What do you reach for when you’re hungry? No really, what? We all have physical cravings that drive us to our favorite junk food. But we also have spiritual cravings that send us in search of a quick fix for our souls.
Starved. That’s how I felt as I walked in the door at 5:30.
I dumped my purse onto the hall table, dropped books, parcels, and the dry cleaning into a chair, and headed for the kitchen. Dinner simmered in the crock pot, filling the house with the smell of teriyaki chicken, but I couldn’t wait. On the way home I had remembered there was some leftover cinnamon rolls in the freezer from Christmas. My grandmother’s secret recipe.
I should have an apple instead. But I walked right past the bowl of apples and began rummaging through the freezer.
Sidetracked By Junk
It’s morning. I grab my coffee, Bible, journal, and pen and head for my favorite chair. Passing by my computer I think, let me just check my email to see if anyone is coming to the shower on Saturday. Hmmm, only two people have answered. They can’t make it. I feel rejected.
Why have I gotten sidetracked on my way to meet with the Lord? Because my soul was hungry for affirmation and I thought I could satisfy my hunger in my inbox more easily than in my Bible.
Do you ever find yourself:
- Browsing blogs to settle your restlessness?
- Checking Facebook to see if anyone loves you?
- Consulting your to do list to find your significance?
- Texting or tweeting to relieve your boredom?
Hungry for Affirmation
Turning to someone other than God as the primary source of my life and love is idolatry. This is the root sin that spoils my spiritual appetite. When I try to suck life from a person or activity, I’ve put them in God’s place. Life comes from him. That’s why we’re supposed to live “by every word that comes from the mouth of God” (Deuteronomy 8:2). A friend once gave me a good diagnostic question, “What feels like life to you?” For me it’s being busy, accomplishing a lot. My “to do” list is more likely to derail my morning devotions than anything else, because I find life there.
Likewise, when I run to people (or food or technology or any number of things) first in order to satisfy my longing for love, I’m asking them to do what only God can do. Essentially, I am burdening them and scorning the one who, “loved me and gave himself for me” (Gal. 2:20). Idols come in many forms, but every one of them will side track me from the One who made me for himself.
I’m so glad our Savior, not our sin, has the last word on this subject. No sooner do we recognize the idol of the moment, than we can turn from it and run to him. Repentance is the shortest path to Jesus, as well as the quickest way to restore our spiritual appetite.
Here’s how Peter puts it:
“So put away all malice and all deceit and all hypocrisy and envy and all slander. Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up to salvation–if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good.” (1 Pet. 2:1-3)
Do you see the sequence? Putting away sin restores me to childlike hunger. It cleanses my palate. It sets me yowling for the pure spiritual milk. Then I can taste how good the Lord is, again.
From Hungry to Satisfied
How good is he, this Lord, my Jesus? He is so good that he never once tried to find life from any words except the Father’s. So good that he always turned to the Father first for love, and then was free to love those around him. So good that he willingly became an idolater in my place on the cross and took my punishment. All of it. There’s none left for me.
He is so good that he has given me all the credit for his perfect love for God, as if I have actually loved him first, always and forever. That’s how good he is.
Satisfy your soul with his goodness. And let him change your appetite, one meal at a time.