On a daily basis we engage in many activities – sleeping and waking, going to school or work; sitting in meetings, taxiing kids, caring for aging parents, exercising, watching TV, the list goes on and on.
And throughout the day you also find yourself getting hungry. This is your body’s way of triggering the normal physiological need to eat. Eating provides our bodies with the fuel and energy needed to remain healthy and active. There is another sensation other than hunger also associated with eating; the desire to eat, called appetite. Sometimes our desire to eat is due to hunger, other times, simply because we’ve seen or smelled appealing foods. What causes us to feel hungry? When you eat, the hormone leptin is released into your body, causing a decrease in the motivation to eat. As your body begins to run low on fuel, leptin levels decrease, triggering another hormone (ghrelin) to be released, increasing your sensation of hunger.
It is our appetite (desire to eat) that so often gets us into trouble, not our hunger (need to eat.) Next time you say that you are “hungry,” ask yourself if it is your body telling you it needs refueled, or is it just a craving, habit, the availability of food, or some other social or emotional factor?
We are told in scripture that we should be hungry for reading and digesting God’s Word. We need to regularly ingest (take it in, absorb it) scripture in order to digest it (use it for our benefit). When God was instructing Joshua about how the Israelites would take possession of the Promised Land, He included an important instruction to Joshua. Here is what we read in Joshua 1:8 – “Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.”
Jesus called himself the “bread of life” (John 6:33-35), promising that whoever comes to Him will never be hungry or thirsty. In what are known at the Beatitudes, Jesus says this – “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled (Matthew 5:6).” “Hunger and thirst” vividly expresses a deep longing. It is more than just a casual desire; it is an active desire. The Greek word used in this verse for “filled” is chortazo; which comes from the root word for a place where grasses grow and animals go to graze. The image is to feed with herbs, grass, hay, to fill, satisfy with food, to fatten.
If we hunger and thirst after the right things, we are promised to be filled. (Isaiah 55:1-2)
New Bern, North Carolina