We can be hungry for a lot of things: food, money, status, possessions. There are many things in this fallen world that attract us and create that deep desire for acquisition or the simple satisfaction of basic needs. When you've had a good meal, you feel content. When you've reached a milestone in your career, you feel accomplished. When the real estate agent gives you the keys to your new home, you feel excited and fulfilled. However, when you look deep inside your heart, are you truly satisfied?
There is a desire in us to be accepted, loved and protected. All of man’s endeavors can be traced back to this desire. In the end, the greatest desire of man is relationship, and the greatest relationship we have is with God.
In the book of Genesis, we learn that God had a very intimate relationship with Adam and Eve. In fact, even after they had sinned and eaten the forbidden fruit, God was walking in the garden looking for them. He was seeking them out; but His heart was broken when He realized what they had done.
“When the cool evening breezes were blowing, the man and his wife heard the LORD God walking about in the garden. So, they hid from the LORD God among the trees. Then the LORD God called to the man, “Where are you?” Genesis 3:8-9 NLT
Until Jesus redeemed us and reconciled us to Him, we were separated from that most beautiful relationship.
As a toddler, I learned that eating food made me feel better when I was sad or lonely. Despite being the youngest of eight children, I felt very isolated in our strict home. To comfort myself, I often stole crackers or slices of bread from our pantry. When I was 8 years old, I broke my arm. I used the sling I had to wear with my cast as a hiding place for the bread I took out of the cupboard. Thankfully, at the same time, my faith in God was beginning to grow and I began to look to Him for comfort. I still struggle with wanting food when I’m emotional, but my relationship with Jesus today fulfills me and gives me peace and contentment. Food will never fill that space in my heart that only God can fill.
What do you struggle with? Is it hunger for acceptance or achievement? I can relate to that, too. I believe that one reason I drove myself academically as a child was to receive positive attention from my parents, especially my mother. That desire for acceptance and acknowledgment followed me into adulthood. It took my growing relationship with Jesus to finally realize that, although it is good to work toward excellence for the glory of God, it is not healthy to drive myself for my own gain and accolades.
As you study the Word of God, it becomes clear that seeking anything in the world without first seeking God is a fool’s errand. In the end, desiring worldly possessions, money, comfort, and status will leave you empty and dissatisfied. As the apostle Paul wrote in his letter to the Philippians:
“…for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.” Philippians 4:11-13 NIV
How can you find this contentment and fulfillment? Make it a priority to spend time each day reading God’s word, even if you only have a few minutes. The natural outpouring of your time with God will be joy, peace and contentment as your desire changes from fulfilling your own needs to wanting to be obedient and share Jesus through your love, actions and activities.
If you find it difficult to commit time each day and keep focused while reading the Bible, here are some modern resources for enhancing your quiet time each day:
YouVersion Bible App: a comprehensive app that provides dozens of translations of the Bible along with hundreds of reading plans that guide you through the Bible or devotionals on topics such as marriage, work, youth, leadership, prayer and many others.
Abide: this app provides guided biblical meditations and prayers. The company also has a YouTube channel with many videos that you can watch or listen to that will help you enter into quiet moments with God.
Pray: this app is similar to Abide, but specifically features guided prayers. The prayers are usually only a couple of minutes long.
In summary, taking the time to feed your hunger for God is what will bring you the most contentment, joy and peace. If you are constantly pushing yourself for more, driving yourself to succeed, yet are struggling to slow down and be at peace, ask yourself this question, “What am I hungry for?” You will find the answer to that question in the presence of God.
Paula Aiton is a member of the Koinonia Church worship team and a freelance writer, musician and artist. Her blog, ‘God’s Glory Girl’, can be found at godsglorygirl.com