Tuesday, November 15, 2016

The Spirit of Grace: What about spiritual hunger

14 The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all. Amen. 2 Corinthians 13:14 NKJV

 We've begun a brief study on the Holy Spirit. The main objective of this study is for us to grow into a deeper understanding of our relationship with God's Spirit. When one speaks of the Spirit of God the question of spiritual hunger certainly will arise.

 For those who've gained a greater understanding of the New Covenant, sometimes the topic of spiritual hunger can be controversial. To elaborate further, sometimes the idea of hunger connotes the image of one in desperate pursuit of what they already possess in Christ. Because of this concept, some reject altogether the idea of being hungry for the Lord. 

 Is the rejection of hunger or more rightly stated as desire, the right response? When truth is presented we have three options. We can reject it. We can be foolish and take truth to the extreme and create an error. Or we can simply receive the truth. 

 When it comes to spiritual hunger I quite often see two extremes. I see some reject the truth of the New Covenant. I see them striving and performing in order to become what God already made them under Grace. I also see some who want to so distance themselves from a performance based faith they seemingly have no desire for the things of God.

 Under Grace, those of us who've received the Lord Jesus have been accepted in the Beloved. We've been made the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus. We were made a brand new creation in Him. We have a clean heart. Yet, I still see some believers striving and hungering to be made acceptable. This is misdirected spiritual hunger.

 In Christ, we know the Spirit of God dwells within us. He has said He will never leave or forsake us. The Lord is not far from us because He abides within us. Under Grace, there is no distinction between secular and sacred if you will. Why? Because we abide in Him and He in us and we are always in His abiding presence. 

 That said, because of His ever abiding presence, He is with us if we are watching the ball game or if we are in a quiet devotion. The extreme comes about because some then say to themselves He is with me always so I don't need devotional time with the Lord. This thinking is wrong because Grace is about a relationship. It is not a healthy robust relationship if one party never communicates or spends quality time with the other.

  As I have stated, there is no difference in secular and sacred. If one is awakened to the abiding presence of God within, folding laundry and cleaning bathrooms can be just as fruitful as spending ten minutes alone in prayer. What then is the answer to the question of spiritual hunger?

 I sensed the Lord impress this truth upon my heart. When we hunger or desire for what He desires, then we are in true spiritual hunger. How do we know what He desires? We discover His heart when spending time in His great love letter He gave us, the Word of God. 

 Desiring to be more holy, or righteous means one hasn't rightly divided the Word and can't see He has made us righteous and holy once for all time in the Finished Work. Again, this is misplaced hunger. On the other hand, possessing no desire to read the Word or pray simply means His love and goodness hasn't yet been made real to you. Some would feel pointing fingers and issuing demands would stir the desire to spend time in devotion. Not so, allow the Grace, the goodness and love and mercy of our Father cascade over your heart and mind. When His love is more real to you than your next breath you can't help but desire to fellowship and commune with our Father.

 Are you still convinced spiritual hunger or desire is about works or performance? Look at what Paul, the Apostle of Grace states about his heart's desire

10 [For my determined purpose is] that I may know Him [that I may progressively become more deeply and intimately acquainted with Him, perceiving and recognizing and understanding the wonders of His Person more strongly and more clearly], and that I may in that same way come to know the power outflowing from His resurrection which it exerts over believers], and that I may so share His sufferings as to be continually transformed [in spirit into His likeness even] to His death, [in the hope] Philippians 3:10 AMPC
 Paul knew the New Covenant. Yet, his heart's strong desire was to have intimate fellowship with God. It does sound strange but the more full we are the more hungry we become. If we are hungry to be complete, then hunger is misdirected. If we are hungry for intimacy because we understand we've already been made acceptable then we are on the right track.
 Think of this. Why did God send His Son to pay the price for our sins? Why did God give us this free gift of the abundance of Grace and righteousness? So that we would go on living our lives apart from Him? Of course not, it was so the Father could frolic and fellowship with His most beloved creation. 
 We who were once lost and spiritually dead, separated by sin and condemnation, now can freely fellowship with our good Father. He rejoices over us with joy. He isn't counting our sins and shortcomings against us. We can cherish our time with Him because He isn't mad or disappointed with us. We get to dance and rejoice with our glad Father. Spending time reflecting on His love, His mercy, His protection and deliverance is not drudgery, it's delightful and refreshing. Desire rightly directed produces a more fruitful and rewarding relationship with our Father.
Image courtesy of dan at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

1 comment:

Chris Esparza said...

Great read! much truth here.