by Tiffany S.
from Virtuous Daughters, August/September 2017~Volume 17, Number 3
I’d like to share with you some things the Lord has been teaching me about a Christian’s appetite. In April, I decided to drastically reduce my refined sugar intake, limiting myself to one dessert per week. At first, it was hard! I craved the many sweet treats I had typically enjoyed each day...watching my siblings eat ice cream or brownies was definitely a challenge. :) Over time, however, my appetite changed. Yes, I still liked refined sugar and sometimes desired it—but not as intensely. Also, baking naturally sweetened desserts from Brittany’s yummy recipes taught me that natural sugar is much more satisfying. Before long, my appetite changed. I didn’t battle sugar cravings; and when I did want something sweet, I actually preferred a naturally sweetened dessert! :) I felt healthier and was soon convinced that consuming refined sugar frequently just isn’t “worth it.”
“This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.”--Galatians 5:16
“I am the vine, ye are the branches: he that abideth in Me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without Me ye can do nothing.”--John 15:5
“Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.”--Matthew 5:6
Have you ever felt disappointed by a lack of fervor in your Christian walk? Maybe you look back on a time in your life when you were more zealous about serving the Lord, but that zeal has waned over the years. Do you wonder what happened?
I have learned that in small, subtle ways it is possible to begin caring more for ourselves than for the Lord’s greater purposes. I have seen this in my own life, especially during busy seasons when I allow distractions to keep me from seeking Him wholeheartedly.
When we develop an appetite for self, our desire for spiritual things is dulled. It is similar to refined sugar: pleasing self feels good for a moment, but it never truly satisfies. Furthermore, it yields damaging consequences. “For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption...”--Galatians 6:7 Only when we yearn for the Lord and His will do we experience lasting fulfillment. “Thou wilt show me the path of life: in Thy presence is fulness of joy...”--Psalm 16:11
Recognizing an “appetite for self” in my life prompted me to pray Psalm 51:10: “Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.” As I sought the Lord for spiritual renewal, He was so faithful to answer my prayer. Through John 15, He showed me the importance of walking in the Spirit and abiding in Christ. If we abide in Christ and His Words abide in us, He will give us our requests...because our requests will be in accordance to His perfect will!
I still have much to learn in the area of abiding in Christ, but He graciously, tenderly leads me, day by day. I know for certainty that without Christ, I can do nothing...but through Him, I can do all things. May we fully depend on the Lord for any good thing to come through our lives.
I encourage you to humbly, honestly evaluate your heart: are you in need of spiritual revival? Isaiah 57:15 is such a beautiful promise: “For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones.”
If you sense an increased desire to please self, ask the Lord to replace it with a deep longing for Him and His righteousness. Ask Him what things you should let go of...or if there is something you should pick back up in order to seek first the kingdom of God. Here are a few ideas:
~Let Go. Ask the Lord if there is anything you should give up...perhaps certain books, movies, influences, social media, or activities are dulling your spiritual senses. Like refined sugar, they might provide temporal satisfaction, but are they diminishing your appetite for the eternal things of God? If so, it’s not worth it!
~Pick Up. Have you begun neglecting personal devotions, prayer time, or ministry? What are things you once did which drew you closer to the Lord, but perhaps have been pushed to the back burner? Pick those back up! Yes, you are busy, but at the end of this life, all that will matter is your relationship with Jesus Christ. It’s worth the extra time to fully invest in it!
~Learn what it means to abide in Christ. Meditate on John 15 and related passages; ask the Lord to teach you how to deepen your walk with Him. Pray Scriptural prayers for spiritual renewal.
~Starve your flesh. In small and big ways, put yourself last, resist temptation, and choose the best over the good. By God’s grace, squelch ungodly or selfish motives. At first you might suffer “withdrawals,” but soon you will find that your appetite is being transformed and you genuinely desire the very things God desires—the only things that truly satisfy!
~“Feed” your spirit. We can only grow spiritually when we immerse ourselves in spiritual food. Remember Jesus’ promise in Matthew 5:6!
It is wonderful to be renewed by the Lord and experience the joy that comes from delighting in the heart of God! There is a special fulfillment in knowing that we long for the things He longs for, and that our prayer and aim is ultimately for His glory. He satisfies our longing souls more than anything we can ever provide for ourselves! (See Psalm 103:5 and Psalm 107:9.)
There is much more I would love to share, but for now, dear sisters, remember...never settle for temporary satisfaction. The Lord invites us to be completely fulfilled in Himself! “Wherefore do ye spend money for that which is not bread? and your labour for that which satisfieth not? hearken diligently unto Me, and eat ye that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness.”--Isaiah 55:2
Love in Christ,
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