The other day I took my five-year-old daughter to have a cavity filled at an early morning dentist appointment. As we walked out of the dentist office after the procedure, she looked up at me, still a little loopy from the oral sedation she had to take for the procedure, and said, “I’m hongwy Mama, feed me.” She said this because she was “hongwy”. She also said it because she’s five and she can’t feed herself. She also said it because I am her mother and it is my job to feed her when she is “hongwy”. That’s the way it works.
That is also the way our relationship with God works. We should come to God in prayer, looking for Him so we can tell Him, “Abba, I am hungry. Feed me.” We cannot feed ourselves the spiritual food that we need from God, because He is the only One Who has it. We ask God to feed us because He is our Father, and it is His job to feed us when we come to Him and tell Him we are hungry. And just like my compassionate reaction to my own daughter’s pleas to be fed, He reacts to our pleas with infinite compassion. I long to fill my daughter’s hunger, it is something that gives me great fulfillment and peace, knowing that she is fed and taken care of. God longs to fill our hunger, that is why Jesus said, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to Me will never hunger, and whoever believes in Me will never thirst.” (John 6:35).
Something I increasingly observe is that we are not hungry for God because we are too easily filled by the things of the world. C.S. Lewis puts it this way: “It would seem that our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.” We are far too easily satisfied with the vacuous and temporal fulfillment of our flesh. Our bellies are so full of worldliness, that we are content to nibble upon spiritual scraps, even though God has provided access to a limitless buffet of holiness, wisdom and peace.
When the Israelites were wandering in the wilderness, God gave them an abundance of manna each day, far more than they could ever consume. But God told them to only collect what they needed for each day, “Morning by morning they gathered it, each as much as he could eat; but when the sun grew hot, it melted.” (Exodus 16:21). Jesus reiterates this daily dependence on God when He teaches the Apostles to pray, “Give us each day, our daily bread.” (Luke 11:3).
God tells us that we need “daily bread”, but some of us are just getting weekly bread when we make our obligatory church appearance on Sunday. We show up at church, empty and hungry, trying to get filled on an hour of corporate worship and then stretch that hour of bread to try and make it last through the week. When the Israelites tried to do that, their manna rotted and was inedible, “Moses told them, ‘Do not keep any of it until morning.’ But some of them didn’t listen and kept some of it until morning. But by then it was full of maggots and had a terrible smell.” (Exodus 16:19,20). We cannot grow spiritually on maggoty, rotten bread, but many of us are trying to.
Instead of being hungry for God, many find themselves frustrated and cranky. I have heard people refer to this hungry/angry condition as “hangry”. How many of us are “hangry” about our spiritual growth? There are three types of Christians: hungry, hangry, and those who are so used to going without any food at all, that any hunger pangs they may have once suffered are long-since gone and they exist in spiritual numbness.
Are you spiritually numb? Are you ambivalent about God’s presence and His call upon us to be well-equipped in His word (Heb 13:20,21; 2 Tim 3:16,17) and to pursue holiness (Lev 20:26; Lev 19:2; 1 Peter 1:14-16)? Then ask God to give you a heart of flesh (Ezek 36:25-27; Ezek 11:19,20) and to quicken your spirit (Rom 8:10-13).
Are you hangry? Are you frustrated in your walk with God? Are you trying to fill a belly that is full of the world with maggoty, rotten bread? Then ask God to examine your heart and show you the changes that need to be made in your habits and life (Psalm 139:23,24; Psalm 19:12; Job 31:6), and then surrender, in daily faith, to the transforming power of the Holy Spirit. Ask Him to teach you and to give you ears to hear and a heart of obedience (Psalm 143:10; Psalm 16:11; Psalm 25:4,5; Psalm 86:10-12).
Are you hungry? Do you find yourself wondering if there is more to be had than the religion you are being offered, when your true heart’s desire is for more relationship? Then meditate on Jesus’ promise to be your daily bread as you seek His presence and fellowship through daily prayer and regular Bible study (Luke 17:19; Matt 9:22; Luke 7:20). Pray for Him to put you into fellowship with other hungry brothers and sisters. Believe that when you come to Him and look up and say, “Abba, I am hungry. Feed me” that He will be faithful and compassionate to provide far more than you could ever hope to consume (Philippians 4:19; 2 Cor 9:8; Eph 3:8).
“Jesus answered them and said, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, you seek Me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate of the loaves and were filled. Do not work for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you, for on Him the Father, God, has set His seal.’…So they said to Him, ‘Then what sign do You do, that we may see and believe You? What work do You perform? Our fathers ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written, “He gave them bread from heaven to eat.”‘ Jesus then said to them, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, it was not Moses who gave you the bread from heaven, but my Father gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is He Who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.’ Then they said to Him, ‘Lord, always give us this bread.’ Jesus said to them, ‘I am the bread of life; whoever comes to Me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in Me shall never thirst.'” (John 6:26-35)
“What does it profit a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul?” (Mark 8:36)