FILLED UP OR STILL HUNGRY                                                                                                Andy Hollifield 2-14-17

In churches a lot of times you will see people who are really spiritual …… when they are there. The trouble is that they are not real regular at being there. The bible says in Matthew 5:6 “Blessed are they which hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.” I am afraid that in the day we are living that we have a lot of people that are just dropping in for a snack. It don’t seem like there are too many with a genuine hunger for the things of God anymore. I don’t mean to sound judgemental but just based on personal experience, when I get hungry I go looking for something to eat. If I am at home, I always know where to go find it. If I am not at home, I know a few signs of restaurants where I can go and get something I like for a price. It is the same way with God. If we are willing to pay the price, God will allow us to sit in heavenly places (Ephesians 2:6) and eat from his table. The price has been paid for the gift but we still have to be responsible for accepting delivery. To accept delivery, we do have to be present. His table is at his house. I know that God can bless wherever we are but I also know that he said in Hebrews 10:25 “Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much more as ye see the day approaching.”

I have been raised in church practically all of my life. I have been in both big and small churches. The one common thing I found among all of them is that very few people know the leading of the Lord like they once did. The bible says in 1 John 1:1 “Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits, whether they are of God:….” Sometimes we can even get so caught up in wanting something from the Lord that we miss his will altogether. I have done this recently as a matter of fact. Just wanting to partake of God’s goodness to his people, that you miss his leading. Those are some lean times when you crave for something that you just can’t get in on. Although it is kind of miserable when you are seeking the Lord and just can’t get hooked up so to speak, it is also a good indication of your relationship with him. Even if you are temporarily hindered, you can work that out in prayer. It is those who have no desire that are my greatest concern. I have been in the place where my desire has not been what it ought to be. When that happens, it can always be traced back to a power failure on my part. God still has the power but there has been a short-circuit in my life. If I am concerned enough to try to solve the problem, I can always find where I have let sin creep into my heart and mind and it has grounded out my power with the Lord. I have a couple of strands of electric fence around my pasture inside of my barbed wire. From time to time, I will check the fence and find out that it isn’t charging. The power is still on and the charger is working but there is no juice in the pasture. Every single time this happens, without exception, I can start walking the fence and somewhere I will find either that the fence is broken or that the electric fence has made contact with the barbed wire and grounded it out. It is the same way with our spiritual life. Sometimes we simply make contact with something that we shouldn’t and lose power. It may not be anything bad but it may just be something that hinders us. One of my personal examples is football. I really enjoy watching a good football game and the Carolina Panthers especially. I have found out however, if I am having to preach on Sunday night, it is best if I don’t watch them on Sunday afternoon. Not that there is anything at all wrong with football, but if they manage to lose in a ridiculous way or there is bad officiating, I get too worked up about it. The best thing I can do is if I know something hinders me, avoid it. The devil uses that against me to hinder me if I am preaching. He may not control the outcome of the game, but if he can distract me enough to get me all worked up about it, it will short out my power. I am afraid that too often we don’t take care to keep stuff off of our fence. The ultimate result winds up being that we lose what we are trying to contain. Not our salvation, but our close relationship with the Lord. If you are right with the Lord, you will miss that and try to correct it. That is a long description of getting out of the will of God and getting cold and indifferent on him. Indifferent to the point that you aren’t concerned with the things of the Lord. You can get that way sitting on the pew every service. That being the case, just think how quick you can get there if you only show up occasionally to the Lord’s house. I don’t go days at a time without eating because I will get weak and unable to function, so I shouldn’t think I can deprive my soul of spiritual nourishment without getting the same result.

I have always been pretty bad to use sarcasm and I don’t mean to be disrespectful. In my own life, I have always been able to justify in my mind at least, why I do the things I do. The bible says in Proverbs 16:2 “All the ways of a man are clean in his own eyes; but the Lord weigheth the spirits.” It also says in Proverbs 14:12 and 16:25 “There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.” In Proverbs 21:2 “Every way of a man is right in his own eyes: but the Lord pondereth the hearts.” Plainly put, we don’t know what is right and therefore must seek the Lord. We can justify ourselves all we want to but in the end, God knows our hearts. He knows whether or not we are hungering and thirsting after him. The bottom line is that we make time for what is important to us. We find time to do what we want to. If we can’t manage to get to the Lord’s house on a regular basis, it is simply because we don’t want to. God knows our hearts and even when we are sick, he knows whether we really are or if we are just hunting an excuse to justify our desire to lay out. I don’t mean to sound mean but if we want a closer walk with the Lord, we have to get honest with ourselves.

What I really can’t understand is this: how someone can show up at church once a week or every couple of weeks and just shout the house down so to speak and I go three or four times a week, read my bible, pray, and still have to repent and only occasionally get in a service where the Lord just blesses to that extent. Either God is a respecter of persons and holds them to a lower standard than me or there is a lot of noise without a whole lot of spirit going on. I can tell you without doubt that God is no respecter of persons (Romans 2:11). God definitely doesn’t hold us to different standards when it comes to blessing us. Proverbs 28:13 says “He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy.” “Forsaking the assembling of ourselves together” is sin. God will not bless us with his spirit and allow us to “sit in heavenly places” when we are willfully sinning against him. Hebrews 10:26, the verse immediately following where he tells us to assemble together says “For if we sin willfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, (27) But a certain fearful looking for of judgement and fiery indignation, which shall devour adversaries.” A “CERTAIN” looking for of judgement. Without question you can look for judgement, not blessings, if you fail to assemble yourselves together. I didn’t write it but that is what God’s word says. If God didn’t bless Jonah because he tried to shirk the command of God, why would he bless us when we shirk the command of God? He won’t!

It would seem that some folks just get a lot more mileage between fill ups than others. That could be because they have smaller engines that generate a lot less power. I am thankful that I apparently have a big engine and don’t get good mileage. I have to get filled up regularly just to get by. I can’t run for weeks at a time without coming to God’s house. My prayer is that I will produce enough power of God in my life that my light will shine bright enough for others to see. To put it plain and simple; if you don’t have a hunger and thirst for the things of God, why not? Have you ever tasted the good things of God? Hebrews 6:4 says “For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, (5) And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, (6) If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame.” You cannot renew yourselves again, but God can forgive you. It requires repentance. Repenting when we sin is not an option but a requirement. You cannot do just pick up where you left off with the Lord without repentance. That is, IF you have ever tasted of him. If you think that God is working that way in your life, you might want to check up on your soul and see if what you have is actually him. He will never operate against his own word. If you don’t have a hunger and thirst that makes you want to eat and drink on a regular basis, according to his word; you don’t have him. I hope this will help you. Have a blessed day in the Lord!!!

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