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Training Your Appetite (Psalm 42)

As the deer pants for the water brooks, so pants my soul for You, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.

-Psalm 42:1-2a

Where is your place of rest? Where does your soul find peace and relief in this life? This is a question that is easy to rush into answering. However, we would be wise to take time considering it regularly. In daily life and the reality of my existence, where do I go when I am worn out or restless? Where does my thirsty soul run for a drink? I believe each of us will find it is somewhere, something, or someone. We must ask, is it the right “somewhere”? Is it the right “Someone”? God is working, even earnestly desiring that our refuge, our water brook, our place of refreshment and strength, is found in Him alone.

Do you notice Him gently steering you into His presence, back to His Word? Do you sense the little nudges of the Holy Spirit turning your face back to seek His? Do you find Him showing you how very empty and useless every other fountain is? When we are independent of the cleansing power of His Word and the restoring power of His presence in prayer, we should thank God if He allows us to be downtrodden, unfruitful, stuck in a rut, or desperate. God is jealous for your heart and your worship, and in those disappointing moments, He turns you from idolatry. In love He says, “I wonder why you wandered from the Fountain of Living Waters to make for yourself a broken cistern that can never quench your thirst.” Are you not much more satisfied when you taste the sweet Spirit of Jesus?

God’s jealousy relentlessly insists on forming wholehearted devotion in His people. Proverbs 27:4 declares that, “Wrath is cruel and anger a torrent, but who is able to stand before jealousy?” There are times and situations in which God must display wrath and anger, yet they last “but for a moment” (Psalm 30:5). But His jealousy is everlasting. He will pursue and pursue; no matter how many times we fail the test, He is willing to give it again, to shape and press the clay. He persists. He deserves to be the love of our lives, the object of our affection, more treasured in our hearts than the most excellent spouse. He is jealous that we choose Him as our only Fountain, our only daily bread.

When Paul the Apostle wrote, “the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men,” he also gave a divinely-inspired picture of how God’s grace trains our appetites. Grace is actively “teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age” (Titus 2:11-12). We refuse to feed on certain things that, to the world, are fine, fun, and exciting. We cultivate a different appetite, a heavenly nourishment that never fails.

The alternative to God is a dangerous enemy of God. Whatever it is that dulls spiritual hunger and numbs the soul is an intruder interfering with our closeness to an infinite, intimate God. That thing should not be tolerated any more than a harlot sent to break up a godly marriage. 

Remember this: Jesus came to “redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works” (2:14). Is there a single trace of a lawless deed left in your life? He is still jealous for you, and He is still working. He weans us from every poisonous stream and draws us back to the waters of life.

Believer, how He longs for you! How greatly He suffered just to secure your undivided love! All the peace, hope, strength, life, joy, and goodness you so desire are right there in fellowship with Him, just beyond the veil of distraction, worry, doubt, discouragement, and burden. Press through the veil; He has already torn it with His blood. Are you thirsty? Run to Him; tell Him about it. Declare to Him, and remind yourself, that He is your water brook. Jesus said, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink.” Allow Christ to quench your thirst. Then, join Him in intercession for others. You will find Him there, helping you and hearing you, because “He always lives to make intercession for them” (Hebrews 7:25).

-Pastor Alex

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