To Be Hungry or Not To Be, That Is the Question.
Via – Tyler G. Johnson
Over the years I have noticed two distinct groups emerging in the Body. I have been a part of both camps. Below I quickly summarise each according to my experience.
The first is what I like to call “the hungry”. These are the people who live a very passionate, and sometimes a seemingly desperate relationship with the Lord. They talk about how much they want God, are hungry for more of Him, and pray for those things a lot. Sometimes or almost always they don’t get what they what they are desperate for, thus when you can get them to be honest about it, you will find them consistently not content inside. But instead of getting outwardly depressed, they will usually put their energy into hoping that the next prayer session will meet the need and feed the hunger growing within. They try over and over again, and there is a lot of repetition in this group’s repertoire. If they don’t get the “encounter” they are praying for, they just reason that they need to fast or worship or study the Bible more. Do, Do, Do. Lots of burn out.
The second group I will call, “The satisfied.” These guys have been through the first group’s mentality and gave it their best shot but finally either 1) hit a wall and couldn’t keep “pressing in” or 2) got the revelation of the Cross.
*Pause* When I say the “revelation of the Cross” I am referring to the Finished works of the Cross. I am referring to the fact that all of Christ was already given to you, that you are caught in complete union with Him no matter how you feel, and that He has already fed you with the richest of fare. The only person that hinders this reality from being experienced is OURSELVES. If we do not believe upon this basic principle of the Gospel we act like begging street children rather than princes and princesses living in the Castle of the Kingdom. The “satisfied” look back at the cross for what God HAS DONE rather than asking God to do more. They believe that Christ’s death and resurrection are enough, and they live to experience the bliss of being raised with Him.*Unpause*
The logical outworking of the finished works of the Cross is that you are no longer lacking contentment. A person realizes that God Himself is already bed down in their whole being, making His home there. Thus, “The Satisfied” are just that; satisfied. They don’t need a man at the front to lead them to fresh water, as they have found the fountain within. They don’t act hungry. They don’t weep and gnash their teeth while fasting (if they fast at all), and they don’t stand up and sit down and stand up and sit down in worship services. They get exhausted by services that are based on the traditions of men. They don’t mean to be disrespectful in those traditional settings, but many times come across like that because they just don’t understand how people can go about life in that way. They stand there gaping at how people can go on pursuing fruitless, repetitive endeavors like worship services that make you get more tired than energized, healing services where nobody gets healed, and evangelistic meetings where nobody gets saved. They wonder how people can do it day after day and week after week without finally blowing their heads off with Grandpa’s shotgun.
So, they are satisfied. That is good. And bad. I have watched a lot of people get this revelation of the finished works, then not understand why their prayer life dropped off the map. It dropped off the map because the basis to why they prayed in the first place was not to BE with God, but to pray for being with God. Big difference. Instead of abiding, they were chasing something they already had. So when things get an overhaul, they have no idea how to pray or worship. Many times they just stop praying and worshiping altogether. They don’t stop loving God, but they just back off from God stuff (prayer, church, etc). That isn’t bad, but many times they stop putting themselves intentionally before the Lord to be filled. They are already filled, remember? The upside to being satisfied is that you are content. But the downside to being satisfied is that you are content.
The “Hungry” do intentionality well. I have noticed that as I stepped away from this way of life, my alone times with Jesus lessened. I could say that is because I now “pray continually” and that I am with Jesus all the time now, which is true, but I honestly love setting aside time just to love on Him and Him love on me. I miss that, and I am still finding my way back to that.
The “Satisfied” don’t do intentionality well. I hope that is fair to say that. The reason they don’t is because they don’t have to be intentional. They already have everything they need or want, at least in theory. They don’t, or at least shouldn’t, struggle with depression like the “hungry” do. I was healed of depression when I began to understand what was already mine instead of chasing another encounter that simply wasn’t taking place. At the same time, I’ve witnessed it more than once that those that are “satisfied” sometimes stop pursuing God altogether because they understand that He is pursuing them.
The “hungry” almost completely negate what Christ ALREADY did and are continually asking God to do more. Largely omitting what the Cross has accomplished in our life is not wisdom. This inevitably leads to both letdown and joy. Joy because if you put yourself before God over and over, He will fill you over and over again and letdown because the “hungry” may never get their deepest hunger met, being that happened 2000 years ago. As long as they keep asking for God to meet that hunger, they will stay hungry.
Once, in hopes of having a specific encounter with God, I did a 40 day arm-twisting, I mean fast, with water only. Needless to say, it didn’t work. I took it so far that there are whole days I don’t remember, akin to a strung-out drug addict. At one point I blacked out in the hospital because my body had literally nothing to work with and just gave out. I got yelled at by the nurse who brought me back to consciousness when I didn’t want to drink the apple juice she was trying to give me. And that was only halfway through the fast. And when it was over, the word “letdown” probably doesn’t do justice to how I felt. Raising kids in the “hungry” paradigm is a great way to show them that God will NOT come through for them. Rather, lets train our kids to understand what is already theirs and what God has already accomplished. Kids, no need to twist God’s arm. He is more for you than that.
My point here is not to say one of these groups is better than the other. I honestly don’t think either is better. My purpose in writing about these two groups is to highlight what they are both doing that is right, take those aspects, and make a third group that I want to try to land in; the best of both worlds.
I want the passion that the “hungry” have. I want the stability that the “satisfied” have. I want the intentionality that the “hungry” have. I want the contentment that the “satisfied” have that is rooted in their understanding of what God did on the Cross. I want the discontentment of the “hungry”, as only an idiot would assume they know all they can know about a limitless Being such as God, and only an moron would assume that they have experienced all that He has for them.
So, where does all of that leave us? It leaves us satisfied and hungry. The solution is to eat, be satisfied, and eat again.