Do you get cranky when you are hungry? When I go too long without eating, I become light-headed and my thinking grows foggy. My spirit is willing, but my flesh is weak.
A few years ago, the makers of Snickers candy bars produced a series of humorous commercials bearing the tagline, “You’re not you when you’re hungry.” The first of these TV spots, featuring aging actors Betty White and Abe Vigoda as inept athletes playing in a pick-up football game, was rated the number one Super Bowl ad for 2010 in a USA Todaypoll.
While the most nutritious remedy isn’t a Snickers bar, we’re truly not at our best when we’re hungry—and this is true in the realm of the soul. Spiritual hunger makes people do foolish things, but it also can motivate them to search for God.
In Jesus’ parable about the lost son, the prodigal left home and traveled to a distant country where he squandered his wealth in wild living. Then, “after he had spent everything, there was a severe famine in that whole country, and he began to be in need” (Luke 15:14). That’s what happens when we run away from our heavenly Father. The fruit of sin tastes sweet at first, but eventually a famine sets in.
The Desperation Behind the Debauchery
Do you ever feel like our society has lost its collective mind? Moral values are being turned upside down. In Isaiah’s time there were truth twisters who tried to “call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter” (Isaiah 5:20). There was a famine in the land, but it was “not a famine of food or a thirst for water, but a famine of hearing the words of the Lord” (Amos 8:11).
It makes me angry to see Scripture ignored and dangerous ideas normalized, but anger shouldn’t be my only response. I also grieve because the church has failed to disciple people well. Spiritual starvation leads to desperate measures. If you’re hungry enough, you’ll eat from a garbage can; and if you have never been taught God’s wholesome truth, you’ll search for sustenance wherever you can find it. Most of us would show extra grace to someone who is physically starving. How do we treat our neighbors who are spiritually famished?
Viewing others with compassion doesn’t change what is right and wrong, but it helps us understand the desperation behind the debauchery. Signs of spiritual malnutrition abound. Unfulfilled desires for healthy intimacy devolve into sexual immorality. Emotional and sexual abuse lead to anger and mistrust. Drug and alcohol addiction plague far too many families, claiming impressionable children among their victims. Individuals who have been mistreated by authority figures have trouble respecting leaders and working well with others. Is it surprising when folks who haven’t been taught the Bible act unbiblically?
People are starving for God. If you’re weary of all the crazy things happening in our culture, don’t despair. Yes, we must fight for truth, but our enemy is the devil, not those he has deceived. Yes, it’s heartbreaking to see biblical truth ignored and rejected. But the
rumbling means people are hungry for God and their stomachs are growling. Our job isn’t to attack them. Our job is to feed them.
David Faust serves as the Associate Minister at East 91st Street Christian Church in Indianapolis, Indiana.
Lesson study ©2018, Christian Standard Media. Lesson based on The Lookout’s Scope and Sequence ©2018. Scripture quotations are from the New International Version, ©2011, unless otherwise indicated.
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