“Spiritually hangry” is a term I coined during my third week of youth camps in Batesburg, SC.
I didn’t fully understand my sidecomment until the camps came to an end and I returned to the world I currently live in. After all, how could I really hunger when surrounded by the spiritual equivalent of a Chinese buffet?
The condition of being spiritually hangry makes itself known with the revelation of something frightening:
Something is missing.
Once the Spirit of God is tasted, this spirit of ours is brought to life. And what do all living things require?
We, in turn, are left in a desperate spot. Once we are saved and have a true encounter with God, it is painfully apparent that the things of the world are not enough. That possessions, food, money, and even friendships can’t sustain a person. Don’t get me wrong, all those things are necessary and to be enjoyed, but they aren’t what give us life. We are left hungry and unsatisfied in our lonely state.
So where do we get food? Where does our satisfaction come from?
We, as human beings, have such a limited understanding of what goodness is because we cannot find any in ourselves. So when we finally taste the goodness of God, the answer becomes clear: we only get that fix from God’s goodness.
//11 The Spirit of God, who raised Jesus from the dead, lives in you. And just as God raised Christ Jesus from the dead, he will give life to your mortal bodies by this same Spirit living within you.//
Romans 8:11 NLT
Being “spiritually hangry” is a lot like being physically hangry. While “hanger” can be caused by many things (i.e. low glucose levels), we’ll be focusing on the most common–the thing that everyone experiences at some point. Once a certain point of hunger is reached, the body goes into a sort of “survival mode,” in which most animals would hunt for food. For most people in this nation, food is readily available. When we don’t satisfy our carnal necessities, cortisol is released, then adrenaline, and with no animals to hunt, we become agitated. We can get the solution to our problem but we don’t have it at the moment, essentially causing increasingly disgruntled behavior.
Spiritually we hunger, and this reflects on the way we act. The truth of the matter is that we either feed our spirit with God or the world; and only one of those satisfies. When our spiritual need for God and His Spirit is not met, we become distressed. The beauty lies in words that Jesus spoke:
// 7 “Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened.
9 “You parents—if your children ask for a loaf of bread, do you give them a stone instead? 10 Or if they ask for a fish, do you give them a snake? Of course not! 11 So if you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give good gifts to those who ask him.”//
Matthew 7:7-11 NLT
God knows we need Him. He doesn’t want us to starve and will give us the sustenance we ask for. He wouldn’t bring us to a Chinese buffet to tease us with mall-foodcourt-sample portions. (If you can’t tell already, I like Chinese food.)
Being spiritually hangry is necessary. It serves as a wake-up call that what we need, we don’t have. Do not be discouraged by this, but hunt in the right places. Ask God for what you need and (for all intents and purposes) “eat” the Bible! If we don’t look to God, we start seeking satisfaction in things of the flesh that only the Spirit can give. Essentially it’s eating the tasty and cheap junk food at the expense of your spiritual health, leaving you bloated and still unsatisfied with a spoiled appetite.
//3 By his divine power, God has given us everything we need for living a godly life. We have received all of this by coming to know him, the one who called us to himself by means of his marvelous glory and excellence.//
2 Peter 1:3 NLT
We have everything we need for a Godly life. One that leads to life and peace. It’s literally been given to us! How do we receive it? By coming to know Him. The one who called us Himself. He wants fellowship with us as much as we need fellowship with Him. Seeking Him is hard though, as our flesh wants to go its own way. But the more we feed our spirit, the less we will gratify the desires of our flesh. (Galatians 5:16)
What’s so bad about the flesh?
It’s what causes our sinful cravings. They come from this body that was tainted by sin in the Garden.
//19 When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear: sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, 20 idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, 21 envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these. Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God.//
Galatians 5:19-21 NLT
The problem is in us. The solution comes from accepting what God is offering.
I’ll leave with this:
//5 Those who are dominated by the [flesh] think about sinful things, but those who are controlled by the Holy Spirit think about things that please the Spirit. 6 So letting your [flesh] control your mind leads to death. But letting the Spirit control your mind leads to life and peace.//
(Romans 8:5-6 NLT)
Time to diet.