Every parent has heard this declaration from his or her child after a sporting event, school or church. I’m hungry. We have all said this to ourselves, “I’m hungry.” Like we feed our children, we feed ourselves. We go and eat. We need food to fuel our physical bodies. Our brains let us know when we are hungry, and it can get pretty upset when it is not fed. Growling, headaches, grumpiness and dizziness can follow. However, there are times when we eat, and we are not hungry.
Eating indulges our flesh. This is why Jesus, upon the beginning of his ministry, engaged in a 40-day fast in which he denied his body food. Even though it weakened his physical body, it prepared him spiritually for the encounter he would have with Satan (John 4).
This is why it so important that we make fasting a part of our spiritual journey. We have to deny our flesh, the fact that we are hungry, and feed our spiritual bodies. When we think of hunger, we think of being hungry for food. But there are things and people for which we hunger. Because, like food, they satisfy our flesh.
There are people hungry for drugs. There are people hungry for relationships. There are people hungry for attention. There are people hungry for power. There are people hungry to have their own way. There are people hungry to win. The hunger they are experiencing becomes such a part of them that they feel they need it to survive.
When hunger becomes desperate, people will eat and do anything to satisfy it. We need to fast from those things we think that we need to make us whole spiritually—when all we need is Jesus Christ. I’m hungry. People who yield to the hunger of their flesh are really hungry for Jesus Christ. They are hungry for the word of God. They are hungry for prayer. They are hungry for healing, deliverance and wholeness. They are hungry for love. This hunger can be satisfied. The hunger in our flesh can never be satisfied, because it keeps us wanting and desperate. But the manna that comes from Jesus fills our bellies and brings complete satisfaction to our lives.
To experience this spiritual hunger, we have to fast from those things that feed the flesh, so that we can permit Jesus to feed and fatten us with love, strength and power. When the devil rears his ugly head, we will be able to rebuke him like Jesus. When we have burned off the meat of Jesus, he is there to feed us if we remain hungry for him.
We need to wake up in the morning hungry for him. In the midnight hour when we get hungry and it seems like we cannot make it, he will provide us with a snack that has some good calories—not empty calories found in a bad relationships and that other stuff that brings temporary happiness. Jesus provides healthy foods that will provide us with everlasting joy. I’m hungry.