Don't you hate it when you have a craving for something in particular and nothing else can fill it? Sometimes I have a specific craving for salty meals like salmon, olives, aged cheese and heavily seasoned asparagus. It's the strangest combination. When I know I want that meal, a regular salad or sandwich just won't do. To take it a step further; Have you ever had a craving for something you knew you didn't have and you tried to replace it with something that was available in the fridge? You may try to eat more of that other substitute, but in the end, you're still not satisfied. For example, you may want Deer Park water but Aquafina is the only one available. It's just not the same!
In the innermost part of our souls, we know, innately, that we need more than what we see in front of us. We are all searching for some entity to quench that thirst/longing that we all have to be heard, understood and loved unconditionally. Jesus says in John 4:14 that "whoever drinks of the water that I shall give will never thirst again."
A couple months ago, I heard an elder bring up different ways that we use to get our thirst quenched. We try to quench our thirst by using some of these tools:
1. Power - Having power is not a bad thing. Being in a leadership position is an awesome responsibility that, when used wisely, can foster positive growth and impact for the greater good. However, when a person seeks power only to control and manipulate others, they are coming from a place of deep hurt. There is a thirst to fix the hurt that others committed against them by propelling the hurt on others. With Christ as the center, He can heal past hurts and quench the longing so that power doesn't become an abusive tool for those in its' path.
2. Praise- It's such an incredibly beautiful sight to see when people support and encourage one another. We are relational beings and need to be uplifted and encouraged by one another. Even though it is beautiful, it shouldn't be all you rely on. If you rely on the admiration and praise of others, you'll be sorely disappointed when they criticize you. Don't place your value in how many friends you have, how many people like you, your social media stats or the accolades you receive. People's opinion may change about you so you need to know that Christ is sufficient for all your questions about your worth.
3. Possessions- Isaiah 55:2 says "why spend money on what is not bread, and your labor on what does not satisfy?" There is always a new smartphone, tablet or gadget that is supposed to make life a teeny bit easier. There is usually a pretty hefty price tag attached to those supposed "lifesavers". Or there is another sale at the mall with an outfit that you have to buy because the other 70 outfits in your closet don't quite encompass your style the way that this one does (yeah right). The text is not saying don't enjoy nice things but at the same time, you have to understand that those things won't satisfy you. You must seek the kingdom of God. God is the only one who can satisfy.
4. Pleasure - When used in the right context, pleasure is a necessary part of our everyday living. When it's abused, the habits can have damaging effects. Sex within the context of marriage is a beautiful and necessary part of life. Eating is a necessary part of life. Enjoying leisure time with friends is a necessary part of life. However, when used outside of marriage, premarital sex can result in STDs, emotional damage and unwanted pregnancy. Eating whenever it feels pleasurable can lead to overrating and the health issues that come along with being overweight. Leisurely spending time with friends but neglecting the study of the Word of God, work or personal responsibilities can lead to an eventual overload of work that has only been fostered by procrastination and escapism. 1st John 2:15 commands us to not love the world. "Everything in the world -the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does -comes not from the Father but from the world."
At the root of all we search for, there is a deep crying out for Christ. Matthew 5:6 reminds us that you can be filled with Christ. Let Him take full control.
So... what are YOU thirsty for?