Working Up an Appetite

 In Pastor Jeff's Blog

You’re blessed when you’ve worked up a good appetite for God. He’s food and drink in the best meal you’ll ever eat. – Matthew 5:6

Working up an appetite has never been a problem for me. I can binge on junk food with the best of them. But working up an appetite for healthy food? That’s been a challenge. Given the choice between a cheeseburger and a kale salad…well, that’s not really a choice, is it?

But in 2013 my doctor told me that I was overweight and then explained the health risks. I realized that something needed to change. I had to learn how to work up an appetite for healthy food.

In his Sermon on the Mount Jesus said, “You’re blessed when you’ve worked up a good appetite for God. He’s food and drink in the best meal you’ll ever eat.” Question is, how do you work up an appetite for God? What does that look like? As I’ve reflected on those questions I realized that the lessons I learned about my physical appetite can apply to my spiritual appetite as well. Here are three strategies I’m trying.

Stop eating junk food. When I stopped eating junk food, that kale salad started looking good. After a while it even started tasting good! Most of us eat a lot of spiritual junk food – things that dull our appetite for God. Shopping, drinking, gambling, pornography and even physical food are things we often fill ourselves with when we’re feeling empty or sad. Next time, try leaning into your emptiness or sadness and talk to God about it, asking God to fill you.

Work out. Cycling and running are two of my favorite forms of exercise, and they often leave me ravenous. Heck, I’ll even eat quinoa after a long ride. Following the way of Jesus calls us to empty ourselves, setting aside our own agendas and giving ourselves away for the sake of others (Philippians 2:3-8). That kind of spiritual exercise will create a deep hunger for God’s grace and power, because you come to understand that you can’t live like Jesus on your own.

Proximity. Hanging out with foodies and frequenting restaurants that exude the enticing smells of good food made well will develop your appetite for healthy food. In the same way, spending daily time in Scripture, engaging in weekly worship and growing with other Christ-followers in a small group will naturally grow your appetite for God.

Changing my diet has dramatically improved my health. Working up a hunger for God and feasting on God’s love and grace has changed my life.

How’s your appetite?

Jeff Marian serves as lead pastor at Prince of Peace Lutheran Church in Burnsville, MN

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