Well, you can really increase your desire for God in the same way you increase your hunger for “real” food.
I remember my first encounter with weight watchers in my twenties. I had put on a little “wedding weight.” You know, you get married and in the first five years of marriage you gain about 20 pounds. I distinctly remember seeing a picture of myself with a gut and hating what it looked like, so I decided to go on weight watchers.
Back then they had the “fast start” program, I think it was called. I renamed it the “fast starve” program. I was trying to make it on about 1000 calories a day. And it wasn’t just any kind of calories I had to eat a lot of fruit and vegetables. To a meat, potatoes and ice cream guy, that’s just a step away from a hunger strike!
I actually remember getting up one morning and being so hungry that, when I had eaten my unsweetened spoonful of cereal (about all that I was allowed) I was still starving so I opened a can of spinach . . . that’s right, spinach! I was eating spinach for breakfast! Yuk!
You know the worst part? I don’t remember losing that much weight, and what I lost, I put right back on . . . plus some. Why? Because when I denied myself food, I got so hungry that I eventually overate.
Now, I guarantee you that after a week of weight watchers, no one had to coax me to eat a bowl of ice cream. I desired ice cream. I was dreaming about ice cream. Why? Because I had been without food and that developed a strong appetite with me.
Can I tell you how to increase your spiritual hunger? Follow weight watching example. I got so hungry because I had so little real food for a week. It’s the same way in your spiritual relationship. In the first place, you get hungry for God when you decrease your intake of the stuff that replaces Him in your life. All of us have what I call “soul-candy.” Soul candy are those things that Satan sends along to distract us from our real need. It can be TV, the Internet, cellphonse, I-phones, softball, baseball, all kinds of activities, family, and even friends. See its different things for different people, but your enemy knows what it is and he will make sure it is available as a substitute for what you really need: a vital relationship with God.
So what is it for you? What is it that thing to which you turn to deaden your need for God? If you want to hunger after Him, stop eating your “soul-candy.”
But there was something else that made me hungry during my weight watchers adventure. I was working out and jogging every day. I exerted myself and I was hungry because of it. It’s the same way spiritually. If you really want to get hungry, you must exert your spiritual muscles. Nothing will make you more aware of your need for God than jumping in over your head into ministry. I still break out in a cold sweat when I think of trying to pastor Peace Church, but I thank God for being in this position because never have I had to depend on him like I have in these last few months. And some of our teachers make this statement to me. “The greatest thing about teaching is what it is doing in my own life.” Hey, do you want to hunger for God? Then start exercising your spiritual muscles
The payoff of this process is a relationship with Christ in which He becomes the center of everything in Your life: Your mind, your will, and your emotions. And when He becomes the center of your mind, will and emotions, you’ll no longer have to say “I just can’t live it.”