” means to make me happy again in God. God bringing His presence, the Joy from knowing Him, the peace, all this stuff that WE SO TOTALLY DON’T DESERVE. It is so human to cry out for this. David, me and you.
AND THE BEST PART IS THAT GOD ACTUALLY DOES IT!
You have got to be kidding me. Something I have learned this year: if it is too good to be true, that is usually where God is waiting.