Jesus said, "Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled" (Matthew 5:6).
What does it mean to be filled by God? It begins with hunger.
I've been praying before, and suddenly, everything disappeared. All that mattered was what he said, what he promised. All that mattered was what he did, what he was doing. All that mattered was God.
I was at once like the dark, barren world before it was made, still formless and empty and void. Then slowly and surely there was activity, wind swooshing over water, the Spirit of God. Then a voice and then light and the judgment of goodness; not empty anymore. God filled me, and I could breathe.
I came into a sacred closeness with God and needed to discover him although I had already known him for quite some time. It seemed to be a period of open heavens, and I wanted to swim in it and savor it. Oh how sweet it was, the sweet presence of God. (adapted from Made to Pray)
I let my hunger lead me.
Hunger for God is the longing for God's presence so that:
the hunger's effects on you are noticeable
you act in order to satisfy the hunger
the hunger is satisfied in God alone
We recently watched a totally rad film called “Father of Lights.”
There’s a quote in the film that has me thinking. Banning Liebscher, Director of Jesus Culture, said,
“In America, there’s a generation that is experiencing more options than any generation in all of history.”
There have never been so many ways to spend our time, money, and attention. Could it be that our choices reveal our hearts? Could it be that our choices reveal our hunger?
This reminds me of the words of Jesus, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matthew 6:14).
Here are six people who were hungry for God. They desired him and wouldn’t let go. They followed their appetites, which led them to God’s banqueting table.
While leading the million-or-so Israelites to the Promised Land, Moses insisted on God's presence. He said to God:
"If your Presence does not go with us, do not send us up from here...What else will distinguish me and your people from all the other people on the face of the earth?" (Exodus 33:15).
The distinguishing mark of God's people would be the presence of God. For this reason, Moses would have rather stayed in the desert with God than gone to the Promised Land without God.
What about you? Are you pursuing your future with God or without him?
The Korahites were one of the primary families in the leadership of Jerusalem. Like Moses, they led with a deep and palpable hunger for God. The Sons of Korah wrote:
"How lovely is your dwelling place, O LORD Almighty! My soul yearns, even faints, for the courts of the LORD, my heart and my flesh cry out for the living God...Better is one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere" (Psalm 84:1-2,10).
Their hunger for God was so remarkable that they could feel it in their deep places, and they would have rather been in the presence of God than anywhere else.
Is there no place you'd rather be?
Anna was married to her husband for maybe seven years, then became a widow. She lived the rest of her life in the Temple, where "she worshipped night and day, fasting and praying" (Luke 2:37). She didn't go anywhere else.
When Jesus was brought there at eight days old, Anna recognized him as the Messiah. The presence of God created an awareness of God, and she could see what God was up to. She saw by faith rather than by sight (a goo-goo baby?) because she was saturated with God.
Can you recognize when God is up to something?
In Psalm 27:4, David wrote of his one thing.
One thing I ask of the LORD, this is what I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD and to seek him in his temple.
David was good at many things—shepherd, warrior, poet, king. But above all, there was just one thing he wanted, just one thing to seek. David wanted the LORD.
If you’re honest with your heart, what is your one thing?
When Jesus came to Bethany, he visited the home of Mary and Martha. Although hospitality was very important, she sat at Jesus’ feet and listened. Martha got upset, but Jesus said,
Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.
For Mary, being with Jesus was more important than doing something for him. Intimacy with Jesus would yield service, but service would not necessarily yield intimacy.
What are you pursuing first—intimacy or service?
In 1 Corinthians 2:2, Paul wrote about his single focus:
For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.
Paul didn’t know when he’d return to the Corinthians, so he focused on one thing while he was with them—knowing Christ. His fortitude was so strong that he said he resolved to know nothing else.
Have you resolved to know nothing but Christ?
God doesn’t take our hearts, they’re ours to offer back to him. He does, however, promise to fill us if we ask him to.
Father, make me hungry for you. Give me the distinction of Moses to stand out by your presence. Grant me the single purpose of David to seek your face. Give me the desperation of the Sons of Korah to yearn for you. Grant me the intimacy of Anna to fellowship with you moment-by-moment. Give me the wisdom of Mary to choose you first. And give me the resolution of Paul to know nothing but Christ.