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Hungering and Thirsting for God - Pt. 2A

In Touch / Charles Stanley
The Truth Network Radio
December 12, 2023 12:00 am

Hungering and Thirsting for God - Pt. 2A

In Touch / Charles Stanley

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December 12, 2023 12:00 am

Material possessions may give temporary fulfillment, but only Jesus Christ can satisfy your soul.

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Welcome to the In Touch Podcast with Charles Stanley for Tuesday, December 12th.

Advertising capitalizes on the ability to generate dissatisfaction. Today's podcast reminds us genuine contentment and peace only come when we hunger and thirst for God. On any given day of your life, what is the strongest emotion you feel? Is it anger, bitterness, distrust, anxiety?

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?

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 how much we know about that person, it's going to affect how we feel toward them. 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 sixty-third Psalm and the first eight verses. He says, 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 that. He says, My soul clings to you. Your right hand upholds me. Those first couple of verses, He's expressing the yearning desire of His heart, as He says, as a person who would be in a desert longing for something to refresh. He says, I long for you.

I earnestly seek you. Do you ever have that kind of feeling toward 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. You see, to so many people, God is a stranger. Even though they believe in Him, they think He's up yonder somewhere. He's a stranger to them.

Emotionally, they feel shame oftentimes and guilt and sinful and undeserving and most of the time probably not full of gratitude and trust and love and gentleness and kindness, which God expresses toward all of us. The issue is what do I know about Him? What do I think about Him?

How do I relate to Him? Does He really want an intimate relationship with me? Does He want a relationship that blesses Him and blesses me at the same time? And the answer is yes, He does. And your response may be, but you just don't know who I am.

You don't know where I've been, what I've done. How could God want a relationship with me? Simply because He is God and that is His nature. 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's 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 a 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's told me about Him. I don't know anything about God. He's some stranger 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. And so I want us to think about in light of all that, why would God place a desire in your heart for this hungering, thirsting, yearning for Him, while on the one hand we say it's an insatiable desire, it's like it's never fully satisfied.

On the other hand, there's this awesome indescribable satisfaction and peace and contentment that comes when you begin to pursue Him and to build that kind of relationship. So why would God create that kind of relationship? Why would He create that kind of desire within our heart? Well, first of all, we have to ask ourselves the question, why did He create us to begin with? God created you and me. Now listen, don't judge this by you say, well, but I. It doesn't make any difference who you are, where you've been, what you've done.

Listen to this. He created you for the purpose of expressing His divine, unconditional, supernatural, all-encompassing, all-satisfying love towards you. And also that you and I would fall in love with Him to such a degree that we will love Him back, not as perfectly as He loves us, but love Him back.

And in so doing, build that relationship that is absolutely indescribable. A second reason He put that in our life is because He knows that in order for us to follow His plan, to receive the best and to have the best in life, and to become the persons we ought to be and accomplish the things that He wants us to accomplish in life, then He knows that absolutely essential to that is this intimate relationship with Him whereby we can listen to Him, we can feed from Him, we can hear Him, speak to Him and develop a relationship that is all-encompassing and all-satisfying no matter what. A third reason that He has created us with that desire in our heart is simply this. He already knows and has foreseen the consequences when a person does not nurture this God-given hunger for Him. He sees the circumstances. He sees the effect, the impact upon that person's life.

He knows that we would be disappointed, disillusioned. He knows that oftentimes in life when a person comes through that stage of life that they live with disappointments because people disappoint them. They live with insecurities because there's no real basis for their security. And oftentimes they make decisions that are very painful and very costly. And they face the future without a sense of real happiness and peace and joy, contentment and genuine security that somebody's taken care of them.

Has anyone ever said to you, I don't have anybody, I don't seem to have a future, I'm just here. And I want to assure you, it doesn't make any difference where here is to you. There is a Heavenly Father who is a God of love and goodness and mercy and kindness who is willing to take you at this very moment, any moment you surrender your life to Him and build with you a relationship that you could never imagine, you could never describe so long as you live.

And you can guess about it, you can read about it, you can hear about it, but you know what? You will never understand it until you experience it. And I'm simply saying to you, it doesn't make any difference where you've been in life, where you are, where you're going.

It doesn't make any difference what sin has been in your life or maybe the other day. The question is, do you want to step out of all that? You want to stop being disappointed with yourself, disillusioned with life, want to give up and quit. If you'll listen carefully, I'll tell you how you can build the most awesome relationship with your Heavenly Father that you would never dream of because you look at yourself and think about that He's a holy, righteous, loving God. How could He ever want to have any kind of relationship with you? And all of us meet people every day, at least oftentimes in our life, who feel unaccepted, unloved and unwarranted. And so it's difficult to build a relationship with them because they close you out, they shut you out, they build walls and pull down the shade and you reach in and they just keep it down, keep the wall built up.

Why? Because they don't feel worthy. They don't feel acceptable. They have not accepted themselves. They do not love themselves.

They don't really love anybody because you see, till you start loving yourself in a godly fashion, it'd be very difficult for you to love someone else. And so God is up to something good. He wants to be up to something good in every single one of our lives.

Now, let's think for a moment. When we think about what it means to have this hungering and thirsting relationship with Him and looking at ourselves and asking, how could God possibly do that? Remember, it is the nature of God to love.

So this is something that you don't have to get God to start loving you. He's loved you from the beginning. And what He wants to do is to make this a reality, that His purpose for creating you is for Him to express His love towards you and to help you to become the person He wants you to be and to accomplish the things in life He wants you to accomplish.

That's what His goal is. He knows that in order for that to happen, His relationship with you, your relationship with Him must be right. So with that in mind, let's think about this whole idea because when you think about all the reasons, there are many reasons that He wants to build this relationship with us.

One of them is certainly this. God knows that when you and I have this intimate, loving relationship with Him that is more personal, more satisfying, more complete, more secure than any human relationship on the earth, He knows that relationship is the greatest, strongest shield in our life when we're tempted or when we're tried and we're tempted to give up. He knows that that relationship will see us through every storm of life. He knows that relationship will fill us and overflow us and protect us in the strongest times of temptation. And when the storms of life begin to hurl around us and we don't know which way to turn, He knows this relationship is like an anchor. It steadies us. It anchors us down. No wind can blow you off course when you have an intimate, loving, hungry, thirsting relationship with your Heavenly Father.

This much I know. I don't know, many of you, but this much I do know that my Heavenly Father loves you unconditionally, wants to build a loving relationship with you and help you to become the person you ought to be and want to be and help you to accomplish the things in life that He set out for you. He has a good plan for you. He has the best plan for you.

The route's already cut out. He knows exactly what to do, how to get you where you are. But you know what?

It'll never happen till this relationship with Him, listen, begins and is pursued. And what you have to decide is this, do I want the best God has to offer? Yes, I know. Do I want to be able to achieve those things in life that God has set out for me?

Yes, I know. And if you do, if you will listen carefully, you will develop that relationship. Now, we said these are the reasons that He has created within us that desire, that awesome desire, this passion for Himself, this desire to know Him, to be close to Him, to sense His presence every day of our life. No matter what we are facing, to know that He's there. The awareness of, listen, that He's reliably there.

I can always trust that He's going to be there. And the more intimate that relationship, the less fears I have. The more intimate that relationship, the greater joy and peace and happiness in life.

So what we have to ask is if that be true, then how do we develop it? But before we talk about how to develop that relationship, let's distinguish between a hunger for God and a hunger for the things of the world. Because you see, that's where most people are. If you have a hunger and thirst for God, here's what's going to happen. You can't get enough of Him. You want to know Him more. You feel driven to some degree. This longing, this pulling, this tugging at your heart. Something inside of you will not let you be happy.

Something inside of you will not let you be satisfied with what you know about Him. There's something on the inside that's stirring and moving. The Spirit of God stirs our heart, creates within us this hunger. If when we nourish what the Spirit of God creates, what happens? We begin to move in the direction that God wants us to move in. Something begins to happen in our heart. Something begins to happen in our whole life. God begins to change and alter the course of our thinking and what we do and how we spend our time in every aspect of our life.

So, let's think about it for a moment. When we say longing and hungering and thirsting for God, there's this deep inside of us that wants Him. Now, let's compare that with a lack of hunger and thirst for God. Well, you're going to hunger and thirst for something. That motivation, that desire is in our heart, all desires are not wrong.

But let's think about it for a moment. Let's exclude God out of your life for a second. Then what do you want? You want material things that are only temporary.

You want relationships that are not really founded on that which is sound, good, godly and lasting. You want the pleasures of life that gratify you for the moment and you'd like for them to gratify you forever, but they can't. The problem is without Him, all that ends up in disappointment because listen, you can't get enough stuff, material things. You can't buy enough stuff. You can't have enough money.

You can't have enough relationships to fill the place God has designed only for Himself in your life. You cannot. And I can challenge you at this point. You can't show me anyone who has the peace and joy and happiness and contentment that I'm speaking of and the security in this life and the life to come, who's living their lives feeding and feasting on the stuff that the world has to offer which cannot satisfy the human heart. It can't. God didn't make us that way. And so when we think about the hungers that the world has versus the hunger that God wants us to have for Him, it always ends up disappointing.

And here's what happens. And this is one of the deceptive things. Sometimes we think what would really satisfy us is somebody. There's no such thing as any one man or any one woman in the whole world ever meeting all of a person's needs. Or as far as that goes, no number of people can meet all of a person's needs because I want to go back to say God created us in such a fashion only He satisfies the human heart.

And here's the mystery of it all. How can I be hungry and thirsty, yearning and clinging to Him and desiring Him in my life and at the same time have satisfaction, peace and joy and happiness and contentment? Because the very nature of this relationship is He's always pouring into us those things He knows that we need, those emotions and those feelings and those ideas that He knows we need. Those things give us the assurance and the confidence and the hope. And what does that do?

It just creates more hunger. And I think about it so often when people win great rewards and rightly so because of the labor they put in or the skill that they have. Isn't it interesting how they can be a hero for today or maybe a year? But then what happens? And this is why what we're seeing oftentimes in people who have lots and lots and lots of money, lots of prominence and prestige and position very early in life. You know what happens? Here's what happens. They don't even realize this. Their emptiness and their insecurity and their lack of feeling loved and being able to love and this sense of still wanting but can't identify, this mysterious something out there they can't get their hands on, can't put their arms around it. It's like a shadow that comes and goes in their life. And what happens? Because they have decided to avoid the one person, one relationship in their life that can bring them all their heart desires.

They just end up being empty and dissatisfied, making very costly decisions. You see, you ignore God, you ignore the best. You try to walk around Him and you miss God's best in your life. And I say to you, I challenge you to find me any person.

No matter how wealthy, prominent, prestigious, it makes no difference. Without God, who is happy, who has joy, contentment, a sense of acceptance, and feeling loved by God, they do not. You cannot.

It is impossible. Thank you for listening to Hungering and Thirsting for God. If you'd like to know more about Charles Stanley or In Touch Ministries, stop by intouch.org. This podcast is a presentation of In Touch Ministries, Atlanta, Georgia.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-12-12 02:42:03 / 2023-12-12 02:49:53 / 8

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