Do you know how you to live in the presence of God and with the power of God? To the degree you are hungry, humble, and holy, you will live with God’s power and God’s presence. These are the three things I’m always asking God to do in our church and in my own life. Jesus said in John 15:5, “Without Me you can do nothing.” We can‘t make ourselves hungry, humble or holy…that can only come from God.
Do you know God is infinitely more interested in what we are becoming than what we are doing? What matters most is that we are becoming more like Christ and being conformed to His image (Rom. 8:29). And that should be the heart cry of our lives.
Let’s take a few minutes to explore these three things…
I’m talking about being spiritually hungry, having a hunger for God and the things of God. Why do we have to ask God for this? Because we’re naturally hungry for the world and the things of the world. Our physical appetites come naturally, our spiritual appetites do not. We need to ask God to make us spiritually hungry.
You can know you’re hungry for God when you can’t live without more of Him, and you’re willing to make radical changes in your life to get it. You can measure your hunger for God by considering how you spend your time, money, energy, thoughts, and affections. Are you spending more time on the things of this world than on the things of God? If so, you’re not really hungry for the things of God.
Our world today is so full of trivial pursuits and time-consuming distractions, we often satisfy our appetites with junk food for the soul and amusements for the flesh. We become satisfied with just a crumb of God’s presence…that’s all the room in our life we have left. If you try to have everything, you won’t have room for anything, and you’ll end up sacrificing the main thing! When we become so full on the things of the world, we’re not hungry for the things of God.
Why did it matter that as a kid I learned to eat peas and carrots and not just popcorn and potato chips? Because you can’t be strong and healthy any other way, and what is true physically is true spiritually. But there was another lesson I learned from having to choke down my cabbage and cauliflower, and it was an even deeper and far more important lesson – you need to learn to do what is good for you, even if it doesn’t feel good. This is where the fasted lifestyle comes in. Fasting is bringing your body under the control of your mind which is under the control of the Spirit. That’s the Spirit-filled life and the chain of command God has set up. When you willingly say no to your flesh in its most basic need for food, you are putting it in its rightful place. The body is not meant to rule; it is meant to obey the rule of your mind which in turn is being ruled by the Spirit.
Fasting from food extends far beyond just the food…it is not allowing ourselves to be ruled by anything other than Christ. And the amazing thing is the more you filled with God the more you want of God.
You can’t live in the presence of God or the power of God apart from humility. James 4:6 says, “God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” He is literally drawn to the humble heart, but He is repulsed by the prideful heart. Wherever there is pride, God’s presence departs.
Pride is that part of you that doesn’t want to submit to God’s authority; it leads you to want to be in charge of your life. Humility is the complete opposite…it means you give up all rights to self, and it is the key to victory. The great paradox of the Christian life is that the way up is by going down. Jesus said John the Baptist was the greatest man ever born among women – that’s quite a compliment coming from the mouth of God. John the Baptist was a man of power, but he was a humble man. It was his humility that made him powerful. The secret to his power is found in John 3:30, “He must increase, but I must decrease.”
There is no intimacy with God apart from purity of heart. Psalm 139:23-24, “Search me, O God, and know my heart…and see if there is any wicked way in me.” We must ask God to reveal our true condition and allow Him to search the darkest corners of our heart. By submitting inwardly to God’s Spirit which is Holy, we become more and more outwardly holy! You will never be sinless this side of heaven, but when you have more of Him, you will sin less.