Thursday, June 27, 2013

Wanting God Isn't Enough

I'm in the middle of reading "I became a Christian and all I got was this lousy t-shirt" by Vince Antonucci.  That is a really long title.  I heard the author speak at a conference I attended last summer, and really enjoyed him.  His past is more than a little colored, and he isn't your normal pastor.  Yet this book and the message I heard that day tell me this; Vince Antonucci is passionate about his relationship with God, and spreading that passion to others.

One of the chapters in the book is called "Hungry", in which Antonucci discusses the need to hunger for God, and what that hunger feels like.  He describes it in different ways, which I won't get into.  A lot of what you find in this chapter you can find in other books as well, though maybe not with the flow and humor in this book.

What really struck me started about half-way through the chapter.  In it, he says this:

"We assume that wanting it is enough, that being hungry for God will automatically lead to being filled with God.  But the more I think about that, the more I realize how strange an idea this really is.  I mean, we can't just want to be in good shape physically and it automatically happens.  We can't just want to get good grades in school and it automatically happens.  We can't just want to have a great relationship with our spouse and it automatically happens.  Everything important in life takes some work, some discipline, so why should it be any different with God?  Yes, we need to want it, we need to be hungry.  But being hungry is not enough."  

Now, this may seem pretty obvious, and I guess it is.  But as I've led, pastored and grown myself through the years, I can testify to this; wanting something is different than pursuing it.  God doesn't say He will bless those who want Him.  He says he will bless those who pursue Him.  In Jeremiah's prophecy, God states "You will seek Me and find me.  When you seek me with all your heart."  This is not a hunger alone, but a hunger which leads to pursuing.

The Apostle Paul also recognizes this, telling us he is "pressing on" toward the goal of Jesus Christ.  He doesn't simply hunger.  While hunger is important, we have to remember that this is only the first step toward getting more of God.  We are going to actually have to do something about that hunger.

Antonucci ends this section by saying this:

"I'm hungry for God, but going from being hungry to being full would take blocking out some time and really spending it with him reading my Bible, or maybe it would take getting into a small group at church, or reading a book about prayer.  And I'm not willing, or I'm lazy, or it's just that I have a lot of other things to do, and so I'm starving spiritually.  I'm disappointed with my Christian life, and I'm blaming it on God."

So are you hungry?  What are you going to do about it?  

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