How to Replant a Church, Part 5: Rally Your Troops
Thu Mar 06, 2014
by Bubba Jennings
The 4 Pillars of Pastoral Work
Thu Mar 06, 2014
by Dave Bruskas
10 Ideas For Keeping Lent
Wed Mar 05, 2014
by Winfield Bevins
How an Executive Pastor Frees the Lead Pastor to Do What Only He Can Do
Tue Mar 04, 2014
by Sutton Turner
Resurgence Leadership #006: Matt Chandler on Holy Ambition
Tue Mar 04, 2014
A Starved Soul
“For the bread of God is he who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” John 6:33
My friend recently completed schooling to become a nutritional therapist. As I describe to her how my body is feeling, she grows concerned. “Your cells are starved,” she alerts me. Not only am I not taking in the right nutrition, she says, but the nutrients I am getting aren’t properly being accessed and used at the most basic level in my body.
Is your soul starved?
As I rethink my physical health and identify where I have been careless and rebellious with eating, God stirs my starving soul, too. He opens the eyes of my heart to the fact that my body isn’t the only part of me that is malnourished—my heart is hungry.
When we are hungry, we often settle for whatever food is near, not looking for something nourishing but for something now to curb our appetite.
In my spiritual hunger, I have fed on some of the most unsatisfying, soul-numbing God-replacements: food, relationships, or even Facebook. In and of themselves, those things are not evil, but the desire in my heart is. I’m settling for a quick fix, not a steady faith. I’m searching for temporary pleasure when divine delight is offered and can only satisfy. C. S. Lewis says it best: “If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world.”
The table is already set. All we have to do is partake of its goodness.
There are even times when feasting on unbelief and pride artificially suppress my appetite for God, much like popping a pill can temporarily take the edge off your body’s true need for sustenance.
The table is already set. All we have to do is partake of its goodness. How foolish to scrounge as a beggar at the door of the banquet hall that we have been invited into! Oh how we grieve the bread of life when we allow our souls to feast on junk.
Just as our bodies give us indicators of our health, our souls speak when they are sick. Here are some signs that I have encountered:
1. Lack of Scripture
In our comfortable American home, there is never a copy of the Word farther than 10 feet from me in any given room. Ashamedly, there are times that I neglect feasting on these morsels of life.
2. Lack of Joy
Just as the byproduct of lack of food is shortened life, the byproduct of lack of Scripture is lack of joy.
3. Preoccupation with Self
I know I am starved for refreshment from God when I become obsessed with thoughts of myself and my satisfaction. The swollen belly of spiritual malnourishment is filled with morsels of self.
4. Independence from God
Dependence on myself for satisfaction is in direct and utter conflict with surrendering my appetite to the only one who can truly fill me.
5. Indifference toward Others
When my heart goes into starvation mode, I am blinded to the hunger pangs of those around me who need to be fed, both physically and spiritually.
Others’ Crumbs Won’t Do
In my spiritual hunger, at times I have tried to nibble from another’s overflowing plate. I have listened to my pastor on Sunday preach from his feast of study, but come Monday morning I am hungry again. I have tried to nibble off my husband’s plate of consistent study and prayer, hoping his satiation will somehow be contagious.
While their examples are an encouragement to me, they cannot be an excuse for me. I alone must feed on the bread of life that is Jesus’ body. The crumbs that fall from someone else’s banquet with Christ will not suffice to stave off the voracious appetite of our flesh when we are not filled by Christ.
A Forever Fullness
The gospel is a filling meal. In its simplicity, it is the most satisfying and delectable feast we can enjoy. God’s wrath has been satisfied by the death, burial, and resurrection of his perfect Son. Our sins are forgiven. We are filled with the righteousness of Christ. We are invited to feast on the promises in Scripture, illuminated by the Holy Spirit for an eternal joy and satisfaction that nothing on this earth can touch.
Is your soul starved? Despite the fact that you know a lot of verses and have logged many ministry hours, are you hungry?
Join me at the table of his promises to eat again from the richness of his grace.
“My soul will be satisfied as with fat and rich food, and my mouth will praise you with joyful lips.” Psalm 63:5