As the phenomenon of “praise and worship” has erupted and been integrated into our worship services over the last thirty years, a myriad of choruses have been written. Some of these choruses are heartfelt cries and beautiful melodies to the Lord, and some are just downright terrible – as in any genre of music. But throughout the years there has been a periodic theme of spiritual hunger and thirst. The sentiment in music, in poems, in Spiritual understanding, tends to go something like this:
Hungry I come to you for I know you satisfy,
I am empty but I know your love does not run dry.
So I wait for you…
Jesus taught us in the beatitudes,
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.”
– Matt 5.6
However, and more importantly, Jesus taught us that a Spiritual hunger is one that is and can be satisfied,
Jesus then said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, it is not Moses who has given you the bread out of heaven, but it is My Father who gives you the true bread out of heaven. For the bread of God is that which comes down out of heaven, and gives life to the world.” Then they said to Him, “Lord, always give us this bread.” Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me will not hunger, and he who believes in Me will never thirst.
– John 6.32-35
Jesus proclaimed that He, Himself, was the bread of life and that anyone who comes to Him and “eats His flesh” will never be hungry again (John 6.56). The Jews were remembering the history of the Hebrew people. When Moses led the people out of slavery in Egypt, they were punished for making an idol in the form of a calf and worshiping it. The punishment was 40 years of wandering in the desert and none of the living adults during the time of the idolatry were allowed to enter into the promised land. God did, however, take care of them while they were in the wilderness and He fed them bread from Heaven every day. Manna. For forty years God sent them bread, every. single. day.
So the Jews were testing Jesus. Jesus had fed five thousand of them bread and fish, and they wanted Jesus to provide physical food for them just like God had through Moses, but Jesus proclaimed Himself to be a better bread: all satisfying, and Spiritual bread.
When we come to Jesus for salvation, we are made into a new creation. We are given a new heart. We are satisfied Spiritually. You will get to know Jesus better, but you will never have more or less of Him. You might wander, and sin, and the Holy Spirit will convict you and draw you to repentance, but Jesus promises that when you come to Him, you will never thirst Spiritually again. If you are hungry Spiritually, it is because you have not eaten of the bread of life.
Now, in the beatitudes, He does say that those who hunger for righteousness are blessed. But this is a different type of hungering. This is not a hunger for nourishment, this is a hunger for maturity and pleasing God. We could paraphrase: blessed are those who come and are made new in Jesus and then strive, with everything in them to please Him, to honor Him, to be more like Him, to die to sin. Do you long to be righteous? Do you hunger to please God?
Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me and to accomplish His work.”
– John 4.34
Does it fulfill you and satisfy you to do the will of God? Jesus set the example of obedience and commitment to God’s will as His food. He hungered and thirsted for righteousness, even though He is righteousness. He was satisfied and sustained by following the plan and will of God the Father. But Jesus was not Spiritually hungry. Do you see the difference?
When we are in Jesus, we will not be Spiritually hungry. We ought not be able to sing songs that say, “hungry I come to you for I know you satisfy”. We should abide in Christ. We do not come to Jesus to get filled up and go out and about life on our own, depleting our nourishment. We remain in Him, and He satisfied us always. If you are not Spiritually satisfied, then you are not in Jesus.
“Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in Me, he is thrown away as a branch and dries up; and they gather them, and cast them into the fire and they are burned.”
– John 15.4-6
Branches continually derive nourishment from the vine. Branches do not tap in to get a drink and then break off from the vine. We are not cars that need to be gassed up every 400 miles, we are dependent and must remained attached to the source of life.
If you live your life on a “come in and get recharged” basis, reconsider your faith. Ask Jesus to abide in you and to allow you to abide in Him. Come to Him and be made new, be grafted in to the vine, and you will never hunger or thirst again, for nourishment. But do hunger for righteousness! Once you have been grafted in, strive to produce the fruit, strive to follow His example, hunger to please Him.