When I think of the phrase, “stay hungry,” I think of muscle men with arms as big as my waist throwing iron around (not “irons” like for getting wrinkles out but, “iron” as in heavy weights).
Some folks think of Steve Jobs because the phrase, “Stay hungry, stay foolish” seems to be attributed to him at least as a motto (meaning push forward and attempt things that others say can’t be done).
But I’m talking about something of much greater value:
Staying hungry for God.
Maybe you’ve lost your hunger for God. Maybe you’ve never had it. Maybe you had a voracious appetite for God and His presence and His power and His majesty, and life beat you down or you got distracted by your job or stuff or money or sex or any number of other things and that hunger kind of disappeared.
Whatever the case, getting hungry for God is the best thing you can do for yourself. Now obviously God’s Word and prayer and weekly worship and Jesus are essential for a hunger for God. But below are five principles that will amplify that hunger.
Five Thoughts on Staying Hungry for God:
1.Realize it’s your responsibility to stay hungry. Not your mommy’s or your daddy’s or your husband or wife or kids or anyone else’s! Not even your pastor’s! It’s up to you to take responsibility for yourself and keep that appetite going.
Here’s your motto if you need one (this is SO great so brace yourself): “Look for God. Look for God like a man with his head on fire looks for water.” -Elizabeth Gilbert. That’s one of my favorite quotes of all time. I have no idea about the context – but as a stand-alone quote, it’s AWESOME.
Get that picture in your mind- your head is AFLAME! You’ve got to have WATER, or your head will BURN! You’re desperate for water!
Ok. Now transfer that to your attitude regarding your need for God. Your life is AFLAME, and you are desperate for God! So chase after Him!
Declare right now, “I’m responsible for increasing my hunger for God! And so I’m going to be all about that! Whatever it takes. Like a man with his head on fire looks for water, I’m looking for God.”
2. Refuse to go BACKWARD. Go FORWARD with Christ.
Just bail on the, “woulda coulda shoulda” self-talk. We can all agree we shoulda done some things differently. But dwelling on it is going nowhere good. It’s dragging you down. Yesterday is over. Learn what you need to from it. And let it go.
Did you get that? LEARN what you need to from it. Then let…it…go. Don’t rehearse yesterday. Don’t replay yesterday. Don’t regurgitate yesterday. LEARN from it and move FORWARD. With Jesus.
This is what Paul was talking about when he said, “Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”
STRAIN to move forward with Jesus, and REFUSE to go backward anymore (and when you do glance backward, remind yourself to move forward and give it to Christ).
3. Do things you’re afraid to do even though you’re scared of what people will think. Because I’ll let you in on a little secret: they’re going to judge you know matter what!
Follow the devil?
Do what God wants you to?
JUDGED JUDGED JUDGED JUDGED.
You’re going to get judged and looked down on and talked about no matter what! Why not get judged for doing something excellent for Jesus?
Nothing kills a strong hunger for God like hearing His call and fading out because of fear of others. When that happens, you’re making others greater than God and making God less than others. The Bible calls this the fear of man – Proverbs 29:25.
Fear of man? Hunger killer.
Get judged for attempting something Jesus wants you to do.
4. Realize, if you can talk yourself into a bad mood, bad attitude, or bad mindset, you can talk yourself into a hunger for God.
We talk to ourselves all day long every day. Someone (with way too much time on his/her hands) counted all those thoughts and guesses we have between 12,000 and 60,000 a day.
- Over 90 percent of our thoughts are the same as the day before.
- 80 percent of those thoughts can be negative.
That means if you’re in the shallow end of the pool of thoughts per day like me (12,000 per day), you’re thinking over 10,000 REPETITIVE thoughts and 9,600 NEGATIVE thoughts.
John Wayne said (this is so great too), “Life is hard. It’s even harder when you’re stupid.” 9,600 negative thoughts a day repeated from the day before seems really stupid. And yes, I know even that statement is negative. But we gotta know where we are to get where we want to be.
Those thoughts have to change to increase your hunger for God.
So talk to yourself! A recent study indicates geniuses talk to themselves anyway! Say things like David said to himself in Psalm 43:5, “Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise Him, my salvation and my God!” He contradicts the bad mood with the good news of God’s Word.
Do that all day long. Every day. Tell yourself the truth of God’s Word. Preach it to yourself. You’re preaching a message – it’s up to you whether it’s negative lies or God’s truth. All. Day. Long.
Preach to yourself. All. Day. Long.
5. Get around hungry people (this is probably the most important).
If you hang around a bunch of salad eaters who judge you for every ounce of fat and every carb you eat, you’re gonna have a hard time gaining weight.
If you hang around a bunch of folks who are stuffing food in their mouth at every turn, you’ll probably do that too. When my wife was pregnant the second time, I’d look at her stomach, then look at mine and think, “I’m not so big!” and I’d eat and eat and eat. But at the end of nine months, her stomach “poof!” disappeared! And mine…didn’t. Live and learn.
To maintain your hunger for God, you’ve gotta get around hungry people. Where will you find them?
In a church.
100% of truly God-hungry people are in a church. Being hungry for God with no church is an oxymoron. It’s like “jumbo shrimp” and “pretty ugly” and “government efficiency.”
Once you get in there, get passionately involved and look for those folks who are hungry for God. The ones who just seem to have a hotline to God and live a life of faith regardless of what’s going on in their lives.
Get close to them (not in a stalkerish kind of way-bad form). Hang around them. Ask them how they stay hungry for God. Watch how they stay hungry for God. And imitate them (Paul said to do this).
A soldier is in a platoon, and a football player is on a team because they can’t win alone. And neither can you. Get around people who are hungry for God and do what they do.
There you go. Five things you can put into practice right now to increase your hunger for God.
Do you want a strong heart? Get a life. Get a life by getting hungry for your Creator. He’s here and He’s available and He searches the whole earth to strengthen those who are committed to Him.
So stay Hungry. Stay hungry for God.
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