Appetite for Distraction
Luke 6:21 Blessed are you who are hungry now, for you shall be satisfied.
I occasionally meet those who are unsure of what their defects may be. This always astounds me as I have so many obvious ones. There are those out there though, who have no obvious struggle with pride, food, greed, drugs, anger or selfishness. They seem to live life well, avoiding any evident destructive behavior. Do they have no defects?
I think it is safe to promise this. We all have an appetite for something that distracts us from being who God wants us to be. None of us live a perfect life, pursuing God and obeying him as we should. So how do we know what our defects are?
Jesus said those who have an appetite for God are the blessed. Those who do not find their satisfaction in the flesh, remain needy and hungry. Those who need God, will pursue God. The opposite then is true as well. Those who pursue meaning, and satisfaction in anything other than God are distracted from God. They are blind to their need for God as they find (or attempt to find) meaning in their own pursuits.
The more obviously destructive my appetites are, then the more likely I am to recognize and confront them. I often say that though I am not thankful for the destruction I caused, I am profoundly thankful for my addiction as it revealed my need for God. If I had never known addiction, I would be living the same comfortable life, satisfied with my own success and never needing God. It was only in my desperation that I recognized my hunger for God.
The worst defect to have, I think, is the one which goes unrecognized, never being severe enough to address. Abraham loved his son Isaac above all, making him his god. God thus had to take radical steps to remove Isaac from that position. It was not that loving his son was evil. It was that Abraham loved him above God and thus, turned from God.
Make no mistake. Whatever appetite I pursue above God becomes my god. Anything that distracts from God is defective and destructive. It may be a secret lust that no one ever sees or it may be something that hides in plain sight. A successful career and family can be as devastating as drug addiction if it keeps me from pursuing God. The rich young ruler (Luke 18) lived a virtuous life but in the end, turned from God to keep his fortune. Success was his god and thus he had no appetite for the real God.
I must be painfully honest with myself. What do I pursue above all? Do I pursue God, or does my lack of hunger for him reveal that I find meaning and purpose elsewhere? The appetite I feed is the one that grows. If I spend my time and effort pursuing my career, that will be my god. If, however, I expend my life pursuing God, my appetite for him will grow as I come to love him and see my desperate need for him.
The Seeds of the Spirit is a daily blog based on a walk through the New Testament. Written from the perspective of my own addiction, it explores the common defects of our flesh nature and the solution, our spirit life. If you find it helpful, sign up for the blog as a daily email, tell your friends and like/share it on Facebook.