Summary: The lack of spiritual hunger in many Christians may be due to worldly appetite killers. Comparing the way junk food kills a person’s appetite for healthy food, the author looks at how today’s obsession with entertainment may be affecting Christian’s appet
Nurturing Spiritual Appetite
We take as our text this morning, Matt 5:6 “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, For they shall be filled.” That verse describes a blessing that I want to live in for the rest of my life. I don’t want to ever lose my hunger for more of God. I want to somehow maintain a healthy desire to know God better and to be changed into His image. I suspect that same desire is in you or you wouldn’t be here today.
Is it even possible to maintain a longing for God in our lives? Is that something that just comes and goes and there’s not much we can do about it? Or is there a way to nourish that desire. The Greek tense in our text would indicate that it is something that becomes a part of who we are. The words translated “hunger and thirst” are present active participles which indicate a continual attribute. In other words, it is possible for you and me to be characterized as people who hunger and thirst for righteousness.
But if you’re like me, there are definitely times when that hunger and desire is more intense than others. The question is: How do we nurture our spiritual hunger for God?
I. Taste and see that the Lord is good. When we were growing up we developed a taste for certain foods. For me, Thanksgiving is really missing something if I don’t get some dressing the way Mom made it. I always like it when Jeanie cooks the Thanksgiving meal because early in our marriage she learned to make it the way Mom made it. A lot of you would not like Mom’s dressing. It is made with cornbread and has black olives in it. I’ve got a friend who will eat nothing but dressing made with regular white bread. Why, because that’s the way his Mom made it. The point is this: we acquire our taste for certain foods. Before that happens we have to try it out. Amen? That’s why David passionately says in Ps 34:8 “Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good....” There was a day when I took a taste of God’s goodness and have desired it ever since. There was a time when someone explained to me the grace of God and I experienced it. That caused me to want more. I want more of God’s grace flowing through my life today than yesterday.
II. Acknowledge your need for spiritual nourishment. Is it important to nourish your spirit as well as your body? I know people who religiously care for their physical bodies. They are careful that the food they eat doesn’t have too many calories. They make sure it has the right protein and vitamins to nourish them properly. They stick to a routine that gives them plenty of exercise. In the natural, some of us could learn from their example. It is a good thing to take care of ourselves physically. Paul says it is profitable for a little while; it serves us well in this short temporal life. He told Timothy (4:8) “For bodily exercise profits a little, but godliness is profitable for all things, having promise of the life that now is and of that which is to come.” In comparison, Paul says taking care of our spiritual well being is infinitely more important.
Jesus made a similar statement when He quoted Deut. 8:3 and said “...Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God” (Matt 4:4). He understood the necessity of feeding upon what God says. When He taught us to pray, “Give us this day our daily bread....” He had more in mind that just physical food. I believe that prayer includes petition for our physical needs; but it’s not limited to that. We need to look to the Father daily and ask Him to feed us spiritually as well. The point is this: we cannot simply ignore our spiritual needs and think everything is going to be fine. In fact, we must see spiritual nourishment as a higher priority than physical.
III. Intentionally eat healthy food. I’m talking about what we take into our souls on a daily basis. Peter wrote, “as newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby, 3 if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is gracious” (1 Peter 2:2-3). Has anybody here tasted and found the Lord to be gracious? I have too. The pure milk of the word will nourish our souls and give us spiritual health. David had an appetite for that. Listen to what he says to the Lord in Ps 119:103 “How sweet are Your words to my taste, Sweeter than honey to my mouth!” If I have no taste for the word of God, I need to find out why. I need to discover the honey that’s there for me.