The Deficient Theology of the Hungry

     If there’s anywhere I think we Charismatics have consistently gone wrong in our theology it is in the area of “hunger preaching.” People are constantly talking about “being hungry for more of God” as if that is a requirement for healthy spirituality. We must always be desperate, always be thirsting, always be “pressing in deeper.” Why? Because supposedly what we already have is just a teaser of God’s Presence in our lives.

     The Bible verse referenced most often for this kind of teaching is Matthew 5:6, which reads, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled.” The way this verse is interpreted, it is assumed that none of us are sufficiently righteous already. We are still lacking in fullness, lacking in sanctification, lacking in union with God. We need more of the fire to cleanse us, more of the anointing to make us feel connected to God, more of the glory to at last fill us up with what we’ve been missing out on. This is supposedly evident by the fact that we don’t see all the hospitals around us getting cleared out by healing evangelists, all the stadiums being filled with spontaneous revival meetings, and all the riverbanks and shorelines filled with new converts constantly being baptized. If we really had it together with God, He would open the heavens for us and we’d actually start to walk in His power (finally).

     The problem with this line of thought is it starts from a place of lack rather than a place of fullness. It tells us we are super deficient, rather than complete in Christ like the apostle Paul taught us. It sets us up to live a very driven, need-focused lifestyle — often overextending ourselves in fasting, prayer, and event-attending-hype in order to pursue the next level of impartation and breakthrough. It undermines any sound teaching on the virtues of contentment, restfulness, or self-care. Meanwhile it underscores the lie of the enemy that says “you will never have enough and never be enough.”

     I am someone who is legitimately all for the wildness of the Holy Spirit. I love the crazy, intense manifestations. I love to challenge people to receive good gifts more freely from God, to expose themselves to different ways He is moving on the earth, and to ever grow more familiar with His Presence. I understand that all of this often takes risk, patience, endurance, and intentionality. The life of a revivalist is an adventure and a constant learning experience.

     One thing we do not need though while we are on this adventure is to live hungry and thirsty. Orphans live hungry. Orphans do not get fed enough to have a full belly. But we are children of the King. We have bellies so full they are overflowing with springs of living water! We are the temple of the Living God! And we are already as righteous as it gets, because we have received Christ’s righteousness as our own.

     Nothing could be more satisfying.

     It is perfectly possible to live a thriving spiritual life — growing in the knowledge of God, becoming increasingly activated in His gifts, expecting Him to move in new and surprising ways — and still be 100% satisfied. In fact, I would like to suggest that dissatisfaction can be more of an indicator of spiritual immaturity than of readiness for what God wants to do next. Dissatisfaction often gets our eyes off the finished work of the Cross and onto ourselves. It calls us to look at where we might be failing and to constantly wish we were more resolved to really be radical for God now. That only leads to a broken cycle that always ends in disappointment.

     Worse yet, our constant hunger keeps us from fully appreciating the beauty of how present and active God is in the here and now. The spiritual and emotional highs He gives us can’t be properly enjoyed for what they are, merely because they don’t often lead to instant and immediate transformation in all the areas we have been contending for. If an encounter did meet a significant need, we know there is still an endless sea of more needs yet to be contended for… It’s an exhausting schema.

     My advice; give up entirely on trying to get more hungry for God. Don’t stop making healthy changes in your life where you need to. Don’t stop engaging in spiritual warfare. Don’t stop indulging yourself in enjoying God’s Presence and revelations. Don’t stop getting out of your comfort zone to be used of Him in a manner that stretches your faith. Do great exploits to demonstrate His love and spread His fame. Just do all that stuff completely, entirely satisfied in the love of God.

You are enough.

Christ in You is enough.

Holy Spirit indwelling you is MORE than enough.

     Let your confidence in those truths redefine all of what you are reaching for. Then, join with the Psalmist and declare, “I shall not be in want.”

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Give In To His Pull

     God is SO good. It’s insane.

     That said, sometimes it is easy for us to underestimate just how insane His goodness is. Heartache, distractions, hurry, and insecurity can all keep us from seeing the full scope of how gloriously good and kind and present God is in our lives. That’s where spiritual disciplines come in.

     Spiritual disciplines, if done free of a motive of compulsion and performance-orientation, can be so enriching. They open our eyes to the wonder and awe of the beauty that is God-with-us. They help us savor life and squeeze all the juice out of it. They help us more fully “taste and see that HE IS GOOD.”

     I personally love to practice any kind of spiritual discipline that slows me down and helps me notice where the Lord is moving in my life. For this reason I almost daily write an extended list of ways that I am grateful that God has given me fresh joy, or that He has spoken to me, or that He has touched me or proven He is showering His favor on me. It’s amazing how many times I will realize that I almost completely forgot how active He has been in my life because I was too busy living it. If I pause to consider it all though, it actually seems like I have the best history with Him possible!

     I also love to practice adoration — singing out or speaking out to Him all that I love about who He is and how He treats me. It’s funny, sometimes it feels like it is going to be work for me before I start. As soon as I get rolling with it though I find so much joy and pleasure in the moment. Simultaneously I feel His rich affection poured back on me much stronger.

     It’s also been a big blessing for me to get used to practicing quiet contemplative prayer. I get away by myself and just rest in silence, breathing in and breathing out. I mindfully take note of all my stray thoughts and anxieties — just noticing them, not judging them. I am then re-centered on the fact that I am held by my Father’s embrace and that I am His delight. Thought it’s often a struggle to wind down, I grow conscious that He and I are simply together. It is the sweetest form of quality time.

     All of this then translates into a life where I am often noticeably more gentle, patient, loving, confident, and Spirit-led than I would be had I not otherwise purposefully given Jesus my focus for a while. Most of all, I appreciate my day and my connection with the Lord throughout it better.

     I encourage you, be intentional about carving out space to be with yourself, your thoughts, your heart and with the precious Holy Spirit. Invite His leadership and His voice into your day. Lift your own voice to His ears. Let the love between you be nurtured and more fully enjoyed. He saved you for this very purpose — because He wants you all to Himself. For your benefit and for His intense happiness, give into His pull on your soul.

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Meet John Crowder

Back around 2006 – 2010 I was super caught up in the “Prophetic Movement.” I had experienced God’s supernatural power in dramatic ways as a child, and this new movement was exporting tons of teaching on how to continue to explore the ways God speaks and touches people today. It was really exciting to me.

The problem was, I still didn’t know the Gospel that well. And most of the leaders of the Prophetic Movement had a very limited concept of what the Gospel actually was.

Thankfully, I discovered a YouTube preacher named John Crowder. He was popular in the Prophetic Movement for a short time, until he really started to expound on the root of all prophetic experiences — the Gospel of Grace. Crowder began to preach exclusively on the goodness of God as it was revealed at the Finished Work of the Cross. This was uncomfortable for those who liked him just for the Holy Spirit manifestations that he had been walking in.

By some miracle I continued to listen to Crowder even when it constantly challenged me. Over time he became one of the most influential thought leaders in my life.

I would like to introduce you to John Crowder as well. If you’re up for it, check out the following videos from his YouTube Channel. The first is an introduction, and the three following that are classics of his that I have watched over and over.

If you like them, subscribe to his channel and continue to let your brain-washing deepen. You will not regret going through the detox this Good News brings!