Mike Cope, in his book Holy Hunger, describes two barriers that Christians face in satisfying their holy hunger for God and results in their spiritual death:
Not understanding what it is we need. People without Christ obviously need to know that their longing and hunger spiritually can only be satisfied by a realistic relationship with God through faith in Christ.
Christians, however, usually confuse knowledge about God with knowing God. Christians many times try to satisfy their hungry souls with facts, doctrines, lists, stories about God thinking that this will satisfy them. But our hunger is not merely intellectual hunger satisfied with information about God. Our hunger is a hunger put into us by God, a hunger that longs for God Himself, not just stories about Him.
A second barrier that stops us in fulfilling our hunger for God:
2. False Satisfaction
We fill ourselves up with the junk food that this world has to offer and never have a chance to feel the hunger that could lead us to the fabulous feast God has prepared for us in an intimate relationship with Him. In the same way that deprivation somehow tricks the bodies of the starving individuals to reject the food they need to survive, our exclusive diet of worldly pursuits and ideas tricks our spirit into thinking it does not need spiritual food and ultimately it comes to reject this nourishment when it is finally offered in the form of Bible reading, worship, prayer, etc.
What to do to get my appetite back (the Holy Hunger, hunger for God)
The goal in life is not to live for this world only nor is it to just read about God and be able to list His qualities, etc. The goal is to know God Himself, and to get to know Him better, only in this way will our spiritual hunger be truly satisfied.
Taste and see that the Lord is good.
- Psalm 34:8
In his classic book on the subject of knowing God, J.I. Packard said, "…we must seek, in studying God, to be led to God." In other words, our studying is an avenue that eventually leads us to Him in person!
How do we get to know God? Through faith in Jesus expressed in love, through prayer, meditation, though acting on faith when unsure, by doing what is right even when it costs us, by obeying, we slowly come to know Him. Rather than just filling our minds with facts about Him, He invites us (through these ways that I mentioned) to fill our hearts with Himself.
The story is told of a doorman at a Broadway theatre who had been there 19 years. He was asked if he had enjoyed the shows that had come through. He answered that he had not really been interested so he had never gone in to see any of the shows, and had always remained outside while they played.
How long have some of us been just outside the door that God has tried to open for us? Learning about God but never letting Him into our hearts. Snacking on the cheap candy of this world, instead of the satisfying fullness of His presence in our lives, which, in effect, is a taste of heaven to come.
I pray that we will open our lives to God in prayer, fasting, obedience and service and that our hearts will one day be able to say as the psalmist says,
Whom have I in heaven but You?
And besides You,
I desire nothing on earth.
- Psalm 73:25
- Describe a time that you felt far away from God and why. How did you draw closer again?
- In your opinion, what is the difference between knowing about God, and knowing God?
- How well would you say that the church knows God? If you could, what would you do to improve its knowledge?
- Have each individual in the group write a 10 word sentence beginning with the words, "God is…" Share your sentence and explain why you feel that God is _______.
- What false satisfaction has hindered you the most in the effort to satisfy your hunger for God? Why this thing?