Blessed are those who hunger and thirst
for they will be filled.
Change Your (Spiritual) Diet, Change Your Life!
Written by Dean Marini
I recently heard a famous comedian performing a monologue wherein he spoke of the time his mother warned against spoiling his appetite as a child. He joked that now as an adult, he better understood that even a spoiled appetite was only temporary. We, too, can find humor in what our parents used to warn us about. Like that of the comedian, most of their warnings were temporary solutions for temporary problems. But that got me thinking. There is one area in our lives that, if we are not careful, will become permanent. Our spiritual lives.
One of the truest statements hidden within the comedian’s joke was that, yes, another appetite — another situation or temptation — will always come along. When we examine our habits closely, we will even find that some of the same scenarios, actions and attitudes end up play out over and over again. I have recently spent some time studying the Book of Genesis. One of the stories therein opened my eyes to the fact that our “appetites,” our deepest desires, ultimately determine our actions. Moreover, if we allow those desires to control us they can (and will!) lead to unwanted — and even dire — consequences.
In Genesis chapter 25 we read a story of two brothers Esau and Jacob. Esau, the older of the twins, had many birthrights coming to him as the eldest son. His brother Jacob, however, even though he was only minutes younger, would not receive any blessing upon his father’s death. In its totality, the inheritance would one day be bequeathed to Esau alone. One day, Esau returned from a day of hunting and was terribly hungry. Jacob had made a delicious stew and, when his older brother asked for some, rather than simply giving him a bowl, Jacob offered to trade the stew for Esau’s birthright. Because of his great appetite, Esau accepted the trade.
Esau’s temporary hunger clouded his better judgment … enough to trade an inheritance of a lifetime! A fleeting moment’s desire overwhelmed all common sense … and it cost him dearly. We see this same situation play out in the book of Esther. Temporary anger led to the banishment of a Queen, a permanent and life-changing decision. John the Baptist was beheaded by a King because of the King’s momentary lust for a woman. We could give biblical example after biblical example warning us to not make lifetime decisions based on momentary desires of the flesh.
Our appetites control our actions! We see this often in cases of addiction and dependence. The world today struggles with a disturbing appetite of wanting more. Everywhere in our culture, we are taught that making more money, having more power, gaining greater social status, having a larger following or number of romantic conquests will ultimately bring us more happiness. Sadly, however, statistics show that the opposite is true. Oftentimes more “stuff” leads to less satisfaction.
The Church today is not immune. We find many of our Christian friends and family struggling with issues related to habitual sin and temptation. Many of us have become the victims of what I call the “God works for me” theology. Too many act as if God is supposed to fulfill their desires rather than the other way around; rather than us surrendering our everything to Him. Thankfully, there is a way to escape this vicious cycle.
Matthew 5:6 tells us that “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.” When we desire God’s righteousness and maintain a thirst for His will, we will be truly satisfied. Do you remember what Jesus promised the woman at the well? In John 4:13-14, our Lord promised that whoever should drinks of His “living water” would never thirst again. Yes, our appetites can become totally satisfied (and rightly ordered), but we must first change our diet — replacing a worldly diet for a spiritual one.
Remember friends, the enemy who prowls around seeking souls to devour will do all he can to use our worldly appetites and dispositions to convince us that we do not need God. Resist the lie that we can do it all in our own strength; that we can ourselves fight off temptation, depression, anxiety, etc. We need God, and we need to stay firmly rooted in His truth.
One more thing, Jesus made us a tremendous promise in Matthew 6:31-33: Therefore do not worry, saying, “What shall we eat?” or “What shall we drink?” or “What shall we wear?” For the Gentiles strive after all these things, and your Heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added unto you.” What a promise! As you read and meditate on these Scripture verses today, ask God to rewire your disordered appetites. Pray for Him to give you a genuine hunger to better your spiritual life and to rely only on Him for assistance. And remember, if you will change your diet, you will change your life!
Written by Dean Marini