Wednesday, December 4, 2013

When You've Lost Your Hunger For God

I long and yearn for the courts of the LORD; my heart and flesh cry out for the living God.  Psalm 84:2

It is possible to lose your appetite. Patients with severe illness come to a point where they do not desire any food. They need it, but they will not eat. The result is weakness and eventually death.  Those who fast for prolonged periods reach a point where they are no longer hungry. That may sound strange, but in some ways we train our bodies to be hungry.  And, we hunger for what we eat. If we eat a steady diet of burgers and fries, we are not hungry for green vegetables and lean meats.

Why is it that we can be so hungry for God's presence that we cannot be kept away from his Word, prayer, worship, and His people and then find ourselves at a point where we could not care less?  There are many reasons we do not hunger for God, but it is mainly because we have trained ourselves to no longer hunger for him. When we eat a steady diet of worldliness, busyness, and self-sufficiency, we no longer hunger for God.

We, the church, seem very satisfied apart from God. We do not seem to long and yearn for the courts of the Lord. Pastors call us to corporate prayer, worship, Bible study, revival services, etc., and many feel no need, much less any desire to attend. Does your lack of desire alarm you? It should.

What do we do when we realize that we do not "long and yearn for the courts of the LORD?"

First, recognize you do not love God.  A lack of longing and yearning in any relationship is a loss of love and devotion. Jesus warned the church in Ephesus that if they did not return to their first love - Jesus - they would be shut down by God. If you do not desire to be in God's presence in prayer and in worship, you no longer love Him.

Second, repent of a lack of longing and yearning for God. It is no small thing to take the Creator and Sustainer, the Savior, the King for granted. It is neither acceptable nor wise to be so self-satisfied or caught up in the things of this world that we do not long and yearn for God's presence.

Third, return to a lifestyle of devotion to God. Do not wait until you feel hungry again. Jesus told the church at Ephesus to "Remember then how far you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first. Otherwise, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place - unless you repent." (Rev. 2:5)

If you wait to feel hungry for God again, you will reach a point of starvation.  You may already be there and not even know it. Don't wait for the hunger to return. Go to God now.  Begin to pray, to press through until the hunger for God returns. Turn away from the world and the things that satisfy, but starve you.  Go to church, to worship, to prayer meeting, to revival meetings. Read His Word and pray until the Bread Of Life and the Spirit create a hunger for God in your soul.  Say no to the world and yes to God and you will once again begin to "long and yearn for the courts of the Lord," and you will once again be satisfied by the things of God that do not starve, but which give peace and sweetness to your soul.