In Jesus’ first public sermon, He gave us the “blessed” message. That message includes one of the sweetest promises of Scripture: “Blessed are the pure in heart—for they shall see God” (Matthew 5:8).
In Matthew 5:6 there is another promise that is a companion to the purity in heart blessing: “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.”
We all experience hunger. Our physical hunger is really a parallel to what happens in the depths of our heart when we experience soul-hunger. What I’m calling “Soul-hunger” began in the garden of Eden, right after eating the forbidden fruit. Soul-hunger is the consequence of sin and it’s what drives the addict to desire “MORE” of what is destroying their souls (and bodies).
- “Soul-Hunger” is what drives the forty year old woman to practice “cutting” in an attempt to relieve her pain.
- “Soul-Hunger” is what drives the teen to take her first smoke, to please the crowd she runs with.
- “Soul-Hunger” is what drives the woman with bulimia to binge eat and then throw up.
But, hunger for righteousness will destroy the strongholds of addiction. Hunger for righteousness comes to those who taste deeply of Christ—and that satisfies “Soul-Hunger.”
A precious young woman that I’ve discipled for years, has run the gamut of addictions from food, body image, boys, to crystal meth . . . imprisoned by the bondage of soul hunger within her. Several years ago, while she was trying to establish a disciplined walk with the Lord, she asked me . . . “Why?”
“I love Jesus, but . . . Why do I still crave cigarettes? Why do I still crave the drugs? Why do I crave things that will destroy me?”
The short and simple answer: “You’ve not yet tasted deeply enough of Christ.”
Jesus promised us that hungering and thirsting for righteousness will bring satisfaction and blessing. But for those who’ve been filling their mouths with the gravel of stolen pleasures for years, they need to have their cravings changed through drinking the refreshing Living Water (Prov. 20:17).
“Soul hunger” can be the result of deep pain, a horrific trauma, rejection or loss . . . “soul hunger” can lead to addictions. The one in pain reaches for something that will bring comfort: a relationship, food, alcohol, drugs . . . even “moral” things like church activity.
Anything that we turn to for comfort or to try to satisfy that soul hunger, other than the completion that Christ offers, is turning to idols.
At the end of this post, I’ll include links to several blog posts on this topic, and I hope you’ll find those helpful. They include examples of how to recognize what we use as “god-substitutes” or idols in our lives . . . things that lead to addictions and bondage, and how to apply the Word to receive deliverance from those strongholds.
“Our addictions reflect our heart’s inclination to kneel before other gods that can do nothing for us, dissatisfied with the one true God.” (Adorned p. 138)
You may be reading this and you know that you struggle with hidden addictions, something no one knows about, something you’d be ashamed for others to know . . . and the enemy has you so covered with shame and condemnation that you can’t imagine ever being free from that addiction.
I want to send you a word of truth and hope today . . .
Jesus can set you free! That’s what He came for, to set the captives free!
He is the God who raises the dead, and He is able to deliver you from addiction’s death grip.
But we must “play an active part in our liberation—by choosing to set our affection on Christ.” When we choose WHO or what we LOVE, choosing WHO or what we worship—that determines whether we live in freedom or bondage.
This is why being in the Word is so important . . . not for women to check a box of duty, or to gain more academic knowledge . . . but to see Christ more fully, to comprehend the majesty and wonder of God . . . and through that to be moved to a place of reverence and awe, a place of worship! When we worship Him, that protects us from impurity of heart and mind . . . and we cannot give ourselves to false idols, to sinful pleasures, at the same time that we worship God.
We started today by looking at the promise for “the pure in heart;” they are those who are given the eyes to see beyond . . . to see the face of God, in the every day nitty-gritty-hard details of life, to sense Him there actively at work. Do you have eyes to see today?
For the weary woman who has tried and failed so many times, the woman who desires to “see God” to walk in the freedom that the Spirit provides, to live as a “sophron” woman whose mindset, emotions, tongue, and behavior is directed by wisdom rather than her own emotions . . . for that woman, Jesus has promised that He can do this, He’s got this!
[box]“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” (Luke 4:18–19)[/box]
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