Hunger & Thirst
I woke up at the beginning of this week with a line from a song on my heart, “I hunger and thirst for you,” from Hunger and Thirst by The Belonging Co. As my day went on I was permeated by those two very simple words, hunger and thirst. So I did what any good Bible study girl does, I went to the word but God wasn’t done with this yet, that evening I went to a recovery group that I hadn’t attended in months, and guess what the topic was? Hunger! I know right?!
I’m going to level with you, I struggle with food, specifically sugar. It might not be obvious to look at me but trust me when I say that it is something that is always present, a giant that I face on a daily basis. Sometimes I feel like I make progress towards freedom and sometimes I fail miserably. I say as I’m writing while simultaneously munching on a pile of my kids' Easter candy. Here’s the kicker: I’m not even that hungry. It’s just there, so I’m just eating it.
Here’s the thing about hunger, most of us don’t truly understand it, not with our abundant western lives. Our idea of hunger is a stomach rumble when we forget to eat lunch, or a craving misinterpreted. When was the last time you actually felt faint for lack of food? But thirst is something that we have all experienced. When I am truly thirsty there is little that will stand in my way from finding relief from the need. That’s what’s at the bottom of hungering and thirsting for God, it is a deep-seated need that only He can satisfy.
The problem is that we have so much junk all around us that is clambering for our attention, so many things that are promising a quick fix to our hunger and our thirst. They are cheap imitations of the real thing. They are the Spam to the steak that our God offers.
When it comes down to it, all the distractions that we face, all of the cheap imitations are just that: cheap. They cost us nothing–no surrender, no price–they are the fast food of the spiritual world, and the more that our souls feed on junk the more that we crave it. In effect, you’re not going to crave asparagus unless you actually start eating asparagus. Just like you’re not going to crave donuts if you never eat them. Never once in my life have I had a craving for kimchi because I have never eaten kimchi.
“A wise person is hungry for knowledge, while a fool feeds on trash.”
-Proverbs 15:14 NLT
What you are eating? A five minute Bible study in the morning does not negate the four hours of Netflix that you binged that afternoon any more than the brussel sprouts I had with dinner the other night cancel out the Reese’s cup, pack of Starbursts, and fun-size Three Musketeers that I followed them up with.
It’s easy to look at my old life and see the trash that I once ate: smoking, drinking, pornography, marijuana, pills, etc. All of these things promised the fulfill the thirst, but they were like drinking saltwater. I was always left thirstier than when I began and so perpetuated the cycle. Now the trash is sneakier, it’s Google News and Facebook shorts, Pinterest and video games. They’re not necessarily bad things but they’re not the best thing. They are empty calories.
“Why spend your money on food that does not give you strength? Why pay for food that does you no good? Listen to me, and you will eat what is good. You will enjoy the finest food. Come to me with your ears wide open. Listen, and you will find life.”
-Isaiah 55:2-3a NLT
Here’s the thing about empty calories, there is no life in them. No, you’re not going to die, but you’re not going to grow! You’re not going to be healthy. You’re not going to find life! I don’t want bare minimum Christianity! Honestly, I would be hard-pressed to even categorize that as Christianity but that is for another day. I want all that Christ purchased for me. I want all that His blood bought. And beloved that is more than a devotional that you’ve forgotten about before lunch. That is more than a life that looks like the rest of the world. That is more than empty calories and mindless entertainment. He paid the ultimate price so I could have an abundant life! I don’t want to throw it away on the newest Netflix show or Tik Tok craze. I don’t want to eat trash.
So what’s the remedy here? We must listen. I know that we talk a lot about checkbox Christianity, well this is the opposite of that. This is tarrying with God, seeking His face, and waiting until it is found. This is a relationship that isn't built in a rush. I’ve been there, I’ve wasted the time that I should have spent with Him and given Him the leftovers. I’ve read the verse of the day while I quickly rushed out of the door to my next thing. That is checkbox Christianity just as much as just being a pew potato is. There is no life to be found there.
What if you stayed up too late because you wanted to read one more chapter instead of watching one more episode? What if you didn’t get the laundry put away because you lost an hour in prayer instead of an hour to Youtube or the grass never got mowed because you fell to your knees in worship instead of joining another match on the game? How different would your life look? How much more real would your God be?
“I don’t just do what is best for me; I do what is best for others so that many may be saved. And you should imitate me, just as I imitate Christ.”
-1 Corinthians 10:33b-11:1 NLT
If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a thousand times. This life is not about you. It stopped being about you the moment that you surrendered to Jesus. It is about His good name. It is about bringing Him glory. It is about the people that we are called to be a light to, a testimony to–the people that should follow us as we follow Him. That’s the point and we are a generation that is being sidetracked by trash! If you want your prodigal to come home, Netflix is not the place to call on their freedom. If you want your spouse to find Christ, Facebook is not going to give them a new heart. So why are we spending our time worshiping at the idols of the world instead of falling at the feet of the One who created it?
I know this isn’t an easy word to hear, frankly, it’s not an easy one to write. I need freedom from trash as well. I’m not walking in the fullness of life that Jesus died for and it’s because of the empty calories that I have replaced Him with. This isn’t so that we walk away and feel horrible, this is so that we walk away hungry for the more–the finest food. God prepares a feast for us in the presence of our enemies, it’s up to us if we sit down and listen, if we partake in the feast and grow.
Written by Amanda Strauser