Starvation can be defined as suffering severely from hunger. In today’s crazy world, it seems that many of us are starving ourselves spiritually.
I will be fully satisfied as with the richest of foods; with singing lips my mouth will praise you. – Psalm 63:5 NIV
We recognize physical hunger by physical symptoms such as a growling stomach or headache, and emotional signs such as anger and irritability. We can recognize spiritual hunger in the same way.
I was talking with a friend the other day at small group. We were discussing how our week was going and sharing our prayer requests. She began telling me that she needed prayer for discipline; she hadn’t been spending time with God on the regular basis and noticed her temper growing short with those around her. Angry responses would be triggered by something as simple as a co-worker saying, “good morning” too loudly. As she told me this I thought about myself and how I feel and act when I don’t spend time with God regularly.
Signs of spiritual hunger can vary from person to person, but may include:
- An increase in negative thinking/worrying
- Lack of compassion
- Feelings of loneliness
- Lack of peace or joy
- Weakened desire to die to self
Just as we need to eat food daily to sustain our bodies we need to spend time with God daily to flourish spiritually. It’s not enough to live off of someone else knowledge of or experiences with God. That’s like trying to enjoy a meal based on someone else’s description of its taste.
When we spend time in God’s word we’re feeding our spirit.
The Word encourages us with God’s promises, gives us strength to endure trials and overcome temptation, and provides guidance for our decisions. It’s the only thing that can truly satisfy every desire and need we have.
“But he [Jesus] answered, “It is written, “‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.” – Matthew 4:4 NIV
The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, goodness, kindness, faithfulness, gentleness, patience, and self-control. Apart from God it’s impossible to manifest these things. We’re too empty and too weak.
Therefore we must take the time to recognize symptoms of spiritual hunger in ourselves so we make it a priority to re-fuel as often as necessary. Hunger left unsatisfied leads to starvation.
I’m not sure where you are today in regard to being spiritually satisfied, but I want to encourage you. Maybe you’re like me, well-intentioned and deeply desiring to spend time with God daily, but some days get away from you.
Whether it’s been a few hours, days, or weeks since you’ve spent time with God, know that He’s not far away. We need only to draw near to Him and He promises to draw near to us in return (James 4:8). His arms are always open to us. He is compassionate, forgiving, and loving.
Don’t go through your days settling for less than God promises to give – starving yourself spiritually when He’s provided a feast of Grace and Truth for us in Jesus Christ.
Lord, thank you for your faithfulness. Thank you for pursuing me even when I let other things take priority over spending time with you. God, I ask that you show me how to spend quality time with you and how to prioritize it. Help me recognize when I’m “starving” myself spiritually and need more of you, and give me the discipline to follow through. Increase my desire for you.