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HomeSpiritual GrowthWhy Do We Hunger for Things That Don’t Satisfy?

Why Do We Hunger for Things That Don’t Satisfy?

What are you hungry for?

I’m hungry for an In n’ Out burger, animal-style. 

I’m hungry for pizza, especially when I am fasting. 

I’m hungry for a piece of chocolate right now, even though my stomach is full from the dinner I just ate.

I am hungry for knowledge. I am hungry for sex. I am hungry for power. I am hungry for approval. I’m hungry for friendship.

We hunger for many things. Many hungers are natural and must be filled, or we will suffer. Other hunger gets out of control and becomes destructive.

Sometimes we don’t know what our souls are hungry for, so we experiment with many things, hoping they will satisfy us. 

If I get a college degree, I’ll be satisfied. 

If I get a perfect partner, I’ll be satisfied

If I get a well-paying job, I’ll be satisfied. 

If I find the perfect high, that will satisfy me. 

While many of these are worthy goals that fulfill legitimate needs, they may leave us empty in our souls. 

Blaise Pascal

Blaise Pascal, a scientist and mathematician in the 1600s, wrote about a void in the human heart that only God can fill.

“All men seek happiness. This is without exception. Whatever different means they employ, they all tend to this end…A trial so long, so continuous, and so uniform should certainly convince us of our inability to reach the good by our own efforts…. What is it then that this desire and this inability proclaim to us, but that there was once in man a true happiness of which there now remains to him only the mark and empty trace, which he in vain tries to fill from all his surroundings, seeking from things absent the help he does not obtain in things present? But these are all inadequate because the infinite abyss can only be filled by an infinite and immutable Object, that is to say, only by God Himself.” 

Jesus talked about this centuries before Pascal lived.

After Jesus fed over 5,000 people in the wilderness with a small boy’s lunch, people were amazed and excited. He miraculously produced a lot of food out of a little. There was so much everyone ate as much as they wanted and there was plenty left over. (John 6:1–13)

Photo by mohamed hassouna on Unsplash

The next day after this astounding miracle, the people woke up desperate to find Him. They had seen His disciples take a boat to the other side of the lake, although Jesus had not been with them. Nevertheless, they got into boats to follow the disciples. They were surprised to find Jesus with the disciples and asked Him how He had gotten there. Jesus characteristically did not answer their question, but revealed their real motive in looking for Him. He said,

You are looking for me…because you ate the loaves and had your fill. Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. (John 6:26–27)

Maybe they considered Jesus as their free ticket to an easy life. Jesus saw a deeper need.

His words were radical. Everyone works for food for themselves and their families. Food is a basic need; without food, we cease to thrive and will eventually die. When we are hungry, we can’t think of much else but food. Yet, here, Jesus is saying that they shouldn’t work for perishable food. His exaggeration made them pay attention, no doubt.

Of course, he was using a basic human need to illustrate a higher, spiritual truth. Physical bread satisfies and sustains the body, but humans need more than that; otherwise, they will still be looking for something to fill the gnawing in their souls.

Jesus revealed this truth when confronting Satan in His wilderness temptation. Jesus had fasted for 40 days and nights and was hungry- starving, no doubt. Satan came to Him and tempted Him by saying,

“If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.” (Matthew 4:3)

Satan not only tempted Him to satisfy his hunger miraculously, but to prove who He was by doing a miracle. 

Jesus refused to take Satan’s enticement, knowing He owed His allegiance to God alone. He replied,

“It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” (Matthew 4:4)

Plain and simple: we need more than physical food. We need to feed on God’s words. Words from the Father’s mouth sustained Jesus. His Father’s words nourished His soul, and they were enough to give Him physical strength to resist the temptation to take things into His own hands.

Back to the hungry crowd. “Give us this bread,” they demanded.

Jesus, the Word, offered himself.

Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.” (John 6:35)

Once again, Jesus declared,

“But here is the bread that comes down from heaven, which anyone may eat and not die. I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats this bread will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.” (John 6:50–51)

Again, Jesus is using the physical to reveal the spiritual. His death would give us access to His bread. His death and resurrection prepared the way to receive the Bread of Life, the Word of God in our spirit. By His Spirit living in us, we eat and are satisfied. By His Spirit living in us, the written word, the Bible, becomes food for our souls.

You can eat the bread that satisfies the soul hunger that we all have. Just ask Jesus to give you His bread. 

Jesus did this for me: He satisfied the God-yearning in my soul.

A prayer: Lord Jesus, I am hungry for the bread of heaven. Forgive me for looking for other things to satisfy. I believe you died for me. You alone have the words of eternal life. Satisfy the hunger in my soul.

Salvation – Eternal Life in Less Than 150 Words

Please Read/Respond to Comments – on Medium

AuthorMaggie Carey | BCWorldview.org 


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