A while back, I was wandering through the cereal isle of our local grocery store and couldn’t help but wonder how many of the cereal varieties should actually be considered food. Sugar and artificial ingredients abound—in spite of all of their nutritional claims. A few more steps, and I entered the junk food section. The terminology, of course, speaks for itself.
Our bodies crave food, but not just any pile of nutrients will do—at least not in the long run. I can’t help but wonder how many of our health problems are due to the vast array of pseudo-foods that entice us. Thankfully, consumers are beginning to put more pressure on food producers in an effort to get them to clean up their act. Change can’t come quickly enough.
It’s common for the realities of our natural world to mimic those of the spiritual and, in this case, we find no exception. So much of what claims to satisfy our souls leaves us wanting, at best. Worse still, all too much of what we ingest is spiritually toxic.
Deep within each soul, there burns an unquenchable desire for more, for something of greater substance than anything this world can offer. I speak of a yearning that finds its satisfaction in one thing and one thing alone—the presence of God. Sadly, instead of feasting on the presence of God, many in the Western world seek their spiritual sustenance through entertainment. And while there is certainly nothing wrong with watching a ballgame or a good movie, a steady diet of these things will leave us filling momentarily full, but nutritionally starved.
In one sense, God is very near to all of us. At the same time, we can be separated from Him by an impassable void. To be dead in sin means to be spiritually separated from our Creator—even though we can almost reach out and touch Him. Those who attempt to appease God by living up to law-driven standards may even recognize His existence, but will know Him only from a distance.
Christ’s death on the cross was a game changer! When an individual enters into a New Covenant relationship with God, the Holy Spirit enters that person’s heart and becomes one with his or her spirit, bringing it to life. Salvation gives birth to a oneness far exceeding any level of human intimacy. What an amazing thought! The very presence of the Holy Spirit can live within us! That the Creator of the Universe would choose to dwell in the hearts of imperfect, sin-prone humans is one of the great mysteries of all time.
I cannot imagine that God would want to dwell in our hearts without also desiring to make His presence known to us and so it is through the manifestation of God’s presence that He somehow becomes tangible to us, enabling us to sense His nearness. Absolutely nothing can compare!
As a Christian, I am ever so thankful that God’s presence dwells within me, but I am hungry for more of Him. I know that He is always with me, but I want to be with Him, living according to His ways and allowing Him to manifest Himself in increasing measures. No high can compare to tasting the sweetness of the One who designed us!
But the manifestation of God’s presence in the life of a believer is not automatic. Only those who focus their hunger and thirst toward God will be filled. And as the soul’s hunger is satisfied through God’s presence, the previously “indispensable” things of this earth begin to lose their appeal. Those who feast upon filet mignon have little appetite for greasy hot dogs. In the same way, those who delight in the presence of God will begin to lose their appetite for the unsatisfying menu offered by this present world.
The person who walks with God understands that the solitude of the wilderness can have a refreshing quality. As distractions begin to fade, we can better train our attention to seek His face. May we never despise quiet or obscure seasons, for in the quiet solitude of the wilderness our Savior dwells. I don’t know about you, but I want to know and experience more of my Creator!