3 Ways to Grow Spiritual Hunger: Eat. Pray. Love.
Yesterday I posted three keys to spiritual hunger. Today I wanted to offer a few practical ideas on how to respond and grow in your hunger.
God draws near to us as we draw near to Him. (James 4:8) God is pursuing you for an interactive relationship, not dutiful religion. It is all about relationship. All three points in this post are rooted in a relationship with Jesus.
1. Eat: Feed yourself, don’t expect other’s food to be enough for you. Learn to encourage yourself in your faith. While Christian community is necessary for encouragement, you cannot sustain true growth based on other people’s experiences in God. Just like you can’t expect to gain weight and build muscle by watching someone else eat a great diet, you can’t expect to grow in spiritual maturity by just observing other people’s experiences with God. You have to pull your chair up to the table, sit down, pick up the fork, and eat for yourself. (If you are unsure on how to spend time with God, come back tomorrow for the final part to this hunger series on how to have face time with God…)
2. Pray… whether you feel “hungry”, or not. Do I feel hungry for God all day, everyday? No. But I know my deep need for Him is real, whether I feel it or not, so I pray. My prayer goes something like this:
“God, stir in my heart a desire for you. Give me a yearning for more of You. I was created to know You, to feel You, to walk with You. I want more of You in my life. You said that those who hunger and thirst for righteousness will be filled. Thank you that as I pray you are filling me with faith and desire to know you more.”
God has been consistently faithful to answer this prayer in my life. Again and again and again, He has stirred my heart for more and filled me to overflowing. Ask and you shall receive. (Matthew 7:7) He is a generous Father who LOVES to shower His children with fullness of life.
3. Love. Knowing God is not only about us, thankfully. It is about pouring out what we have been given into the lives of others. As my pastor said last Sunday, “You cannot worship extravagantly and not love extravagantly.” Loving others extravagantly, whether that is ministering to the physical, spiritual, or emotional needs of others, is the way God created us to have more capacity to receive. (Luke 6:38) Loving others can could look like many things:
- writing a note of encouragement
- calling someone who is lonely
- making eye contact and recognizing the server at your local restaurant
- praying for someone to be healed, comforted and transformed by God’s love
- taking the time to genuinely thank your spouse for all they do for your family
- praying and walking in a 5k as an advocate for the victims of human sex trafficking
- stocking a shelf at a food pantry
- giving sacrificially to a development ministry so that children who have no hope can realize a brighter future.
We were made for greatness. Greatness begins with a hunger for something greater, for Someone Greater. Pouring out the love we have been given makes room to receive more…and if we are really stepping out in faith to love and serve others, it makes us desperate for more.
Would you mind sharing a time when you “gave love away” and were drawn closer to God as a result? I’d be so encouraged to hear more of your journey.