Don’t you wish spiritual hunger was the same as natural hunger? About four hours after finishing a meal, I’m ready to eat again. Sad to say, that’s not the case with spiritual hunger. When left to myself, I can sometimes go for days without having a real hunger for God and His Word. So how do we get hungry for the things of God? I know one thing for sure: It doesn’t happen by itself.
Hunger begets hunger! I know that to be true from my own personal experience. The more I taste and see that the Lord is good, the more I want to dine at His banqueting table. You would think it would be the opposite – that the longer we go without spiritual food, the more our spiritual bellies would develop hunger pangs. However, that’s not how it usually works. Actually, the opposite seems to be true. The longer we go without the food of heaven, the less we have any desire to eat it.
A verse that has often gripped my heart is Matthew 4:4b. “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.” Jesus was not referring to the natural life of a person. He was talking about spiritual nourishment for the spirit and soul. We need heaven’s fuel to connect with God, experience His presence, and walk in the Spirit. Listen to another passage that has to do with the spiritual food of heaven. “My son, give attention to my words; Incline your ear to my sayings. Do not let them depart from your eyes; Keep them in the midst of your heart; for they are life to those who find them, and health to all their flesh.” (Proverbs 4:20-22)
God’s Word produces life! That’s a promise in Scripture. As I’m writing this article, I’m reminded of the testimony of Derek Prince. As a young man in the British military, he contracted a skin disease that the doctors were unable to heal. He was a young believer at the time, just beginning to learn about the ways of God. Yet, he had an awareness of God’s desire to heal him. If he had faith to be healed, God would heal him. Reading the Bible one day, he came across Romans 10:17, “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” He thought, if hearing the Word produces faith, he would simply read through the Bible, beginning in Genesis. After two months, he came across the passage in Proverbs I mentioned above. In a footnote, he noticed that the word health in verse 22 also could be translated medicine. So, he decided to take the Word of God like medicine, three times a day. After every meal, he would pray and ask the Lord to make His Word medicine for his body and soul. Then, he would read/eat the Word of God. After three months of taking the medicine of the Bible, he was completely healed.
I wanted to share that story for two reasons. First of all, Derek Prince discovered that faith is built on the Word of God. It took a crisis in his life to bring him to that conclusion. However, once he discovered that truth, there was no turning back. He went on to become one of the great Bible teachers of last century. Had he never developed that skin condition, he may have never discovered that man does not live by bread alone.
Secondly, it took persistence on his part to experience the promises of Scripture. He was not miraculously healed overnight. It took three months of reading the Word three times a day to be healed. The Lord spoke something similar to me several years ago in reference to prayer. He told me that every time we pray in faith, something happens. We don’t always see a miracle – but persistence in the Word and prayer moves mountains…one scoop at a time.
Unlike natural hunger that comes without effort on our part, spiritual hunger is something we have to work at. We may be able to get by with a snack here or there, but if we want to be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might, we have to develop an insatiable appetite for God. Hunger really does beget hunger. The more we eat, the more we will want to eat. And the more we eat, the more we will become like Jesus. I have found this to be true in my life. I’m hoping to grow an appetite until I look like, sound like, and act like Jesus!
By Paul Moore