Gabriella, age nine, never wants breakfast. Every morning it’s a struggle to get her to sit down and fuel up. Until I start eating.
She sees my bowl full of cereal, or hears an omelet sizzling in the skillet, smells her brother’s breakfast and her own hunger is amplified to the point that it can no longer go unnoticed and unsatisfied.
Before we become Christians, we don’t desire God’s will with our heart – the seat of spiritual hunger. We can’t even discern what His will is. Our soul’s stomach wants what is opposed to God, even the good we do is motivated by selfishness: the applause and recognition of men, acceptance by some religious system or obedience to some government law, quid pro quo. None of us are born craving obedience to God and able to obey God with unselfish motives, to obey simply because what we desire most is obedience to God.
But Christians are given a new heart, a new spiritual appetite sometimes called the “new nature.” It was promised to us by the prophet Ezekiel.
EZEKIEL 36:25-27 I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your impurities and from all your idols. 26 I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. 27 And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws.
The Spirit lives in us and moves us to obey God’s laws now written on our heart. We are now able to discern the will of God, want the will of God, and accomplish the will of God.
We fail, of course. We aim for perfection and miss. In my own life I see this happen again and again and I hate it. That hatred is evidence enough that my deepest desire is to think, believe and behave like Christ. Not my only desire, but my deepest.
That desire needs stirring. It needs to be fanned into ravenous hunger that can’t be ignored, one that causes me to pull over, change course and satisfy it.
When I’m speaking to a group of Christians I often forget this. I begin to believe it’s my skill that will move the crowd to obey God, to love Him and their neighbor.
I was reminded this morning, as I ate my cereal in front of Gabriella, that my job as a speaker on Christ’s behalf is to tell the truth, love the truth, model obedience to the truth, to eat in front of the crowd. This arouses their God-given appetite for Him. It spurs them on to love and good deeds.
I’m headed to Lifest later today and will speak a couple times there tomorrow on behalf of Compassion International. I’m hoping I get to catch lots of good music and teaching too. Pray we all get hungry and then satisfied.