Tuesday, January 24, 2017

LEGACYouth: The "Fast" Track

Recently, I had a conviction: I may be leading youth to truth, but am I leading them to awe of who God is? I may be giving factual, credible evidence as to why reading the Word, praying, to having quiet time with God will benefit your relationship with God, but am I passionately modeling a life prostrate before him?

As I considered the answers to these questions, I couldn't help but return to what we’ve been discussing this month on spiritual hunger. But before I continue, let me just say there are a lot of personal definitions of spiritual hunger out there. While many do a great job of capturing the beauty of desire, not as many capture how blessed we are to confront and rise above our depravity. Why? I’m not sure. All I know is that a genuine hunger for God cannot be separated from a purified fear of him (i.e. loving what God loves, hating what God hates) which, in turn, cannot be separated from how we were divinely created. Oh, how awesome it is knowing we were made to spiritually crave our Creator. It is indeed a wonder in and of itself.

Now, as mentioned two weeks ago, when we spiritually hunger, it means our appetite is centered on God and his righteousness (see fourth Beatitude). While an awareness of our sin is often enhanced to the extent we pursue God, so is an awareness of how we walk in freedom from it. So it’s worth noting how hunger’s design for fallen man is to, in part, help him receive grace as he ‘goes and sin no more’.

Still, when it comes to righteousness, there are many full of complacency with respect to it and many full of distraction surrounding it (see parable of the ten virgins). For others, they are full of their own righteousness (self-righteousness - a deception that says, ‘I’m not hungry…I’m not thirsty’ when deep down you are those things).

Yet, with spiritual hunger, we can be consumed by God’s love, we can enjoy a hearty appetite for more of him (his goodness and godliness), and we can delight in learning the right time for anything and everything. Why? Because again…spiritual hunger leads us to places where the light can come on in our heart. I don’t know about you, but I’d rather be an on fire, illuminated believer of truth than one who’s content on being faint, who has to pretend to come across as more hopeless than he actually is.

Seriously guys, I want to lit for Jesus! And you can quote me on that, tweet it out, put it on a t-shirt…whatever. I want to be lit for my maker...to be more in awe of him than I already am. Yeah, I know it may be easy to feel intimated whenever you sense this welling up within you, but I'm here to tell you today there is no shame or condemnation in confessing you need more of Jesus because every day we live we need more of Jesus. It's how and why we were made!

Still, some of you may be sittin’ there feeling down. Ah, but Cam, my hunger after righteousness is so weak; I don’t think it’s legit.

My answer:  Even if a pulse is weak, it shows there is still life. So if one’s spiritual hunger is also weak, it should not be ignored. Why? Because unlike a Bethlehem Motel 6 on the night of Christ’s birth, there’s room waiting to be filled…for space to be occupied…an opportunity for that weak pulse to get stronger.

Thus, I submit if you’re empty in any form right now, that’s a good place to be ‘cause that means God has something to pour into you; however, at the end of the day, you still gotta make the call if and how much you accept from him.

Think of it this way: if God is a God of mercy, if he’s truly able to put up with our crap on a daily basis, why not turn it all over to him? If he can take it, if he can handle it, why disallow him to do that which only he can do? If you're sitting here today wanting to be more in awe of Christ and point people in that direction, does it not make sense to trust the fact our God is a good, good Father who will always provide for us even in the times we’re lost, parched, and desperate for living water (see 6:30 in clip below)?

For some of you, you may have empty containers this morning. For others, you may have dirty ones not only in need of filling, but cleaning as well. Still for some, you may be overflowing and thus have more to give. Wherever you find yourself, I want to encourage you as we enter in this time of fasting as a church.

No matter how full or how empty you are, God wants to reveal more of his awesomeness to you in this season. He wants to fill you with awe as deep cries out to deep. He wants to empower and encourage you to know his fullest even if you’re hesitant, if you doubt you can handle it.

Remember: it’s not about you being able to handle it, but relying on God to expand the tent pegs of your appetite. So as you fast this week, you may hunger physically (or emotionally), but know in those moments, God is giving you an opportunity to know him deeper still. So whatever you choose to sacrifice, know it infinitely pales to the joy of discovering the one who made the ultimate sacrifice. That, my friends, is what spiritual hunger is all about.
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Photo creds: 2016.lcmsyracuse.org
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