Michael Lombardo: "Holy Hunger"
“How filled you become when you are consumed with hunger and desire, for you will be completely satisfied” (Luke 6:21 TPT).
Do you hunger for the Lord’s presence? Do you long to know His heart? If so, the abundant life Jesus promised is at your fingertips. Far too many believers crave everything but God, and their lifestyles make this unfortunate fact as clear as day. If that’s you, repent and ask God to fill you with divine hunger. God never intended for hunger to be difficult to attain; in fact, it is a gift from God. Ask Him, and He’ll gladly give it to you. Your desire alone to hunger for God is proof that you have a measure of hunger that has the power to connect you to what you want and desperately need.
An amazing cycle occurs in the spiritual realm. God gives us hunger as a gift, and this hunger compels us to seek Him diligently—resulting in satisfaction and fulfillment. Along with the satisfaction comes more hunger, because it was just too good that you’d be crazy not to want more! Along with your fresh hunger comes and even deeper level of satisfaction and pleasure—and the cycle goes on and on. As Mike Bickle accurately explains:
“The Creator places longings within us which can only be answered by and in Him. He then answers the longings in part, giving us just enough satisfaction to sustain us in the pursuit, and leaving just enough of an ache to keep us on the journey. The nature of being wooed demands an ebb and flow of desire and satisfaction.”
Hunger is our escort into deep and lasting spiritual satisfaction. Suddenly, you begin to realize that you’re living far below your inheritance in Christ, and a blessing in disguise called “divine dissatisfaction” begins to set in. A spiritual stirring follows as you begin to hunger for more of God. This is a supernatural orchestration from God to woo your heart into the “deep cries out to deep” relationship He longs to have with you. On the other side of your hunger is an encounter with His glory.
The deceiver has duped the church into believing the lie of lack and distance. “For out of His fullness [the superabundance of His grace and truth] we have all received grace upon grace [spiritual blessing upon spiritual blessing, favor upon favor, and gift heaped upon gift]” (John 1:16 AMP). You lack nothing, child of God, and it is vital that you believe that. Faith and hunger go hand in hand in the kingdom. You must believe that you have everything you need in Christ, while simultaneously refusing to tolerate less than God’s best for you! Hunger divorced from faith becomes mere emotionalism, void of power to effect change. The type of hunger that Jesus spoke about in the Beatitudes is possessed with faith! Therefore, hunger and faith partner together to release the manifestation.
The only way to produce more hunger is to keep feasting on Him. All is provided friends. Eat freely and drink of His presence—drink until your heart’s content. Then drink some more!
What do you pray for?
Check your prayer life and see if most of your prayers consist of asking God for things. If you’re constantly making petitions, seeking promotions, praying for a spouse, more souls, a bigger house, a brand new car, etc., than your prayer life needs a serious makeover. It’s okay to ask Him for things, but you’ll only receive that which is according to His will. The more you seek His face over His hands the more your heart and God’s heart will become intrinsically synchronized and united as one entity. Your spirit is already one with God, now your mind, will and emotions are learning to align with that spiritual reality.
Before you know it, His will and desires will be melded into one with your will and desires. You’ll begin to hunger for whatever is God’s best for you. Prayer is meant to be personal. Thank Him for all His blessings. Sing songs of love and praise because of who He is. Dig into the Word of God and discover what it says about who you are and how He sees you. Speak in tongues and release His perfect will over your circumstances. Worship Him because He’s worthy of all your affection! Quiet your soul and meditate on His forever-enduring mercies.
In the beginning of everyone’s walk with the Lord, crying out to God for help, refuge, and blessings is quite common. But after you eat of Him, taste of His kindness towards you, and experience the riches of His wrap-around glory, your prayer life radically shifts. Instead of always praying for “things” your heart cry becomes, “all I want is more of You, Lord.” You recognize that His nearness is more important than anything else this world has to offer. Simply put, nothing beats Jesus.
What are you feeding on?
The reason so many believers can’t maintain spiritual hunger is because they are feeding themselves on so many other things. Whatever you feed on, you will hunger for.
If you’re constantly playing video games, that’s what you’ll crave. If you’re spending hours of your day scrolling through social media, every time boredom strikes or a split second of awkwardness arises in a social setting, you’ll run to your phone for refuge. In addition, if your mind is always thinking of sports, stats, fantasy football, and the like, you’ll constantly gravitate toward that like its second nature. Listen: there is nothing wrong with playing video games (depending on the game), and there is nothing evil about spending time on your smart phone (depending on what you’re looking at), and God isn’t against sports, but do you find yourself consumed with everything else besides Jesus? Are you finding time to think about Him, get into His Word, and worship Him in the splendor of holiness? Does the Lord cross your mind throughout the day, or only on Sunday mornings at church? There’s something wrong, saints of God, if you know the stats of every sports player you admire but can’t quote chapter and verse of your favorite Bible Scripture.
The more you feed on God’s Word and spend time in His presence, the more you will long for time with Him. When you do, discipline mystically transforms into a delight beyond comprehension. There have been times when the Lord told me to put down my phone and turn off social media because it was preoccupying all my time and attention. Don’t misunderstand me, I enjoy my smart phone, and social media is fine, but instead of wasting precious time scrolling down your screen for hours, you could be getting your face into His book, caught up in intimacy with the Holy Spirit.
There was a time when I was picking up odd jobs for a limo company to make a few extra dollars when I first got married to my wife, Selina. One night, I was waiting for the plane to land and passing time on social media. Out of nowhere, I heard the Holy Spirit speak to me, “You’re distracted and preoccupied with your phone when you could be spending time with Me.” Immediately, I put my phone down and started to pray. After a few minutes my mind drifted off again and out of habit I unconsciously picked up my phone. Realizing that my mind had wandered, I put my phone down again and I resumed praying. I started by simply thanking Him, praising Him, and speaking in tongues out loud. Suddenly, the Spirit took over and it wasn’t me praying anymore, but Christ praying through me. I was taken into a vision and I saw the Father sitting on His throne. He called me to Himself and I ran into His arms. Laughter filled His throne room as He held me tightly and hugged me again and again. I melted in His eternal embrace. My heavenly Father affirmed me with His love and uplifted me with His mighty presence. All was well with my soul.
Then Cambodia popped into my head. Thought after thought ran through my mind as I remembered words spoken and the wonderful time I had there ministering the year before. Suddenly, I knew that God was calling Selina and I to go to Cambodia and serve alongside a close friend’s ministry there for that upcoming season. All I could think about after that encounter was What if I didn’t respond to His invitation to come close? What if I shrugged it off and kept flipping through my phone occupying my time? How many words and revelations have I forfeited because of distraction and absorption with the temporal luxuries of life?
It doesn’t have to be evil for it to be an idol; it just needs to serve as a distraction that pulls you away from investing in your relationship with God.
A True Fast
A close friend of mine told me that he was fasting food once a week for three months in effort to get more “spiritual.” If you were wondering, by the way, that is the wrong type of fasting. My friend told me that he didn’t receive anything that he could remember from those times of separated fasting and prayer. However, the Lord did make one thing clear to him— he’d been spending too much time on the computer, watching movies, and playing video games.
He responded by pulling away from those things for a season and focused on spending time with the Lord instead. As a result, he found himself revolutionized by the truths, revelations, and personal breakthroughs he received in that time. He was dumbfounded by what he received through investing time and energy in his relationship with the Lord, instead of the innocent, yet time-consuming activities that previously distracted him. When he was telling me his story, Hosea 6:6 (NIV) came to mind, “For I desire mercy, not sacrifice, and acknowledgment of God rather than burnt offerings.”
The Lord doesn’t desire sacrifice—He desires acknowledgement of Him. Fasting isn’t about abstaining from food or any other natural pleasure. Fasting is primarily about recalibration. Many believers think they are gaining “brownie points” in heaven by fasting on a regular basis. It’s not your sacrifice that moves God; it’s your drawing near to Him. Throughout the Old Testament, God blessed the people with tenacity enough to simply acknowledge and believe in Him amid a perverse and unbelieving generation.
Fasting is good and holy when done right, and is meant to be about setting aside time to indulge in a blissful feast of union with Jesus Christ. For a time, give up whatever is stealing your devotion to Him who is worthy of it all. Feed your soul on God’s presence and Word and you’ll begin to hunger for Him day and night.
Jesus is stirring a holy appetite in His people for divine realities. He’s opening our eyes to see into the realm of the Spirit. Instead of storing up earthly treasures and focusing all our energy on building a natural kingdom, let’s place highest value on storing up heavenly treasures that will never rust or perish. After all, when we see Him face-to-face in eternity, all of our earthly pursuits apart from Him will turn to ash and amount to nothing.
My prayer is that you would have a holy hunger in your innermost being. I pray that you’d set yourself up for an encounter with Jesus Christ. Never neglect the secret place and continue to cultivate a lifestyle of seeking, knocking and asking with the Lord—because He’s promised to be found, answer, and give you all you’re asking for.