The following is related to an earlier devotional post on “balance” (wholeness) in our faith and following of Jesus. If you’re not familiar with this series, you may want to review some of the foundational articles and videos on W.A.I.T. training and specific posts on “hunger”.
There are 24 such subjects on this website. You can use the search function to read the devotionals and related Scriptures, view training videos, and even watch contemporary Christian music videos on the same subjects. Simply place your smartphone or tablet on the reading deck of your favorite cardio equipment in the gym, or prop it up in a safe place as you and a friend exercise at home, or even project it onto a smart TV through wifi or bluetooth for larger groups.
I offer the applications below and others only as examples of how you might physically express spiritual principles. They are not magical formulas or guarantees. Neither are they substitutes for God’s call to gather with other believers for worship in a local church, to study His Word and pray privately, to fellowship with other Christians throughout the week, or to serve the hurting and lost.
In the metaphor of physical fitness, consider this series as a “supplement” for your spiritual health. I do believe, however, that these articles and related video which simultaneously feed our spiritual, physical, and relational health can be very practical. After all, the Lord created each of us as a body with a spirit for relationships. And remember, always consult a physician before beginning any new exercise program.
Suggested applications for meditation on “hunger”:
This one is tough for me, and not just in the area of literal food. When I feel empty, I sometimes feed my spirit with fresh air, spicy food, relaxing music, exciting movies, my wife’s kisses, etc. All of these bring me “senses‟ of peace (all 5 puns intended). And there’s nothing wrong with that – until my desire to satisfy my senses becomes my priority or physical things become my hope for satisfaction. Again, we will never experience our good hunger for God if we’re
already stuffed with things of this world. (1 John 2:15-17)
In Ephesians 4:17-24 and 1 Timothy 4:1-2, Paul describes this idol of sensuality as futile thinking – a darkened understanding (without God‟s light) that results in a calloused (non-feeling) heart. Isn’t that ironic? Cravings for more bodily satisfaction actually results in feeling less! I can’t remember who first said “if it feels good, just do it”, but that is absolutely bad advice! Romans 12:17-21 reminds us that God designed painful feelings, too – for the good goal of repentance!
But let’s not be too quick to say that only non-believers need to “feel the burn‟. Isaiah 58 seems to say that the purpose of fasting is for professing believers to weaken our flesh in order to experience our true spirits and lead us into specific forms of repentance. Again, we cannot know our true spirits if we dull or pacify our bodily senses with the things of this world.
In fact, the Apostle Peter tells us that we cannot break the cycles of sins without suffering in our flesh. (1 Peter 4:1) This is not just delaying gratification – it is denying our flesh as our source of gratification and re-directing our hearts to Jesus. Our Lord said that His food was to do the work of the Father (John 4:34). May we find our nourishment & joy in the same.
So, the next time we’re feeling spiritually empty, instead of reaching for physical satisfaction, let’s reach out to someone in our group and talk to them about how we’re feeling. Let’s ask them for encouragement from Scripture and prayer support. Then they might point us to the specific ways that only Jesus can satisfy: belonging, security, purpose, and more. Or we could confess “When I’m tired and want a pick me-up, I’m afraid of what could happen if I don’t satisfy the longing.” Could we be trying to avoid the pain of failure later
because of our low energy level now? Maybe we’re afraid that our temper would show or we couldn’t maintain our usual happy face. Do we believe that we just deserve a treat for what we’ve done lately (or because of what others have not
done for us)? Talk with each other about these concerns.
Physical hungers can be signals of spiritual emptiness or pain – God-given warning signs that we need something. And our bodies can tell us that we need something, but only God can tell us what we need. Listen to your body but trust in His Word to guide you and His Spirit to strengthen and satisfy. When we know specifically for what we hunger, we can begin to help each other find our satisfaction in Christ. Are you or one of your group members hungry for meaning? His Word reveals His progressive work to save a people for Himself. Personal value? We have value because He made us and can re-make us. Affection? His Spirit warms our spirits with peace beyond our own understanding and fills His Body so we can care for each other. Don’t limit your relationships to the gym or field. Study His Word and worship together. See and experience how He satisfies our hungers in the Lord’s Supper taken together. Jesus satisfies the hungers of His Body.
What is your fear? And who is your Love? W.A.I.T.
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