Our American diets are loaded with sugars, toxins, processed foods, meats, etc. Yet it is possible for us to be eating large meals, be overweight and still be malnourished.
In that sense, it is easy to see how our physical lives again parallel our spiritual lives. We can become over-nourished on a hefty diet of church programs and activities, religious structure and traditions of men and yet be severely undernourished when it comes to the deeper things of God.
Jesus said, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled,” (Matt. 5:6). When you begin to develop a hunger for the deeper things of God, He will fill you. However, sometimes just being in a good service is not enough. I believe God is already raising up people in this hour who do not want a diet of just “church as normal” any longer. I see it at Free Chapel; people are fasting and developing a hunger for more of God, and religious traditions are having to just get out of the way. Hungry people are desperate people. They will push over the custom; they will push over the ritual—they don’t want to leave hungry.
Hungry in Flesh. . .Hungry in Spirit
Jesus found such hunger while visiting Tyre and Sidon. A woman whose daughter was possessed and tormented by a devil heard that He was there. But the woman was Greek, “a Syro-Phoenician by birth” (Mark 7:26), and, therefore, outside of the covenant God had made with Israel. But that didn’t matter to her. She was hungry, and her faith was persistent. Even when Jesus discouraged her, saying that the “bread” was first for the children of Israel, she was hungry enough to ask for even a crumb that would fall to the floor. Many of the children who sat at the table had not shown such great hunger. Jesus honored her request, and her daughter was healed because of her persistence (vv. 29–30).
Hungry, desperate people are hungry for more of God than they have ever had. They are breaking out of religious rules, regulations and traditional thinking and breaking through to more of His presence, more of His power to turn situations around, more of His healing power, and more of His miracle-working power. Only Jesus satisfies that hunger!
Fasting stirs a hunger in your spirit that goes deeper than the temporary hunger you experience in your flesh. When you hunger for God, He will fill you. Jesus went through cities where He could do no miracles—because there was no hunger.
As Jesus entered Capernaum, He was confronted by a Roman centurion whose servant was paralyzed and tormented (Matt. 8:5–13). But the centurion knew it would take only a word from Jesus for the servant to be healed. When he said those words to Jesus, the Bible says Jesus was amazed at his faith and told those around him, “I have not found such great faith, not even in Israel!” (v. 10). He was saying, “So many in Abraham’s lineage don’t have the hunger this man has shown. They come to see Me, but they don’t hunger.” In this day, God is saying, “I’m looking for somebody who wants something. I’m looking for somebody who will do more than show up, but they will hunger for that which I want to place in them!”
Anybody can be normal. Normal is overrated. Someone has to say, “But I want more! Lord, I’m hungry! I’m going to have to push tradition aside! I’m going to have to push religious rules aside! I’m going to have to push all of the rituals aside because I’m starving to death, and I just can’t do ‘church as usual’ any longer.”
My suggestion is to begin by pushing the plate aside. Show God that you are serious. We must get to the place where we are desperate for God again. We must begin to desire Him more than food or drink. Let us be filled with the Bread of Life instead of the
refuse of religion. Begin to make fasting a regular discipline, and see how God answers your hunger!
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