You will seek me and find me when you search for me with all your heart. - Jeremiah 29:13
One of the greatest gifts we can carry as believers is hunger. In the natural, our hunger drives us. We were created with an appetite and the need to find food to satisfy that appetite is one of the most basic of human needs.
Yet, this thing called spiritual hunger is often more elusive. Complacency in the life of a believer can be a dangerous place. In fact, the enemy wants to lull us into this place where we feel neither hot nor cold. We can become like those members of the Laodicean church who no longer needed a thing. They had lost the ability to accurately assess the fact that they were wretched, pitiful, poor, blind, and naked. They should have been hungry, but they didn't feel a thing, or see that they needed anything.
I've been in that place before of not feeling hungry. We don't usually set out to be in that satisfied, complacent state, but inattention to our own heart can easily cause us to end up there. It can slowly creep up on you, and before you know it, you find yourself with little or no appetite for the things of God.
I have always looked in amazement at the life of David. Though I believe the hand of God was resting on His life, David did not have the Spirit of God dwelling in him as we do now. Yet, David's life models for us such an example of intimacy and communion with God. So, I'm listing below some of the lessons we can learn from David's life as to how to maintain a heart that is hungry for God:
David understood that hunger and gratefulness are linked together. This is one of the keys that made David the great man that he became. If we are not careful, our hunger can subtly lead us into self pity, or even worse, anger at God if He should choose to delay our encounter. God often works through delay, and it is in this place of delay where we choose whether we will manifest faith, hope, and love, or move into self pity or anger at God. David was constantly crying out to God, but he would always bring things back into perspective by thanking and praising God and declaring who he knew Him to be in his life. His choice to be grateful set his heart on a course to encounter God and attract His favor.
David didn't settle for counterfeit experiences to fill His hunger. Over and over again David declares that God is His source and strength. He wasn't willing to compromise and accept a cheap substitute for His relationship with God. He knew what it was to encounter the Living God, and He would not settle for less.
David knew how to watch over his own heart and life. Though we know that David fell later in his life, the principles and wisdom that he walked in throughout much of his life are not negated by his failure. Psalm 101 reveals the kind of 'self talk' that David used in dealing with his own life. David makes declarations declaring his intent to lead a blameless life. It was this practice that caused His spirit to continually be strengthened and stay open to God.
David was honest before God. A read through the Psalms that David authored feels like reading a friend's journal. The pages are filled with intimate moments expressed in raw language depicting every emotion imaginable. David held nothing back in his exchanges with God. Even when he failed so miserably, he eventually found his way back home when he humbly confessed, Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight; so you are right in your verdict and justified when you judge.-Ps. 54:1. David's willingness to be real with God created a climate where God would be real with him.
David fed his hunger. In the natural realm we stop being hungry when we eat, but in the spiritual realm the more we dine on the things of God the more our hunger increases. David's early years tending his father's sheep paid off as he developed a healthy appetite of spending lots of time alone with God. Then later when he found himself in the desert of Judah he cried out in hunger, O God, you are my God, earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you, my body longs for you, in a dry and weary land where there is no water. David knew what it was like to feast on God, and his hunger drove him to continually pursue more of God.
Father, give us hungry hearts. Instead of running from the void that aches within, cause us to embrace this friend called hunger. You are worth the cost, the search, the wait. No good thing do you withhold.