Breaking through the unlearning curve
Developing a real hunger for spiritual growth in your life many times requires a commitment to unlearning dangerous ideas that work against your desire for a deeper spiritual walk with God. I grew up in a church that always reminded struggling believers that God demanded more of them then they were giving or believed they could give to God. This perception of God did little to stir up an authentic hunger for more of God and usually robbed them of the little desire they did possess. It ‘s hard to hunger for more of God when your view of God is one of harshness and judgment. The unlearning curve means setting aside this myopic view of God for the biblical view of a holy God that has provided a means for salvation through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
What wrong or narrow view of God is keeping you from hungering for the spiritual growth and life God has for you? Open your heart to unlearning your worldly view of God and begin to embrace and desire for a God that loves you and has provided everything you need for life and godliness. To unlearn a wrong understanding of God and to replace it with a correct view of God in your life requires the proper tools. Hebrews 2:12 says, “For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart”. You cannot unlearn what is not right on your own, but you need God’s word to go deep into your heart to judge and establish Godly attitudes in your life.
Spending a few moments each day meditating on a Bible verse or passage is not just a religious duty, but the right medicine and direction you need to help you unlearn what is not correct and begin to hunger for all the good God has for you. Today, take a few moments to discover the freshness of His word and allow God to open his words of life to your hungry soul.
Hunger Devotion 4
Hunger never stops with satisfied.
A great tip to lose weight is never to eat until you’re full, but instead, eat only until you’re just satisfied. Too many Christians seem to be on a spiritual diet that keeps them from fully embracing all that God wants to give them. A hungry man never stops with just being satisfied but continues eating until he is full. Do not be a believer that goes through life with just enough from God to be satisfied, but never living entirely on the abundant life that God wants to pour out into your heart. This kind of Christian lives just to get by, to be okay with small portions of God’s overflowing life, settling for so much less than they could have in their life.
Mark Twain once spoke at a man’s funeral and simply gave this one statement, “Our dear friend died at the age of thirty, and we are burying him now at the age of sixty.” Do not settle for half the life that God has for you by stopping at satisfied in your spiritual walk. Allow the spiritual hunger for more of God to take you deeper into an amazing life empowered by the Holy Spirit. The fear to be too radical or too extreme for God will eat away at your spiritual hunger and leave you with a half-hearted satisfied life.
When Jesus told the church at Laodicea to be hot or cold but do not live a lukewarm life, he was challenging them to stir up their hunger for more of God. This analogy greatly bothered me years ago, as I thought, “Well, it is better to be half way to God then cold and far from him.” What I missed was the understanding that being lukewarm is like being neither hungry or full, it means you are not motivated to move at all! It is where one becomes okay with their spiritual level; they are not hungry enough to make any change in their life.
If you have grown satisfied with your spiritual walk with God, you are in danger of becoming stuck, with no motivation to do anything about it. Today, identify one area of your life that is stuck and begin to hunger for God to bring real change in this field. If you do, He will!
Hunger Devotion 3
Hunger always begins with emptiness.
Have you ever had a great meal set before you, but you were already too full to enjoy the meal? It doesn’t matter how great or elegant the meal is, if you are already full, you will not be hungry enough to eat very much. This is what happens to those who are already full on everything the world offers, they find themselves with not much of an appetite for the spiritual things God wants to give them. The very things we often crave in this world like fame, money, power or attention never seem to satisfy our desires. Ecclesiastes 6:7 teaches us that the world’s “appetite is never satisfied.” Everything the world offers us never fully satisfies and at the same time, it fills our life with distractions that rob us of spiritual hunger.
A rich young man came to Jesus seeking to find real spiritual answers for his life. He had followed all the rules and man’s attempt to find God and still felt empty. Jesus responded to his diligent search and told him to empty himself of the all the things of the world that filled him and then follow him. However, unlike most other people in the Bible that came to Jesus seeking help, this story did not end well. Luke 18:23 explains that the young man “became very sad, for he was extremely rich.” The word extremely means “abundantly supplied” or filled. This man was full of all the world had to offer and was not willing to empty himself of those things that he might be able to follow Jesus.
Real growth in the things and life with God always begins with the hunger and desire in our hearts to find him. God is not looking for perfection from you; he is seeking those who are hungry for the life that he is offering. Today, be willing to lay down those trivial and vain pursuits in life that fill you with distractions from what you truly hunger for, an authentic and growing relationship with God. Can you think of one or two areas in your life that are being filled with the draw of this world? Surrender those to Christ and allow him to fill you with life.
Hunger Devotion 2
Do you know your potential?
Do you find yourself spiritually stalled, gaining little or no ground in your growth with God? Many times, our frustration and dissatisfaction come from a belief that we are not living up to our potential. Studies indicate that the longer church attendees remain in their non-growth state, the more likely they are to become content with their rate of spiritual growth. In other words, they begin to accept an increasingly lower level of spiritual potential for their lives. They start to embrace their spiritual stagnation as a regular part of their experience with God. What began as excuses for your lack of growth will easily be replaced with its acceptance as the new normal in your life. Your lack of real spiritual growth comes at the expense of your ever-decreasing potential!
Do you know your spiritual potential? What is most assuredly true is that God sees your potential as much greater than you do. Matthew 19:26, says, “Jesus looked at them and said, ‘With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.’” The disciples understood how impossible pleasing and growing in God would be for them. But Jesus looked at them, with all their weaknesses and wavering potential and encouraged them to see their potential “with God.” Spiritual growth is not about achieving a nebulous level of spiritual potential but growing “with God” in the potential he has already provided each one of us. Remember, 2 Corinthians 9:8 tells you “God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.” Your potential is not capped, you have not become all you can be in Christ, the potential God has for your life is abundant for all your needs as you abound in ever possible work ahead of you.
Stir your faith, begin to dream for the greater potential God has for you! Believe for the possible spiritual formation “with God” in the next six months or for the remainder of this year.
Hunger Devotion 1
What’s your spiritual appetite?
Recent studies have shown that as much as fifty percent of regular attendees in bible based churches consider their spiritual growth as stalled or very dissatisfying. But Jesus taught us in Matthew 5:6, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.” Spiritual growth in our lives does not just come from checking off all the right boxes on a mental chart but having a hunger for everything God has for us. Jesus promised that if you are hungry for more of God in your life, you will be filled.
What is your spiritual appetite like today? If you feel like your spiritual growth in God has stalled, then it is time to develop a spiritual desire for righteousness that only comes from God. Do not allow yourself to grow satisfied with your current spiritual growth, God has blessings for you, as you turn your heart to hunger for more of Him. Just as your physical appetite is a normal function of our life, so is your spiritual appetite as you grow sensitive to the Holy Spirit in your life.
Your spiritual desire can be stirred up as you begin to taste and experience the goodness that God has for you. Psalms 38:8 says, “Taste and see that the LORD is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him.” As you begin to allow the truth and life of God’s word to fill your life, your hunger for more of his righteousness will grow stronger every day. Start today with just a “taste” of his beautiful truth and see how it will stir your heart and faith for more of God. Take just a few minutes out of your day and meditate on a verse from the Bible. Read the verse several times and consider the truth that God might be applying to your life.
Begin with one of the following verses: Psalms 40:16, “May all who seek you rejoice and be glad in you; may those who long for your saving help always say, ‘The LORD is great!”’ Phil 2:13, “For it is God who works in you to will and to act to fulfill his good purpose.”