Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Hunger Games

Every wandering eye, every unfaithful thought starts from the same place. Hunger. Emotional and physical needs aren't being met. "Love cups" or "love tanks" aren't filled and a person is left feeling empty and in need.

An affair never starts with the intent of being unfaithful. It starts when someone else, a stranger, a coworker, meets a need that isn't being met at home. Maybe it's listening and relating. Maybe it's paying a long-needed compliment. Maybe it's the physical attraction that goes along with a little flirt. However minor that first step towards cheating may seem, it still ends in the same place.

And it all starts from being hungry.

Throughout the Bible, God relates the unfaithfulness of His people to adultery, giving the image of His relationship to the Israelites as equivalent to that of a man and wife. The New Testament goes further and calls the Church Jesus' bride. And so the temptations above, made strong by hunger are the same.

We hunger because we think our Lord and Savior cannot satisfy. We don't believe His promises. We don't count on Him when times are bad. And so we stop believing that He completely satisfies and we fool ourselves into being hungry for something else.

Let them give thanks to the LORD for his unfailing love
and his wonderful deeds for men,
for he satisfies the thirsty
and fills the hungry with good things
(Psalm 107:8-9)

And we can be unfaithful to our churches for the same reason. Sometimes we hunger because we are not being fed. How long have you been nursing on milk, when you should be eating solid food by now? (Hebrews 5:11-13) And so churches around us are wasting away, starving to death, because no one is being fed.

It is then, in these times, when the pangs of hunger are so overwhelming that any little morsel resembling truth suckers us into consuming whole meals of false teaching. Paul instructs the church in Ephesus how to grow and mature through solid teaching, so that "we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming." (Ephesians 4:14)

It's all hunger games. We allow ourselves to wither and starve when we don't feed on God's Word, when we are not trusting in Him.

[H]is delight is in the law of the LORD,
and on his law he meditates day and night.
He is like a tree planted by streams of water,
which yields its fruit in season
and whose leaf does not wither.
Whatever he does prospers.
(Psalm 1:2-3)

[B]lessed is the man who trusts in the LORD,
whose confidence is in him.
He will be like a tree planted by the water
that sends out its roots by the stream.
It does not fear when heat comes;
its leaves are always green.
It has no worries in a year of drought
and never fails to bear fruit.
(Jeremiah 17:7-8)

You don't have to starve when you have nourishment right at your fingertips, when you have a loving God who longs for you to be satisfied. Don't go hungry and fall into the temptation of another. Another lover, another church, or another God.

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