I’ve had the thoughts. Friends have shared the thoughts with me:
Will I always feel this way? I thought that if I…then…
The thoughts flow from the deepest part of us. They center on what we think we need to be fulfilled, or to at least feel half full. They’re unmet longings, and they can be far worse than any hunger pangs we feel in our body.
They can control us. The time spent thinking about them, the lengths we go to fill them, and the manipulation we allow from them are devastating. The more we “eat” of them, the more we stretch our “stomachs” to hold and require a greater measure of them.
I wonder if every unmet longing in some way the seeking of a God-given desire.
I’d love to sit in a room with each of you, to name our longings, and uncover together the God-given longing hidden in them. Even more, I’d love for us to uncover how each longing is only a substitute for the one thing we were made to long for.
Jesus spoke of the solution to our unmet longings in John 6. The chapter begins with Jesus feeding 5000+ people. The crowd had followed Him onto a mountainside — away from their homes, away from any source of food. They were hungry and needed to be fed. From a little boy’s lunch of two fish and five loaves of bread, Jesus miraculously fed everyone “as much as they wanted” (John 6:11). In fact, His disciples filled twelve baskets with the leftovers.
The next day a group from that crowd came looking for Jesus. They came asking about His miracles, but Jesus revealed the real reason they were there:
“You’re not looking for Me because you saw miraculous signs, but because you ate the loaves and had your fill.”
The people sought Jesus because He quenched their hunger. He filled their empty stomachs.
Aren’t we just like them? We’re driven to be full. For one, we’re driven to be physically full: to eat when we’re hungry, drink when we’re thirsty. But we also want to be emotionally full, to not feel empty, not be wanting. We don’t want to experience the ache of unmet longings, and we’ve adopted numerous pursuits to satisfy them.
It’s so easy to spend our days in pursuit of what Jesus called “food that spoils” (John 6:27). These are things that may satisfy and taste good at first but have no lasting benefit or effect.
Having shown them their need, Jesus proclaimed that He alone could meet that need:
“I am the bread of life. For the bread of God is the bread that comes down from heaven and gives life to the world. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in Me will never be thirsty” (John 6:33,35).
Jesus was offering to fill us — to make us full, to satisfy every longing — making our soul more satisfied than any gourmet meal makes our bodies feel.
The life Jesus talked of comes in two forms:
- Life in eternity with God.
- Jesus’ soul-satisfying life in you now.
To receive this life, Jesus commanded one thing: believe Me for it (John 8:29). Believe I can and believe I will satisfy your deepest needs — both now and for eternity.
Do we believe Jesus will completely fill us? Do we seek Him for this, or are we too busy trying to satisfy our emotional needs apart from Him? As much as we need bread (food) for our bodies, we need Jesus (God’s Bread of Life) to feed and satisfy our souls. He does this as we learn about Him, meditate on Him, and take and digest into our hearts and minds the truth of who He is. Jesus is calling us to Way #41 of 52 Ways to Glorify God:
Daily feast upon the attributes of Jesus.
NOTE: One way I’m practicing Way #41 is by reading from “100 Days With Jesus” on Instagram. Each post focuses on a different name of Jesus. Instead of wasting time on social media, I’m spending it focusing my mind on Jesus. Check it out. I think you’ll be blessed. It’s just one of hundreds of resources at our finger tips by which to feast upon the attributes of Jesus.