Developing an Appetite
for the Kingdom of God
A while back I went to Safeway to pick up some groceries. I had been working on losing weight for a little over a year and had recently lost a considerable amount. While I was walking through the aisles, it dawned on me that my appetites for certain foods have changed. I had the desire to lose weight for a long time, but continually struggled with my appetites. We carry our appetites with us all the time, and these appetites make us what we are. So now that my appetites were beginning to change, my desires for better health, higher endurance, and clearer focus in life had become not only a desire but a part of my basic nature.
In the book of Romans 14:17, Paul tells us that the kingdom of God is neither sustained nor obtained by meat or drink; but righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Ghost.
To sustain physical wellbeing for your body, you must have the proper nutrients for optimal health. The same is true in the Spirit. To obtain optimal spiritual health, you must develop an appetite of the Spirit to fully receive the proper nutrients of the Kingdom.
So should we all learn to speak in fifteenth century English and walk around with giant bibles under our arms? Should we all get together once or twice a week and enter into a great corporate worship of our King of kings? After all, the bible does tell us not to forsake the assembling of ourselves together.
If you enjoy the fifteenth century way of speaking, who am I to complain? If you need a large bible, go for it. I have a few my self. We must never forsake the fellowship of the body of Christ at any cost. However, it’s easy to worship God in the presence of angels, but to continue that same worship in the valley of the shadow of death is another story. The very meaning of worship is to show worth-ship or value. In this case, to worship God, is to find our most priceless treasure in Him.
King David expressed his feeling of worship this way.
1. As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God.
2. My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God: when shall I come and appear before God?
The Hebrew word used for soul in these verses is nephesh. It is used 475 times for soul, 117 times for life and 2 times for appetite. There are other words it is used for, but these are the ones I am interested in for now.
David said, As the hart (deer) craves for fresh water, so my soul (my life, my appetite) is craving after you, O God. Every ounce of his being was thirsting after the living God.
In Psalm 84:2-7, he said this:
2. My soul longeth, yea, even fainteth for the courts of the LORD: my heart and my flesh crieth out for the living God.
3. Yea, the sparrow hath found an house, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may lay her young, even thine altars, O LORD of hosts, my King, and my God.
4. Blessed are they that dwell in thy house: they will be still praising thee. Selah.
5. Blessed is the man whose strength is in thee; in whose heart are the ways of them.
6. Who passing through the valley of Baca make it a well; the rain also filleth the pools.
7. They go from strength to strength, every one of them in Zion appeareth before God.
His life and his appetites were longing to the point of exasperation just to be found in the presence of the Lord. His heart and flesh were again crying out for the living God. Just as the father watches over the sparrow and swallow, so are they that find their habitation in the presence of the almighty. They will be continually praising Him. Even when they pass through the valley of Baca (weeping), He will turn their tears into a well of life.
In verse seven, it says, They go from strength to strength When I looked up the word strength, I found it was used only 12 out of 243 times as strength. However, it was used 37 times as man of valor. Webster defines valor this way, strength of mind or spirit that enables a person to encounter danger with firmness.
No matter what danger, trial, or circumstance comes our way, when our appetite is for the kingdom of the Living God, we are made to be more than conquerors through Christ Jesus. This is our inheritance. Every one of them in Zion (God's fortified city) will appear in, behold, and perceive the presence of God.
Jesus said that where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. The eye is the lamp of the body. So if your eye is single (pure, whole, fulfilling the goodness of its office) the entire body will be full of light. But if your eye is not single, the whole body is full of darkness! (Matthew 6:21-23, Darby Translation)
My sights were set on loosing forty-five pounds. If this was a mere interest of mine, I might have lost a few pounds. However, without changing a few habits that probably wouldn't have lasted very long. When I changed a few habits and still kept my goal (treasure) set in front of me, my appetites also began to change.
Now for my spiritual appetite, if my heart is set toward the kingdom of God, His righteousness (not my own) will become the prime focus of my life. If my eyes are set toward the mark of the prize of His high calling, peace will engulf my very being. If my very being cries out for the living God, the very essence of my life will be filled with unspeakable joy. In every circumstance, He is there. Through every trial, He is there. Even when the clouds of life start to surround me, He is still there. He is and always will be there.
Jesus went on to say that no one can serve two masters, he will either hate one & love the other, or cling to one and despise the other. You can't serve both God and your own fallen Adamic nature. Don't be anxious over life, what you are going to eat or how you are going to clothe yourself. Is not life more than food and clothing? If our Father God can feed & nourish the birds of the air, and clothe the lilies of the field, how much more can He feed & clothe His chosen vessels? How can we add to what God can do for us? Jesus said that not even Solomon in all his glory was clothed as God has clothed His creation. But if we take the challenge of seeking the Kingdom of God first, everything that we need will be abundantly added to us as we need. It's not our responsibility to worry about what we are going to eat or wear. Our Father God is aware of what we need. Read Matthew 6:21-34.
One good minister friend of mine was relaying the story of a local pastor he was talking to. The man was struggling and toiling over making ends meet. My brother advised him to put it in God's hands. The pastor replied, Well I have to eat! His response back was, You don't have to eat unless God tells you that you have to eat. To develop such a strong appetite for the Kingdom is the most foreign thing to our flesh. However, I truly believe that the spiritual will become the natural as we allow the natural to follow the spiritual.
Yes, it has to be developed. We are all born into that old Adam, partaking of, and finding our provision in the Tree of the Knowledge of Good & Evil. But there is another tree in the garden. A tree that is full of food for every season in our lives. This Tree of Life will not only sustain us, but it will renew us, revive us, strengthen us, and lead us into all truth.
Our old Adamic knowledge of good and evil has labeled many things in our lives as good or bad. Trials, temptations, and even life itself is neither good nor bad. It's our reaction to things that come our way that make them what they are. Are we going to allow trials, tribulations, temptations or any other obstacle to dictate our lives? Or shall we allow the hands of a loving Father to lead us and craft us into His workmanship?
If our appetite is unquenchably toward the Kingdom of God, our vision will always be going in a forward motion. So when we do stumble or fall, we will stumble into the arms of a loving Father. We will fall at the feet of Jesus. Just as David was a man after Gods own heart, so should we have that same hunger. That didn't make David perfect, but his heart was pure before God.
The apostle Paul said in Galatians 6:9, And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not. Abundant life is our heritage. So let's listen to Pauls words of advice and not grow weary in our pursuit of this Kingdom that has been set before us.
So what are you hungry for?
Also read Soul Food by Hannah Whitall Smith