Sunday, August 20, 2017

Are You Spiritually Malnourished?

by Nicky Smith

Jesus said in his sermon on the mount:
Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled. (Matthew 5:6)
While righteousness means living by and obeying the will of God (as opposed to our own desires), we ought to hunger for the will of God. When we hunger and thirst to do exactly what God wants us to do, we will be filled with the Spirit, which provides more truth and more understanding of God's will for us. 

Do you hunger and thirst to know what God's will is for you? 

God's will for you (generally speaking) is to become pure and sanctified. In order to do that He will reveal very specific, individualized commandments for you to obey as well as sacrifices He requires you to make. He will reveal sins you are to repent of and attributes you are to develop. As we do his will, we walk the path that is strait and narrow back into His presence. 

However, most people are apathetic in knowing God's will for them. They live out their lives just getting by, doing what they believe they should be doing, sometimes trying to overcome sin, but not making much progress. They have no idea how spiritually starving and malnourished they really are. Perhaps because they have never really feasted?

Just as we drink and eat daily, we ought to seek for revelations from God daily, so that we understand His will for us. Without hungering and thirsting for truth, revelations come infrequently. Without daily revelation from God, our progression is slow, which may mean missing out on the blessings we seek. 

Although I've always wanted to understand God's will for me, I did not hunger and thirst after it. I'd often pray and ask Him what He wanted me to improve on and I would eventually get an answer and I would work on it. But, I did not hunger for it like I should have. I was pretty content to receive the occasional answer. However, as I realized my true state before the Lord and desired more than ever to be in His presence, I realized my progression was too slow. I realized my connection with God was not as it should be. I began seeking His will for me more and more. I then noticed that the more I received His will, the more I desired it. Over time I began to hunger for it. I wanted to know His will for me more than anything else. When I didn't know what His will was in a specific situation, it was often all I could think about. I prayed constantly. 

A few months ago as I was fasting I reflected on how we ought to desire God's will for us just as I desired food during that fast. But, few do. Recently my fasting has taken on new meaning and I love to fast. Each time I feel a hunger pang, I immediately reflect on how I want God's will for me as much as I want food. As a result of this, fasting has become a joyful time. I feel closer to God and my prayers are more intense. Consider fasting to know God's will for you. Every time you feel the rumble in your stomach, beg God for truth and understanding of His will. 

Paul berated the Hebrews on their lack of spiritual progress. They were simply obeying the performances and ordinances of the gospel, while not having higher experiences with the Lord. They were not eating the bread of life and drinking living water. They were not obtaining and obeying the will of God. Could this apply to you? 
12 For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat.
13 For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe.
14 But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil. (Hebrews 5)
Paul compared drinking milk with eating meat. He explained that milk is equivalent to the first principles of the gospel and is given to those who are "unskilful in the word of righteousness" or those who are unfamiliar with receiving the word of God for themselves through revelation. People like this need someone else to teach them, just as a baby is given milk by an adult. Initially as we start our journey towards becoming more like Jesus, we need to receive truth and understanding through another. There is nothing wrong with this. While the first principles of the gospel (milk) are important and essential, knowing and understanding God's will for you daily (meat) is essential too. We have to progress from receiving truth through another to eating the real meat of the gospel, where we are connected to God and can obtain his will from Him directly.

Often though we become complacent. We don't seek truth as we should. We don't plead with God continually to know His will for us. Examining how often you pray to know God's will for you will give you an indication of whether you are hungering after righteousness.

Sometimes we trust in the arm of flesh and we rely on obtaining much of the word of God through another. Although we should never reject truth from others, our source of truth should ultimately be God. Trusting other people as our only source of truth makes it likely that we will be led astray at some point, since no one only speaks truth, even if some possess more truth than most. 
5 Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.
6 In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. (Proverbs 3)
Kneel down today and beg God for his will. Desire it like you desire food and water when you are starving. Be open to whatever He tells you. Obey immediately and continue asking for more of His will to be revealed. Just as you eat and drink daily, make this kind of connection with God a part of your daily living. 

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