Have you ever been to grocery store when you were hungry? Whenever I go, I end up spending way more than I planned on items I didn’t even need in the first place. Every kind of food looks good to me when I’m hungry- especially the foods that aren’t good for me. I end up buying junk like gourmet cookies and Doritos and I pick up random, odd ingredients like chia seeds and wheat barley that I never end up using. Basically, my stomach is frantically trying to be filled so it tells my brain to grab anything around to satiate that hunger. Hopefully it’s not just me!
I see this happen all the time to my unsaved friends. Their souls are starving for meaning and purpose in this world so they try to fill their lives with things like hot yoga, Irish microbreweries and perfecting their social media worthy selfie. They even try seemingly honorable things like starting a family, volunteering at an animal shelter or running a marathon. These acts start out small, but eventually either they become obsessive about it or they give up on it and move on to something else. These things don’t satisfy their souls, it leaves them craving something more. These friends, sadly, spend their lives covering a hole in the heart that only Jesus can fill.
I even see this happening to saved friends, and while we are at it, me! I find my thoughts and desires wandering away from God and I start looking to my career and material things to fill my soul. I usually end up getting overwhelmed because after I complete one project at work, the next ones start piling up.
The accolade wears off and my family resents my long work day. Or I long for my husband to redo the bathroom. I research paint finishes and medicine cabinets tirelessly. When it finally gets done, I immediately start thinking about the deck being refinished in time for the next barbeque. These things seem so important and meaningful at that moment, but once I check them off my ever growing to do list, I move on to the other things. It is a never ending cycle of insanity. I especially saw this during the last week. There has been a lot of end of year craziness with the kids finishing up school, I am putting out work fires in every direction and I keep looking toward material things to help calm my weary soul. Cleaning the bathroom will do it. Nope- didn’t work. Paying the bills should help. Not that either. But God, in His ever patient love, gently woke me up early to spend more time with Him. Instantly, I felt His peace as I opened up His Word in the still of the morning. Now, that fills my soul!
I love how God covers every situation we encounter in His Word, even at the grocery store! He tells us that, “A satisfied soul loathes the honeycomb, But to a hungry soul every bitter thing is sweet.” (Proverbs 27:7) Well, maybe God doesn’t reference the grocery store per se, but it is pretty close! When we are spiritually hungry, we grasp everywhere to try and satiate that desire; even things that aren’t healthy seem to satisfy for a time but that time draws to a close pretty quickly and we are on to the next thing. But when our hearts are filled with the Holy Spirit, we want for nothing. We are filled with our Father’s peace and joy.
Things of this world may be fun and entertaining (and praise God for the happiness this world brings!), but they are just like that bag of Spicy Sweet Chili Doritos I bought and didn’t need. The fun wears out when the bag goes empty. They taste yummy for a time, but after a while my hands get dirty and my stomach feels gross- and who ate the whole bag anyway when I’m the only one who is home?
Scripture teaches us to be filled with the Holy Spirit instead of the Doritos of this world. Romans 14:17 says “For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.” We can’t afford to waste our head space craving vapors. Being filled with the Holy Spirit allows us to get closer to God on an intimate level, but it also allows us to find out what God’s plans are for us, which is really where we can feel fulfilled in this life.
I am so encouraged when I read passages in the Bible when a normal, everyday person becomes filled with the Spirit and sets off to do something amazingly extraordinary. Talk about finding meaning and purpose in life! In the book of Micah, we see when he is filled with the Spirit, he is given the power and courage to confront the nation of Israel about their sinful ways. Ananias was able to lift the blindness from Paul, then Saul, because he was filled with the Spirit. The disciples prayed in the upper room at Pentecost and the Holy Spirit came upon them, filling the room like a rushing wind, giving all of the men courage and the gift of tongues to share the Good News to all.
Remarkably bold, miraculously divine actions occurred because of power of the Almighty God through the Holy Spirit. If God can do miraculous things with these guys, imagine what He can do with you and me- an overwhelmed, closet Doritos eating, over-spender! What plans does God have for you in this life? By being filled with the Holy Spirit, you become ready and able to pursue any of His plans for you!