Plain Lessons - Hunger
Plain Lessons - Hunger
Words of Faith 4-25-18
Dr. Jeffrey D. Hoy © 2018
Faith Fellowship Church - Melbourne, FL
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The teaching of Jesus in the "Sermon on the Plain" in Luke 6, deals with four specific worldly values. The world says that the highest goals in life are to be rich, feed our appetites, be happy, and be well thought of. For the world, this is what life is about. These "Plain Lessons" deal with four areas are arenas of conflict in our lives between the world and the Kingdom of God. Today we look at appetites and indulgence.
 Blessed are you who hunger now, for you will be satisfied.  Woe to you who are well fed now, for you will go hungry.
The world says "Feed your appetites". Jesus says: "Blessed are you who hunger now, for you will be satisfied" . "Woe to you who are well fed now, for you will go hungry" .
Is there really any blessing in hunger? We live in a world that has a great deal of hunger. Yet most of us do not know what real hunger is. Our hunger is usually self-imposed for purposes of vanity or health. Matthew reports that there is a blessing for those who hunger and thirst for righteousness. But Luke tells us that Jesus also said something much simpler-- blessed are the hungry.
This is quite contrary to the world around us. Everywhere we turn, our culture says— "Indulge yourself. You have a right to indulge every appetite of the flesh." But Jesus says we are to find satisfaction in the Kingdom of God and not in our flesh. And what is the "woe" that is attached? If you spend your life indulging your appetites, pampering your whims, and gratifying personal and fleshly desires, you will spend eternity hungry and thirsty. You will never be fulfilled.
The problem can be huge. People spend a lot of effort trying to fill spiritual and emotional needs with appetite indulgence. Folks search for intimacy in promiscuity. Some seek emotional filling in food or drink. Others try to fill spiritual emptiness with every sort of sordid thing.
The Apostle also warned the church at Philippi that a focus on self-indulgence makes us enemies of the cross. "For, as I have often told you before and now say again even with tears, many live as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is on earthly things" (Philip. 3:18-19). Rampant self-indulgence is fundamentally opposed to the surrender of Jesus at the cross for our sake.
The Apostle Paul warned that appetite indulgence is the root of division and even heretical teaching. "I urge you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and put obstacles in your way that are contrary to the teaching you have learned. Keep away from them. For such people are not serving our Lord Christ, but their own appetites. By smooth talk and flattery they deceive the minds of naive people" (Romans 16:17-18).
Now, we need to be careful here. Everyone who eats a cheeseburger is not a heretic and Thanksgiving turkey is not the cause of church division. There is nothing wrong with pleasure in its right context. God provided many pleasures for our enjoyment. Jesus was not saying that there is no place for the enjoyment that includes food and drink. After all, He had recently shared a festive meal with tax collectors in the home of Levi.
Jesus' first miracle was at a wedding feast where He turned water into wine so that the festive occasion could be enjoyed. There is a value and importance such times shared with friends and family. The problem is when we make an appetite or a pleasure to be our god. We will surely miss the Kingdom.
So do we go on a diet? That is really a different issue, but we do need to get our appetites under God's control. This is not "self-control" in the way the world understands it. It is the self-control that is a fruit of the Spirit. We need to know hunger that is not directed toward the opinion of others. Fasting is a positive and powerful way to deny our appetites and hunger after God and His Kingdom.
Here is the question of the day. Have you allowed your appetites to run your life? Have you allowed self-indulgence to ruin your life? God has a better way for you.
O God, give me a hunger and thirst for You. Deepen my appetite for Your Word. Cause me to be ravenous for an obedient and intimate walk with You. Show me the appetites that master me that I may surrender them to Your Spirit. Give me a heart for those in our world who are hungry. In Jesus' name.