Spiritual Hunger

Matthew 5:6 HCSB

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, because they will be filled.

My first lesson after graduating from Bible School in 1987 came through a hand typed transcript of a sermon preached by John G. Lake on December 11, 1924. I discovered it in the Prayer and Healing Center at Rhema where I was working as a volunteer.

I was so moved by the sermon that I hand typed a copy for myself. I knew the rightness of the message. I just didn’t know how to act that hungry.

My first attempt at writing a book was centered around that sermon. His message was focused on hungering after the rightness of God—salvation, healing and deliverance.

Lake gave example after example of spiritual hunger producing salvation, healing and deliverance. Then he turned to revival and recounted the desperate hunger for God those first modern Pentecostals had at Parham’s school and then again at Azusa Street.

Lake urged me and all of those who would receive his earnest message, “…begin to pray to get hungry.”

I spent years trying to get hungry, but I discovered we are already hungry. It is the most natural thing in the world to be hungry!

The real secret is learning to turn your hunger loose!

Does the woman dying of cancer need to pray to get hungry for healing or does she need to turn her hunger towards the Lord?

As long as her hope is in the doctors or in the medicine, her hunger has been turned aside from the Lord.

I am not saying to forego the physician! Who is to say how God must heal?

No. The point is to turn that hunger loose! Set the baying hounds of righteous desire to the pursuit of God!

Matthew 5:6 HCSB

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, because they will be filled.

Hunger is that urge to be filled. Our stomach growls and we go searching for food, but Jesus knew some things about hunger. He understood that every desire in the human heart is a hunger for God and His fullness and that our carnal appetites are representative of our deeper, truer spiritual appetites.

We, however, being ignorant are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind, and naked. Instead of seeking God we seek to satisfy our hungering with STUFF. We stand in front of the refrigerator with the door wide open trying to figure out what will satisfy the hunger of our soul.

We are a desperately hungry people! The very wickedness of our nation reveals this!

Why do you suppose Jesus went out of His way to visit that Samaritan woman at the well? She’d been married five times and was living in open sin!

Jesus said, “I have food to eat that you don’t know about.”

His disciples looked at one another in confusion.

“My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me and to finish His work,” Jesus told them.

That Samaritan woman was desperately hungry! She kept looking for a man to satisfy her hunger.

Why is it that the most hell-bent sinner often becomes the most glorious saint?

Jesus knew what that woman really desired. Her soul was thirsty for living water. She was parched for something that only God could give and disappointed when six men couldn’t measure up. I tell you, not a thousand men could have satisfied her true desire. Only God! Only God!

Saul on that road to Damascus was a desperately hungry man. He hungered for truth. He loved truth. He believed the sect of the Nazarene was a lie. He turned his hunger and zeal loose and waged war against the Church and against God!

But O the change!

The secret of the hell-bent sinner is that he knows to go after what he wants with his whole heart!

Saul the persecutor became Paul the persecuted—yet he sang in prison and rejoiced in trouble and trial because he had found the Truth! He latched on to Truth and nothing could make him turn it loose!

That man was like a mouth full of gristle. Rome chewed and chewed and chewed but Paul clung to Christ and the men who could not love anything more than themselves thought him mad.

Every sin is a response to hunger. We pursue the world and the things in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life. We fantasize about our lovers. We devour novels. We spend ourselves on what cannot satisfy.

From the drug dealer or pimp on the street corner to the advertising executive on Madison Avenue, every one appeals to our ravenous appetites. We seek to dull our hunger with their snake oil and pursue all the wrong things.

At the heart of every sin is a righteous desire that the Deceiver has twisted and lied to us about. He points us to the wrong things and we pursue them. We find ourselves driven and tossed by the winds of our desires and pray that God will take away our desires. But the same winds and waves that seek to drive us into the reefs and destroy us also bear us up and can drive us to the safety of our destination where we can find the anchor and lighthouse for our souls.

Matthew 5:6 HCSB

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, because they will be filled.

We need to drill down to that true and righteous desire.

After Jesus fed the five thousand, the crowd sought Him out on the other side of the sea. Jesus declared: “You are looking for Me… because you ate the loaves and were filled. …My Father gives you the real bread from heaven.”

When the people cried out for the Bread of Heaven Jesus told them, “I am the bread of life, No one who comes to Me will ever be hungry, and no one who believes in Me will ever be thirsty again.”

What is the ROOT of that sin in your life? What is the real hunger? What is that unsatisfied thirst in your soul?

How exasperated must God be with us?

John 4:13-14 HCSB

Jesus said [to the woman at the well], “Everyone who drinks from this water [what is natural and temporary] will get thirsty again. But whoever drinks from the water that I will give him will never get thirsty again—ever! In fact, the water I will give him will become a well of water springing up within him for eternal life.”

In America, our closets are full and overflowing. We have eaten so much that we are overweight and unhealthy. We think another job or more money will make us happy. Sex and pornographic images are used to sell everything.

Americans are already hungry. The American Church is already hungry. We are the woman at the well. We are Saul on the road to Damascus. We are lost and undone as a nation because we have not turned our hunger and thirst loose on God.

2 Chronicles 7:13-14 HCSB

If I close the sky so there is no rain, or if I command the grasshopper to consume the land, or if I send pestilence on My people, and My people who are called by My name humble themselves, pray and seek My face, and turn from their evil ways, then I will hear from heaven, forgive their sin, and heal their land.

The God of the Bible shows us the way to turn our hunger loose. When we are unsatisfied and driven and tossed by our circumstances, when the drought in our souls leaves us in despair, if we would turn our eyes upon Jesus and seek Him and turn from the world and the things of the world that we may gain God, He will satisfy our souls.

Matthew 5:6 HCSB

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, because they will be filled.


Ken Van Horn is pastor of My Father’s House Family Church at 501 Broad Street in Cusseta, Georgia and author of the book: “A Greater Reward,” which is available from Amazon on Kindle. Questions for him should be asked in the form below. You may also contact him through Facebook or follow him on Twitter.