The mid-afternoon munchies had hit and I was staring into the refrigerator trying to determine what I was hungry for. I wanted to be hungry for the cantaloupe I'd cut up that morning or the fat-free Greek yogurt about to expire after being pushed to the back of the shelf over and over again. But the cravings in my tummy were drawing my attention to the slice of cake on the bottom shelf.
I had just begun anew (once again) to focus on healthy eating. I needed to drop a few pounds and I wanted to clean up my cholesterol count before my yearly physical. So, while I knew the kinds of foods I should be eating to satisfy my hungers, I hadn't yet developed much of an appetite for these less fat, less sugar, more nutritious choices.
Still, I reached into the refrigerator and grabbed...
a wise choice: the Greek yogurt. I knew that if I wanted to develop a palate for the healthier choices, I needed to discipline myself to choose them consistently, and, for at least a few more days, that would mean through sheer willpower alone.
That makes me think, what doyou hunger for spiritually or emotionally? Remember, our hungers drive us. While our physical hungers either drive us to sugary snacks and fattening foods or healthier choices like fruits and veggies, our soul hungers also drive us.
Our deepest desires either drive us to God or they drive us to any of a wide variety of other, less healthy choices: people, activities, things, or escape mechanisms.
We're all hungry for things like unconditional love, a sense of significance, purpose and security. But our appetites for those things will lead us to different choices depending on the "tastes" we have developed.
- If you're used to running to your girlfriends every time you crave companionship and intimacy, running to God will seem less appealing.
- If you've developed a taste for applause and recognition, God's affirming truths will seem like a lousy substitute for those things when you're searching for significance.
- And if you are in the habit of living vicariously through your soccer champion daughter, any purpose God gives you will at first seem less fulfilling.
We develop our tastes, our appetites based on what we consistently "eat." And when we realize what we've been running to is not healthy or godly and we want to change, it's hard! Everything in us screams to turn back and feast on that which we've been trying to satisfy those natural hungers with before.
Would you like to develop a great hunger for the Lord? Don't you know some people who honestly seem to love the Lord more than you do somehow? And don't you envy that sweet intimacy they seem to share with Him?
Well sister, it will take some discipline. Just as I'm having to make willful choices to choose fruit or fat free yogurt over caramel cake or pb&j sandwiches, you'll have to willfully change your appetites and your choices by consistent behavior.
Here are a few tips for developing a taste for the Lord:
- Daily have a quiet time. It doesn't have to be long or follow any particular format; instead let it grow and develop naturally. But choose to spend time with God in prayer and in His Word every day, at the same time daily if possible.
- Listen to Christian music throughout the day. It feeds the soul truth and helps you develop a natural appetite for it.
- Talk to someone about the Lord and spiritual things every day. I cut my teeth on this habit when my children were very young. That's the perfect time to develop the habit of talking naturally about your prayers and how God has answered them, your favorite things about God, and what you see God doing in the world.
- Memorize scripture and meditate on it several times each day. Choose a verse or two that feeds your soul's desires for love, significance, purpose, or security and begin memorizing. Read over, recite, or meditate on those verses at least four times every day. Sound legalistic? Not if your motive is right. It's called discipline.
- Filter out the things of the world that increase your hungers for devilish desires. For instance, I try to stay away from malls, steer clear of most television shows, and put down novels that get trashy.
Nancy Leigh DeMoss wrote, "Godliness, spiritual maturity, and intimacy with the Lord do not just happen. They are the fruit of conscious, disciplined choices and habits--disciplines that are crucial to cultivating spiritual appetites."
Do you have other tips--disciplined choices and habits-- that could help those of us who are trying to develop a healthier hunger, a holy hunger? What do you do to rid yourself of devilish desires?
Labels: Satisfied at Last, scripture memorization, What's in Your Pack