Hungering and Thirsting for God, Pt. 2

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What’s the driving force in your life? What occupies your time, and influences all your decisions? It could be your job, a relationship, or a favorite hobby. Other things may give temporary fulfillment, but only devotion to the Lord Jesus Christ truly satisfies the soul.

 

 

rebuild and form a life of sustaining faith and intimacy with God. Begin your journey today In touch with Dr. Charles Stanley celebrating 45 years of God’s faithfulness. Next on in touch part two of hungering and thirsting for God on any given day of your life? What is the strongest emotion you feel? Is it anger, bitterness, distrust anxiety, mm hmm. Or is it love and trust and gratitude and thanksgiving all of us are expressing emotions toward other people in any given day. And to whom are you expressing those strongest feelings you have? And when you think about that person or those persons and you think about how you feel those feelings drag you down and they lift you up? Well what about this? How often during any given day do you think about the Lord? What are your emotions? What do you feel? Do you feel love, acceptance? Do you feel blessed? Do you feel trust or do you feel shame and embarrassment and guilt and uncertainty? It is certain that whatever our relationship is with a person and ever how much we know about that person, it’s going to affect how we feel towards them. So if you have certain feelings for the person that’s going to govern, its going to govern your relationship and your action and whatever knowledge you have with that person, it’s going to govern how you feel and how you think, yeah that’s true of our relationship to God as well as there’s someone else? So when you think about your relationship to the Lord? What governs that relationship? What governs the way you feel? It’s what you know about him and the kind of relationship you have. And so I want us to look at the 63rd psalm because in this psalm, David is expressing what he feels toward his heavenly father, what he feels concerning his relationship to him. And what I want to talk about in this message is I want to talk about this whole idea of hungering and thirsting for God. And you’ll see something in this passage that I think reminds you of. That. Look at the 63rd psalm and the first eight verses, he says, Oh 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. Thus, I’ve seen you in the sanctuary to see your power and your glory, because your loving kindness is better than life. My lips will praise you. So I will bless you as long as I live, and I will lift up my hands in your name. My soul is satisfied, as with marrow and fatness, and my mouth offers praises with joyful lips. When I remember you on my bed, I meditate on you in the night watches. But you have been my help in the shadow of your wings. I sing for joy. My soul clings to you, your right hand upholds me. Listen to it. He says, My soul clings to you. Your right hand upholds me. Those first couple of verses. He’s expressing the yearning deserve his heart, as he says, is a person who would be in a desert, longing for something to refresh. He says, I long for you. I I earnestly seek you. And he says, for example, in the past, I’ve seen your power and your glory. I’m looking for something that I know is real, he says, Because your loving kindness is better than life. My lips will praise you. He says. What what motivates me too long and hunger and thirst after you is what I know is real, what I’ve experienced. And he says, I lift up my lips to praise you. I’ll bless you. He says, my soul is satisfied. That is he is reminding himself of the satisfaction he has in the Lord. Do you ever have that kind of feeling towards God? That your soul clings to him? That you long for him? That you want him? That you want? A more intimate relationship with him, a better relationship. You want to feel closer to him? Well, that’s what hungering and thirsting after God is all about. It’s all about being drawn closer to him. It’s all about a more intimate relationship. It’s all about drawing toward him, moving toward him. It’s all about learning who he is and beginning to enjoy him on a level that you have never enjoyed him before. Now. What we mean by hungering and thirsting and a growing relationship with him is simply this, That is this insatiable desire for him. You can’t really explain it fully and totally. It’s just something inside of you that longs for you feel moved toward him, You feel drawn to him. You feel sometimes as if something is shoving you toward him. There’s this longing that goes on in your heart, and I want to simply ask you, do you ever have any of that? Is God a stranger, or is he an intimate friend? Do you have a warm, intimate personal relationship? Can you just not get enough of him, or is he someone who sat on the periphery of your life? And what you have to ask is this however you answer those questions will indicate what your relationship is, where you are in your relationship to God and where he wants you to be. And so, I want us to think about this whole idea because you see the truth is he wants that kind of relationship with all of us. And hungering, thirsting relationship is a passion for God. It’s a longing for him. It’s been placed there by the Holy Spirit. In fact, every single person born is born with a vacuum within their life that only God can feel. And so when they come along in life, if that is nourished as it should be, that person will be saved and then grow in their relationship if it’s not nurtured not cared for. That person can naturally normally head out in the other direction, thinking little or nothing about God whatsoever. And probably some of you may feel that’s exactly where you are. Why should I have a relationship to God? Nobody told me about him. I don’t know anything about God has some strange up in heaven who’s supposed to judge some and love others? What do I know about him? That’s what I want to talk about. And I want to talk about how you can have the kind of relationship with him that is more powerful, more intimate, more satisfying, more undergirding and assuring you than any human relationship you can have on the face of this earth. So let’s think about it for a moment. If only he can set his father human heart and only God can if only he creates that great hunger within our hearts for him that draws us causes us to long for Him, tugs at our hearts, pulls at us. Sometimes pushes to bring us in a close relationship with him. Where we have to ask is Lord, how will I ever know whether I have that or not? Somebody says, well, you know, I’d like to have that in my life. Maybe I do, Maybe I don’t. So, what I’d like to do is to give you a few indications that you can know for absolute certain whether you’re one of those persons who really and truly desires longs for a deeper intimate relationship with him because the truth is, most people don’t. Churches are filled with people who sort of lukewarm. They love God. Today on sunday you may think about him a couple of times during the week. They go to church once in a while. They give a little something once in a while, they tipped God instead of tithing. And so what happens is they’re not satisfied, but at least they can sort of keep their conscience clear and then next week go back again and do a little something not talking about that. I’m talking about what are the real genuine Godly evidences of a hungering, thirsting, yearning desire for him, a relationship with him that is intimate and extremely satisfying. Well, if you got a pencil on a piece of paper, I want you to jot them down because this is the time to be absolutely deadly honest. And you see, we don’t grow unless we are open and transparent with our Lord. And sometimes that requires being transparent before other people and with someone else. If you really want this kind of relationship, if you want this kind listen of intimacy with your heavenly father, how can I be intimate with my heavenly father. Don’t even see him, you see, because he is absolutely perfect because he knows how in his awesome supernatural power to relate to us on the inside and our innermost being. That’s no problem with him because you have a relationship with someone else and your intimacy flows depending upon their attitude or how they feel or whatever it might be. God’s not that way. Now, we, in our part, on our part, we may we may float once in a while, but I’m talking about the kind of relationship that will satisfy you every day of your life. What is the first thing? The first evidence? Now, watch this. These answers are all simple, but they are the answers. And so, I want to ask you to be honest, and listen carefully, Make no judgment at this moment. Just listen, one of the first evidence is that a person has a genuine hungering and thirsting desire for God. And that kind of relationship is they’re gonna have a love, they’re gonna have an interest. They’re gonna have a desire for the word of God. That is. This book is gonna become a priority in your life. This this book is all about God. This book unveils to us who God is, how he thinks, what he does, what he says, how he works in our life, the consequences of sin, the consequences of obedience. It’s all right here in one book. Now, if I’m going to develop a relationship with him, I want to know how he thinks. I want to know how he reasons. I want to know his ways. There’s no such thing. I’ve never met a person in all these years who had a Godly deep abiding devotion and hungering, thirsting for God who did not have a hunger and thirst for the word of the living God. I want, they want to know him. And as I’ve read back through the years, not only great, outstanding christians that God used in great ways, but other people. And meet many people, you can tell a little bit of the conversation. Here’s the person has a hunger for God, can’t keep quiet. The word of God, listen, this is where we come to seek knowledge and wisdom and strength and guidance in their life. And here’s what will happen if you have a hunger, hunger and thirst for him. You’re gonna have a hunger and thirst for what he’s saying about where you are at this point in your life, what’s going on and what’s happening and and how he can operate in your life. At that point, let’s say, well, what happens as a result, builds your faith and listen, what does It builds your faith in It doesn’t just build your faith in the pages of the Word of God. It builds your faith in the person of God. This is this is the revelation of God. We don’t worship this book. We worship the God who reveals himself in this book. And what happens is we begin to get excited and then, you know what happens every time you open this book, it’s like digging for gold. You know that there’s something precious here. You don’t want to miss it. And all you have to do is to begin begin to pursue this relationship with him. God speak to my heart, Let the holy spirit show me the truth. What does this verse mean? What is it saying to me? You know what’s gonna happen? Your faith is going to begin to grow, You’re gonna you’re gonna dig like like someone who is excited about what they’re about to find because you’re gonna find one negative truth after the other, one principle after the other that will guide your life. You know what it does? It equips you to face life, it equips you to live. You can face no matter what, when you have that kind of relationship with him. Now, the second thing evidence that we have this kind of hunger and thirsting relationship with him is this you’re gonna love to spend time with God. How can you spend time with God when he’s out yonder somewhere? No, God is. Listen, jesus said, I am abiding within you. Mhm. If a person has a genuine love for God, they’re gonna want to spend time with him, you’re gonna want to spend time with him. Well, you know, I’m just so busy, we’re back to the same old excuse being busy is not what I’ll tell you what you do. Why don’t you say this, God, I’d be happy to have this kind of relationship spend time with you, But I’m so busy, so God do whatever is necessary so I won’t be busy. You know what horizontal is God can lay you out so that the only thing you could do is think about him and read his word. This busy businesses. The devil’s lie and the devil’s deception. That’s not the way God operates and I think about when we spend time with him, what does that say? Here’s what it says. What does it say to you as a woman when your husband says you know what, I’m not going to work today, I was going to spend this day with you wow what happened? You know what God says there was what about spending some time with me? What about loving me enough to be alone just with me and let’s us talk. You see if your prayer life is only centered around God now you know my needs for today. A. B. C. D. 64 65 66 98 99 100 all you’ve done is made you a plea to God that’s not what we’re talking about. I’m talking about getting in his word, meditating upon his word and then doing what talking to the father. Now listen carefully. Most people spend their time in prayer number one talking about themselves and their needs and you know what? You spend a lot of time praying not love God. You spend a lot of time praying and not building an intimate relationship with them? Why? Because you got your hand out. In fact a lot of people have both hands out you know what would please him and what pleases him. And one of the indications that you and I have a deep abiding relationship and a growing hunger and thirst for him is that we want to talk to him about him. Father. I know that I know that your God of grace Lord, I don’t feel sometimes in other words what happens is this when you love someone you’d like to talk about them? You want you want to hear them talk And if you love someone you’ve got to express it to them. And what happens is this when you have a hungering, thirsting relationship with him, you’re gonna want to spend time with him just talking to him. You’re gonna want to spend time with him listening to him? If you desire a personal relationship with him and you begin to pursue that God will begin to speak to you in ways you never dreamed of you. You just have to take my word for it because I can’t prove it. Except I can prove it in my own life and the lives of many other people who say yes, God speaks yes, he makes it clear, yes, he gives guidance. Yes, he knows how to bring us to the right decision. Yes he does. When you pray. What do you ask for? Do you talk? Do you tell him how much you love him? Do you express your gratitude toward him? Do you thank him for being the God that he is? And when you read the script and you see how he’s worked in people’s lives. And do you, do you thank him for the way he worked in David’s life. Here, do you are you do you praise him for the fact that he’s got so many things in the bible that apply to us? And it sounds just like us when we get in trouble or being tempted or difficulty or hardship, when you understand who he is, what he desires for us, how he operates. You don’t have to beg and plead and living in security. You can live in the most awesome security. That’s the third thing I mentioned, and that’s this so evident to me. Then, when you have a hungering thirsting relationship with God, you know what happens, you get freed. Listen, God begins to free you from the tug and the pull of the world. You can’t explain it. It’s just that you don’t feel it. Why? Because now your soul is feasting upon God himself. Your spirit is feasting upon God as you listen to him and read his word and and talk to him. Listen, what’s he’s feeding you? He’s satisfying you quenching that thirst in you. And you know what happens? The things you thought you had to have. You think, well that’s that’s not all that important? What happens is you get freedom from the tug of the world and I see so many people hungering and thirsting after so much. And I think, oh God, if they only knew that it doesn’t cost anything to go to the father, if they only knew how empty and futile and disillusioned they’re gonna be when that’s all over, okay, he desires, listen, a relationship with us that sets us emotionally free from these things, then I think another indication, another indication, you have a strong devoted relationship to him, hungering and thirsting after him. And that is listen, your desire the fellowship of other believers, he said, forsake not the assembling of yourselves together, which is the manner of some that is a person has a hungering thirsting desire for God, intimate relationship is going to be in the Lord’s house worshiping him. He’s saying, I’ve heard people say this, Well, I’m saved, I’ve been baptized. I don’t believe you have to belong to a church to go to heaven. Absolutely correct. You don’t have to belong to church to go to heaven, but you will miss God’s best. You’ll miss the blessings that he has in store for you for the simple reason. Listen, you see, I’m a tell you how selfish that is. You’re listening to say Amen this is how selfish this is. I don’t need to go to church what you’re saying is the only person I’m concerned about is me, I don’t want to go to church and therefore I’m not going to church. Has it ever dawned on you that God may put you in that fellowship of people? Because he wants to use you to bless somebody else, because he knows exactly the person who will listen to you. They will, they will, they will listen to you. They’re the kind of person who feels free to share the heartaches. And there’s something about you that they feel free to tell you about the heart and what they’re going through and God wants to use you. It is absolutely totally self centered selfishness to say, I don’t need to go to church and go to Heaven without it? Is that your attitude about the church, Are you one of those persons who sleeps in on sunday morning? Because after all, you’ve worked six hard days this week. I understand that a lot of times I work seven days. You know what? I can’t wait to get here, not because I’m the pastor. I couldn’t wait to get here to be among the people of God to fellowship and to listen. Listen to listen and the singing and the music. What it does to my soul. What you have to ask is this, how can you say that you love of God and have a relationship with him when he loves his people. But you don’t you don’t want to fellowship with him. It doesn’t work. A person who has hungering thirsting desire for him. Listen, is going to want to share it. You cannot keep it to yourself. We have an unavoidable commandment. A commission from the Lord, jesus christ. And here’s what it says. In essence, talk about me. Talk about me. Talk about me until they learn of me, Talk about me until they start following me. Talk about me too. They’re baptized. Talk about me too. We’re multiplying churches all over the world. Talk about me then you say, well, I’m a christian, but I just think you ought to keep some things to yourself. Well, absolutely. You ought to especially sin, but you don’t keep jesus to yourself. Listen, he comes into our heart to be given away. That’s the reason he comes to be given away to save us and make us fit and give us away and we give him away. Do you have that kind of relationship with him? You say, well, I just have always believed you should keep those things private. No. So let’s think about it for a moment. I’ve mentioned five indications of whether you have that kind of relationship, that kind of intimacy with him. How would you answer that for yourself? If you were absolutely deadly honest, Would you say you do or you do not or whatever? The answer I want to tell you about some steps you can take to pursue that beginning right now. Very simple, complex sort of, very simple. Listen to this. You want to begin that kind of relationship. First of all you must know the Lord jesus christ as your personal savior. Step number one you have to do. That’s first step. Number one trusted him as your savior. The forgiveness of your sins. Then what? Mm hmm. You have to make a decision. Step two. You have to make a decision. I want the kind of relationship he’s talking about. I want this intimate, deep hungering, thirsting, yearning in my heart for God. I want that above everything else. I have to make a decision the commitment. And then you asked God in prayer. Lord teach me how to have this kind of relationship with you. This is what I want father. My soul reaches out to you father. My heart hungers for you. God build this kind of relationship between us. Number four you go where you have to go to the word of God and you begin to read. But now you’re reading for a whole different reasons. You’re not reading the teachers sunday school lesson, not reading the preacher’s sermon. Not reading to answer someone else’s question. You’re reading now and meditating upon God’s word for yourself. Lord speak to my heart. Show me something about yourself today. Show me something about myself and then when he does. You want to confess and repent of whatever is not what is not right or thank him and praise him the things that are right. So you’re going to get into the word of God and you listen, he’s going to begin to work in your heart, in the most amazing ways, confession repentance, very important when you come to listen to this is very important. When you come to a passage and God convicts you of something, you either move on, listen, you either deal with it and move on in your developing relationship or that relationship. Listen, as far as it’s going, as far as it’s going where I stop in my confession repentance and won’t deal with sin. What I’m saying to God is you’re only worth this much to me. You’re only worth this much in my life. And when you say, God cleanse my heart, I genuinely repent of my sin. I’m trusting you got for your forgiveness. You know what happens? He just draws you closer and closer and closer because that’s what his heart’s desire is. Yeah. And then I just say one other thing. It all boils down to this. Yes. Do I want this kind of relationship? All those steps are necessary. Not doing once, but continually. Well, I fault involved sometimes. Yes, but pick it up and keep going. He knows our heart. But the bottom line is this? If I’m willing to be obedient to him in those areas, whatever he requires, no matter what I can move on in that relationship. But I can tell you in my own life, I can look back and see sometimes in my own life when that’s as far as I could go? As far as I could get and I’d cry to God Lord speak to my heart and find out what the Lord would say to me. We’re not going anywhere until you deal with that. And I can tell you, once you deal with what he brings up, something happens in the relationship it gets sweeter, more joyful, more fulfilling, more content ng and you get more excited about him. But if there’s something in your life, he puts his finger on and you intend to hold onto that no matter what what you’re saying is a deep abiding intimate relationship with you is not nearly as valuable is the thing I hold. And the truth is that’s foolish. You just deal with it and let God bless you with his very best If I could open up the top of your head and pour all this in it, screw it back down real tight so you could never escape it. I’d do it. But I can’t. Here’s where the here’s listen this is where what we say the rubber meets the road. It is now your decision because you’ve heard the truth. It is your decision to decide. Well I continue my luke warmness. Mm hmm. Yeah. Or do I want to get serious about my relationship to him? Here’s the problem. You’ve heard so much truth in this one message about that relationship, I can tell you this. If you purpose in your heart to stay in a lukewarm fashion, the bottom is gonna drop out of your life. Do you think God is going to pour out his truth over and over and over again, and you just keep living that kind of selfish, self centered, lukewarm life and God ignore it. No, he won’t. To whom much is given? Much is required. To whom much knowledge is given. Much is required. And I would say if you’re a wise person, you will say to him today, Father, I want that kind of abiding, deep, yearning, thirsting, hungering for you in my heart, above everything else.

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ABOUT DR.CHARLESSTANLEY Dr. Charles F. Stanley joined the staff of First Baptist Church of Atlanta in 1969 and became senior pastor in 1971. In 1982, Stanley...

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