Never go shopping on an empty stomach. That is what they say when you go to the Supermarket. It makes you buy what isn't really required. However that principle doesn't apply when you come into the presence of the Lord. There should be an unquenchable hunger within. Why? Jesus said it was the source of being happy (Matt.5:6.Ps.42:1.)Notice however what would produce such happiness, righteousness! If you accept the statement of Jesus would you say that many of the Disciples of Jesus are happy and satisfied?
Most people imagine that happiness requires lots and lots of things before and more than righteousness. When you read the warnings the Lord gave to Israel through Moses it is evident He saw materialism as a great danger. Read Deuteronomy 8:11-14,17. To conquer the promised land had its dangers and battles. The greatest and most long lasting threat was not combat but Mammon. The trappings of wealth would make them self satisfied, spiritually lazy and obese. Such attitudes makes a person, family, community or nation forget God and what He has done and promised.
Spiritual Obesity is a western world curse, especially within a Church scene. Forty years after the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ Jesus certain facets of the Church were 'fat, self satisfied and content in their materialism. It is highlighted by the church of Laodicea. (Revelation 3:14-18) Result...pride, forgetfulness, arrogance etc. Today the Church is obese in materialism; prosperity doctrine, emotionalism, self achievement (all for God’s benefit mind you --- ha!) Affluence has robbed the church of its health and stamina in righteousness, justice, stewardship and mission. It is unrighteous I the Lord's eyes.
No hunger for God. Filled with ‘junk food.’ How would you define 'junk food?' Doing good, holding interesting activities and building impressive buildings or projects to their own ego rather than doing the Lord's will or worship. Jesus has a 'Cafe' where He offers spiritually and morally healthy and nourishing food. There is a high admittance cost for Jesus said 'If anyone comes after me they must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow.' Matthew 16:24.
There’s a spiritual ‘dietary’ battle going on. The World wants to stuff us with things that dull our hunger senses. God endeavours to change our ‘eating’ habits. We should pray that God would make us hungry. When that happens we are on the verge of some new taste sensations. As the Bible puts it, Taste and see that the Lord is gracious. 1 Peter 2:3 Ps.34:8.119:103
Some hesitate to taste new foods. Others have few inhibitions. What then are the gourmet dishes of Heaven?
Water...John 4:14 (Holy Spirit).
Milk...1 Peter 2:2.
Meat...Heb.5:12-14. Honey...Ps.19:9-11 . 119:103.(Word)
How and where do we find the Jesus ‘Café!'
His invitation comes wrapped in the good news of the cross. Unattractive on the outside it may seem but when you embrace the invitation it takes you into communion with God and an ever increasing hunger for Him. Paul in Phil. 3:8. says it all, I want to know Him!. How can I hunger for God? I personally doubt the long term success of well presented, well prepared programs aimed at motivating an obese church. Only when we feel the prodigal’s hunger pangs that humble us and drive us back to the Father will we become a trim, slim, health and attractive disciple and church.
Don’t confuse hunger for activity for God. Nor is it religious observances.
Hunger is when you desire, in whatever circumstance surrounds you, is... “Father, be glorified in and through me.”
When you fail your prayer is “Father forgive me and make me a testimony of your grace.”
When faced with all the latest philosophies about life your prayer is... “Father teach me Your Word.”
I find it interesting that many church growth proponents look to the American scene for inspiration. Why beats me. It is obese in materials, resources, concessions and ego. I believe the place to look is the suffering Church in Asia, Africa and the Middle East. Their situation is grim under persecution and lack yet they remain faithful to the Lord Jesus Christ. The Church is hungry and poor but its heart is satisfied with the grace and power of the Lord Jesus. Such a fellowship of Faith is well pleasing to the Lord and an offence to the World. May its influence increase!
Ray (the hungry) Hawkins