What to do when you’re not hungry for God
Warning: don’t read this if you have it all together.
I’m a California native and was never raised in a church culture. I grew up knowing nothing about church. Didn’t know what times people would normally attend their weekly service, had no idea how to navigate a bible, and probably couldn’t tell you what a worship song sounded like if you paid me to.
So, when I became a Christian, I was not converted because of cool lights and church culture. I was truly hungry for someone to save me from the life I was living, which honestly felt like a living Hell. I was hungry for change. I was hungry for this God I kept hearing mentions of through a middle school friend of mine.
Now, if you’re not used to this whole “hunger” talk within regards to God, what I’m saying can surely sound as if I believe in some mystical nonsense. But, when I talk about hunger I am simply talking about having a desire to know God that is bigger than every other desire in one’s life. That’s hunger.
This hunger drove me to visit (despite how uncomfortable it is to venture into new places alone) the tiny little church down the street from me when my life was in shambles. This hunger made me keep coming back to that church and eventually buy my own bible as a teenager. Who knew I’d ever want to read one of those? Most of all, this hunger was now driving me to live a life full of excitement and passion for this God I couldn’t even see. I was truly alive for the first time.
A newcomer to the faith, this inner drive in me was causing me to search for God on a daily basis and when I did, I immediately felt the benefits of being hungry for God. Just like God says in His word that He will fill those who hunger and thirst for Him (Matthew 5:6), he was filling me. He was filling me with hope to get out of my hellish lifestyle, new/better vision of who I was as his child, faith to see my dad come off drugs, bigger-than-ever dreams, directions to get past my addictions, a game-plan for my everyday activities and most important to me — peace that I couldn’t understand in the midst of my darkest time.
My family and I had everything that pertained to the American dream: cars, money, private schools, and vacations. But, we had never known peace.
Life moved forward and the power of God in my life truly started to change things through this hunger. I started singing for God, leading bible studies… you know, and doing what I felt was my active duty as a Christian.
But somewhere along my journey and as life got too busy this hunger that I had once had for God was no longer hunger, but a sense of entitlement. Yes, entitlement.
It pains me to say that after a few years my hunger died, but it did and I (at the time) had absolutely no idea how my heart had changed so drastically. All I knew is that God absolutely detests those whose passion is “lukewarm” for Him. He’d rather have us be cold or hot within regards to our desire fueling inside of us for Him, than have a mediocre passion inside us for Him that produces nothing.
He says it Himself in reference to what will happen to lukewarm believers in His eyes. He says — “So, because you are lukewarm--neither hot nor cold--I am about to spit you out of my mouth.” - Revelation 3:16
I don’t know about you, but I don’t want the God I love to spit me out.
Spitting is harsh.
Spitting is imagery of separation.
Spitting is a picture of disgust.
I want to avoid God’s spit at all costs.
So, what does one do when they are not hungry for God?
Fast forward to when I was running a rather long loop last week. I was thinking about what it takes to be hungry for God and then it hit me -- Hunger for God is not something you just stumble into. It is something you choose to have.
For example, in our natural, everyday lives we know what we need to eat properly to quench our appetite in the correct way. Our bodies don’t just crave random foods; they crave foods that they want certain nutrients from. What a work of art!
If we’re hungry for a nice meal at lunch time, it’s because our body needs particular nutrients from that meal. Therefore, it probably isn’t best to fill up on a cup of coffee beforehand, right?
Why not Martay? Well, first off – you’re totally denying your body what it really needs! Secondly, coffee is an appetite suppressant. This means that when you drink a cup of coffee instead of giving your body what it is asking you for, you are not only depriving your body of what it needs, but you are numbing your needed hunger pains. Overtime, if you do this on a regular basis your body will most likely begin to shut down and things in your life will begin to look “not-so-pretty”.
The same thing is true when it comes to our spiritual walk and appetite for God. The Holy Spirit is faithful to lead us into seeking out God properly so that we can be successful, but oftentimes we replace His leadings with other things that can’t help or fill us like God can. I call these things “appetite suppressants”.
For example, before the evening hits sometimes I totally have a knowing on the inside of me that I want to read my bible, but I have often been led astray by fun conversations and movie-watching binges. Are movies and conversations with friends bad? Absolutely not!
But when they replace time with God and the leadings by Mr. Holy Spirit, they are appetite suppressants. Whatever is stealing time from your needed devotion to God and causing you to see Him as just another casual friend – open your eyes to see it as it really is. It is an appetite suppressant.
Why should we care about appetite suppressants? Well, they not only kill your hunger for God, but steal from you the peace, direction and power you need to be flowing in as an active believer. We just can’t operate without knowing Him intimately. It’s not God’s intended design. Trust me.
I’ve decided that it’s not as hard as we make it seem to get hungry for God. If you’ve never been hungry for God, all you need to know is that hunger is a game changer: it will absolutely give you an empowerment to prosper that many will never gain access to.
So, what to do if you’re not hungry at the moment:
(1) Admit it
This is probably the hardest part of this process, but admitting you’re not hungry for God is the first step in changing your heart and your life. Can’t fix something that’s not broken right? You have to admit you’re broken in order to go about fixing your situation.
(2) Stop drinking the coffee
Find out what is holding you back and what appetite suppressants you are consuming instead of the raw, beautiful presence of God you need. Maybe for you it’s a TV show addiction or a boyfriend that’s taking up too much of your time on the phone every night. Figure it out, point it out, and ask God for strength to stop using it as a replacement for Him. Notice I didn't say you had to quit watching your show or having a boyfriend or whatever your issue is… you just have to create healthy boundaries with those things.
(3) Start running like a wild man/woman after your true nourishment
When you understand how serious God’s unhappiness is with lukewarm believers and how you’re missing out on the benefits that come with living a hungry life, you won’t want to keep eating bad nourishment. Find out through prayer and that inner knowing within you (the Holy Spirit) what you need to be doing to nourish your spirit-man the correct way. Don’t place a burden on yourself to “never watch TV again” or “camp out in the forest with no electricity for a month.” I kid, but some of us can go to the extreme. I know firsthand.
Instead, I encourage you not to look too hard; usually what we need to do to pursue a healthy relationship with God is right in front of us and pretty evident. Choose to be hungry for God and have fun while pursuing Him. Nobody wants a bored lover. God wants to have fun with you!
At the end of the day, remember that hunger for God is a choice. If you choose to be hungry for Him, your life will shine brighter than you ever knew it could and you’ll never want to live another way. Let me know if this TayTalk helped you and what you’re doing to stay or get hungry for God. I’m growing and learning just like you are and would love to know.
Until next time,
I love you!