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Hungry for God

Asbury Theological Seminary Chapel

When I was a little boy, I was hungry all the time. But I was only hungry for some things, and peas wasn’t one of them. My mother used the phrase on more than one occasion, “There are a lot of children in the world that are hungry right now and they would love to have those peas, so eat them up and be grateful you have food.” I think I might have said, “Why don’t we ship the peas to them”, but that never seemed to be an option for my mother. Thankfully, I never knew what it was like to go without meals and to experience hunger like some endure for days on end.

The word “hunger,” means, “having a strong desire, craving, displaying the need for food.” However, hunger is not just for food, humans also crave for physical, emotional, intellectual, and spiritual nourishment. While physical hunger is a terrible thing, there is another hunger that food can never satisfy. Jesus said:

I tell you the truth, Moses didn’t give you bread from heaven. My Father did. And now he offers you the true bread from heaven. The true bread of God is the one who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” “Sir,” they said, “give us that bread every day.” Jesus replied, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry again. Whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.[1]

Clearly, Jesus is referring to a hunger that physical food cannot satisfy. Jesus knew that we all have a deep hunger within us or a deep yearning that only he could satisfy. Many people hunger for something, but once they’ve had their fill of that thing, they discover that the hunger is still there and deeper than ever. If people are honest with themselves, they would have to admit, “There’s something missing in their lives that things cannot satisfy.”

Psychiatrist Gerald G. May in Addiction and Grace observed:

After twenty years of listening to the yearnings of people’s hearts, I am convinced that all human beings have an inborn desire for God. Whether we are consciously religious or not, this desire is our deepest longing and our most precious treasure. It gives us meaning. Some of us have repressed this desire, burying it beneath so many interests that we are completely unaware of it. . . . This yearning is the essence of the human spirit; it is the origin of our highest hopes and most noble dreams.[2]

Paul understood this yearning too. He said to the philosophers of Athens in Acts 17:24-28:

He is the God who made the world and everything in it. Since he is Lord of heaven and earth, he doesn’t live in man-made temples, and human hands can’t serve his needs—for he has no needs. He himself gives life and breath to everything, and he satisfies every need. From one man he created all the nations throughout the whole earth. He decided beforehand when they should rise and fall, and he determined their boundaries. His purpose was for the nations to seek after God and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him—though he is not far from any one of us. For in him we live and move and exist.

One of the things God did through his creation was to create an awareness of his presence and to generate a hunger for him. This is what Paul meant when he said to the philosophers of Athens, “His purpose was for the nations to seek after him and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him.” Paul acknowledged that “he [God] is not far from anyone of us,” because “in him we live and move and exist.”

French philosopher and mathematician Blaise Pascal spoke about this yearning for God like this, “We all have a God-shaped void in each of our hearts that can only be filled by Christ.”

From the very beginning, humans were created to be in a relationship with God. Everything was in perfect harmony until sin entered the world. The first sin of humanity was committed through eating, which then resulted in death and separation from God (see Genesis 3).

Adam did not murder, steal, tell lies, or commit adultery; he disobeyed God by a simple act of eating, which forever changed the course of human history. Paul, on another occasion, expressed his anguish concerning enemies of the cross of Christ who are headed for destruction. “Their god is their appetite, they brag about shameful things, and they think only about this life here on earth (Phil. 3:19 20).”

There seems to be a strong and direct correlation between eating and hunger. What lies between the two is our appetites. These strong cravings will determine the direction of our lives. John Piper asks, “Do you have that hunger for him? If we don’t feel strong desires for the manifestation of the glory of God, it is not because you have drunk deeply and are satisfied. It is because we have nibbled so long at the table of the world. Our soul is stuffed with small things, and there is no room for the great.” [3]

Whether it be the cravings of our stomachs, the passionate desire for possessions or power, or the longings of our spirits for God, our appetite will determine the direction of our soul’s quest.

After Jesus fasted for forty days and forty nights, he became very hungry. The very first thing the devil did was to tempt his appetite, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become loaves of bread.” But Jesus told him, “No! The Scriptures say, “People do not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.” [4]

Jesus was in effect saying, “There is only one thing that can satisfy our inner hunger – it’s not physical bread – it’s the living God and his Word.”

That hunger for God and his Word is now on full display in Wilmore, Kentucky. Asbury Seminary students have been seeking God in what some are calling a modern-day revival. The movement began after students refused to leave following a chapel service, and over a two-week period the services have since grown to pack the school's chapel with over 50,000 worshippers from around the world. Similar events are breaking out in other Christian universities.

Sarah Baldwin, vice president of student life at Asbury, described the revival as "an outpouring of the love of God, starting with Generation Z and overflowing on the rest of us to bring healing, joy and unity. At the center of it all, it’s been a return to a whole-hearted commitment to Jesus and turning away from anything that distracts us from Christ. We are deeply grateful for what God is doing," Baldwin added.[5]

Recently the school had to formally declare the revival over in the chapel because the town and restaurants couldn’t accommodate all the visitors and traffic. But as they took the services outside on the weekend of February 18-19, they had 20,000 hungry worshippers in attendance.

Asbury President Kevin J. Brown, called these last few weeks at the Christian school, "unlike anything I've ever seen in my life." "Whether you call this a revival, a renewal, an awakening or an outpouring, what we have experienced on our campus these last few weeks is unlike anything I've ever seen in my life," Brown said.[6]

Brown believes Asbury is not the keeper or source of this movement, pointing out that is has already gone across the U.S. and around the world. "People are hungry," he said. "And they are hungry for something more," quoting Jesus in the New Testament's Matthew 5:6. "Blessed are those who hunger and thirst after righteousness for they shall be filled."[7]

Just as the hunger of our body drives us to eat physical food, the hunger of our spirit propels us to feed on spiritual food. Apart from God, humans are spiritually dying. But because we are alienated from God because of our sins, our hearts and minds are blinded by earthly pleasures and worldly values (Ephesians 4:18; 2 Corinthians 4:4; 1 John 2:11). Instead of thirsting after God and his righteousness, we think the things of this world will satisfy us. Instead, the only bring emptiness, and that emptiness reveals our ultimate need for the Savior.

The exact phrase “hunger for God” is nowhere to be found in the Bible. But Jesus promised that those who hunger and thirst for God’s righteousness shall be satisfied.

The divine solution for our spiritual yearning and hunger is Jesus Christ, the bread of life, “that whoever believes in Him shall live forever” (John 6:47-51). Jesus declares that those who come to Him, and believe in Him, shall never hunger and thirst again. This means that only He can give us true fulfillment in life. In Christ, our hunger and thirst will be satisfied, not only on earth but also in the life to come.

Dear friends, may you have a heart like King David, who said, “O God, You are my God; I shall seek You earnestly; My soul thirsts for You, my flesh yearns for You, In a dry and weary land where there is no water (Psalm 63:1).”

Don’t stay hungry, friends. The things of this world will never satisfy you. God said in Jeremiah 29:13-14, “If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me, says the Lord.” Why not start looking?


[1] Tyndale House Publishers, Holy Bible: New Living Translation (Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, 2015), Jn 6:31–36. [2] Gerald May, Addictions and Grace, (Harper Collins, New York, 1988), 1. [3] John Piper, A Hunger for God,, February 22, 2023. [4] Tyndale House Publishers, Holy Bible: New Living Translation (Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, 2015), Mt 4:1–4. [5] Jon Brown, “Christian university in Kentucky draws pilgrims nationwide amid spiritual revival: Gives me so much hope”, Fox News, [6] Steve Warren and Benjamin Gill, “20,000 Join Asbury Revival in Weekend Explosion, but Outpouring Will Now Be Moved Off Campus”, Christian Broadcasting Network,, February 20,2023. [7] Ibid.

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1 comentario

02 mar 2023

Thanks so much for this timely message David.

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