When there is no hunger for God’s Word

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In something I read online recently, a new Christian wrote of his intense love for the Word of God, taking it with him to work and on vacation and making every attempt to read it every day. He continued, “I cannot for the life of me understand people that say that they are saved [and] never open the book. Can we truly be living our lives for Jesus Christ and not (or rarely) open the word of God? How does a Christian learn to know God just by going to church or praying? I have a Christian friend that told me, ‘I already read the whole Bible once.’ Does the average newer Christian read the Bible for a few years and then put it up? Am I just a Bible nut? I hope and pray that 25 years from now, I still hunger to read his word (God willing I am still here).”

New Christians can really put us to shame, can’t they?

If a professing Christian has absolutely no appetite for God’s Word, it would indeed be good for him to check his heart and make he truly does possess new life in Christ.

Yet there are things that can affect spiritual hunger just as there things that can affect physical hunger.

1) “Spoiling our appetite.” Moms throughout the ages have told children they can’t have a treat before dinner because it would spoil their appetite. When we’re full of other things, we won’t hunger for God’s Word. Proverbs 27:7: “The full soul loatheth an honeycomb; but to the hungry soul every bitter thing is sweet.”

2) Illness. Many physical illnesses can cause a loss of appetite. We need to ask the Great Physician to examine us, search our hearts, and see if there is anything in our lives quenching our hunger for Him and His Word. Psalm 139:23-24: Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. Psalm 119:25: My soul cleaveth unto the dust: quicken thou me according to thy word.

3) Service. “But I thought service was a good thing!” It is, but not when it causes us to replace time with Him with our service. Mary and Martha are our classic examples of the difference between busy (and frustrated) service vs. choosing “that good part” of giving time and attention to sitting at our Lord’s feet. (Luke 10: 38-42).

4) Distraction. Sometimes people can get so busy they forget to eat. Mark 4:19 lists three “distractions” which “choke” the Word: cares of this word, deceitfulness of riches, and lusts of other things (Luke 8:14 calls that last one the “pleasures of this life.”) We need to “cast our cares on Him” (I Peter 5:7) and remind ourselves of what the Word says about the deceitfulness of riches and keep pleasures in their proper perspective.

5) Hardness of heart. I don’t know that there is a physical parallel with this one, and I am in danger of mixing my metaphors, but the parable of the sower speaks of one whose heart is “stony ground.” I think the parable is likely referring to an unsaved person, but throughout the Bible God’s people are told to “harden not your hearts.” Hosea 10:12 says, “Sow to yourselves in righteousness, reap in mercy; break up your fallow ground: for it is time to seek the LORD, till he come and rain righteousness upon you.”

6) Enemies. People can neglect or abuse their responsibility to feed others under their care. Prisoners of war have been given very little to eat, and then found themselves eating loathsome things because they were so hungry they’d gladly eat anything. Satan can use some of the other things already mentioned, but the parable of the sower mentions that, “When any one heareth the word of the kingdom, and understandeth it not, then cometh the wicked one, and catcheth away that which was sown in his heart” (Matthew 13:19). Again, this is referring to a lost person (Luke 8:12), yet there is a parallel for saved people. When we hear or read the Word inattentively, sleepily, or hurriedly, we won’t understand it and whatever truth we were supposed to have gotten is caught away.

What’s the best way to develop (or redevelop) an appetite for God’s Word? Seek God’s help to diagnose and deal with any issues that are quenching our hunger for it. Then just start partaking of it. I used to hate to drink water, but due to health problems with caffeine and sugar (not to mention calories), I began to drink water rather than soft drinks with meals when we were out. I came to not mind it so much, then to actually like it. I grew up not eating broccoli, but developed a taste, and then a love for it in college just by continuing to try it. We need to set our priorities and put everything else in its proper perspective. We need to partake of it even when we don’t feel hungry for it, just as we need to eat to keep up our health and strength even if we don’t feel physically hungry. Perhaps a reading of Psalm 119 would whet our appetites by reminding us of how great and good the Word is and of what we’re missing when we neglect it.

As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby. I Peter 2:2.

Neither have I gone back from the commandment of his lips; I have esteemed the words of his mouth more than my necessary food. Job 23:12

Thy words were found, and I did eat them; and thy word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of mine heart: for I am called by thy name, O LORD God of hosts. Jeremiah 15:16

45 thoughts on “When there is no hunger for God’s Word

  1. Oh. My. Word. That is a great list, Barbara! I’m jotting these down and posting them where I can refer to them frequently. Next time I notice I’m not in HIS word, I’ll check my list and sic Him on the problem.

    Love it!

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  3. Excellent post, Barbara! Congrats on Carol awarding you the “She Like Her Post” button. Very well deserved. I liked it too!

  4. I’m not sure I’ve been to your site before, but I’m glad I found you via Carol. This post is awesome! You may be getting linked by me as well. 🙂

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  6. Hi Barbara, I came over from Carol’s blog. What a wonderful post this is. We were just studying the seed and sower in Sunday School this past weekend. Congrats too on the honor!

    I’m on WP too, but my usual posts are on A Child of God. Come by and say hi if you have time.

  7. Wow, Barbara, I can see why you won an award for this. It is really good stuff, very much worth sharing with others. I am so glad to have gotten to read this today.

  8. Looks like I’m the only male commenting here, but great post!

    My experience is that newbies in the faith are very excited about being released from their burdens. They also tend to spend a lot of time talking to the Lord.

    Sadly, I think what happens to the rest of us is that the initial romance with God wears off after a couple of years (just like in marriage?), and we have to dig in for some hard living. And sometimes God disappoints us too. That, along with the cares of the world creeping back in, tends to lessen our affection for our Savior. Just like in a marriage, the things that once attracted us to God are now routine and sometimes dull.

    So what’s the answer? All those points above, plus prayer. If we draw close to God He promises to draw close to us. Kind of like what happens in human relationships.

    But the bottom line is that our relationship with God is like our relationship with our spouse — it takes a lot of work, and there will always be ups and downs for both of us.

    • Nice commentary. I appreciate you drawing the parrallel b/w our relationship with God and marriage…they both can grow difficult to keep ‘exciting’ over time

  9. I appreciated the answer to my question “What causes a lack of hunger for God’s Word”.

    I would like to ask for prayer to develop a hunger for the Word. I enjoy reading but sadly I have neglected to read the most important book in a regular way.

    Thank-you for this message.

    Gratefully,
    Flora

  10. What a great blog! I popped over here from Laurel Wreath and have really enjoyed myself!
    “Time” is the biggest hinderance to Bible reading….and the enemy of our souls uses it as a weapon on me…but I am fighting back with all I’ve got!
    One of the greatest things I have discovered (ok—it has been around a while) is the Bible on CD and/or Tape! I love it! It has been my constant companion while driving (I drive a lot!!!) I pray daily for deeper understanding and greater hunger than ever in my life.
    Thanks for your great posting!
    Blessings to you!
    Angie from Florida (it is 101° today)

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  14. I’ve been looking at your site…actually, I stumbled upon it looking for recipes! Isn’t it just like our great God to reveal something much bigger than what goes in my “tummy?” First, when I looked at this post, I thought, “So I’m not the only one…” This lack of the desire to really read God’s Word has concerned me, and I have been praying about it a lot. I know God hears…those prayers are in accordance with His will…this post sure made me think. I’m adding it to my favorites! During dry times like this, it’s so easy for me just to choose not to read. That’s definitely not going to help matters, so even though I am quite disinterested, I still read each day. but I feel guilty as ever when I read it and become as bored as I did in last semester’s college chemistry lab! However, I know that guilt is just the thing to drive me away from God, and I will not allow Satan a stronghold…your post is extremely helpful! This leads into my second substantial thought regarding your site. I was just looking at your testimony and I realized something I have thought about before, but this time I took off with the thought and didn’t dismiss it as I usually do. I think that, as Christians, it’s easy to get caught up in this “Christian” life that our initial zeal wears off. I think sometimes we forget where we started out. It’s like we go through life as usual but forget our freedom in Christ. I guess all I’m saying is that IMO, why not become reacquainted with who we were and the creations God is forming in us. I think that helps to put things in proper perspective. When we first became Christians, we couldn’t contain our excitement and the real freedom we obtained…nothing else mattered. Let’s face it: it’s so easy for circumstances to shift our perceptions of everything, even just a little. Example: Sometimes my thoughts about one of my medical conditions go something like, “I can’t stand this pain anymore…and I have another fifty years of this?” Then, when I’m trained on God, those same thoughts are something like, “This pain is only imprisoned in my body for a time, but God has one this battle, too.” See the difference? I figure it’s all about focus, and to remove the sometimes monotonous actions of this “Christian life,” I look through Biblical passages and read the basics: Romans 3:23, 5:8, 8:28; John 3:16; 1 John 1:9, etc.) I know that sounds quite elementary, but it’s a great reminder to retrain my thoughts on Him. So instead of worrying obsessively about the lifespan psychology final, why not think Philippians 2…and remember that the psych exam isn’t my entire life, but that Jesus IS Lord of my life.
    Wow…I’m sure you didn’t want a novel; this is the stuff that goes in my blog…and btw, I’m going to link to you so others can find needed reminders, joy or encouragement just by clicking. Thanks for posting such great stuff!…much shalom, and God’s blessings!

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  16. WAOH,
    THIS IS A SYSTEMATIC, ATRACTIVE AND WONDERFUL EXPOSITION OF GOD’S WORD.IT HAS BLESSED MY SOUL! NOW I KNOW WHY I SUFFER FOR LACK OF APPETITE.GOD BLESS YOU.

  17. Hi,

    Glad to know that there are still people out there who knows and understands the value of the word of God. I am and I always will be fascinated by the person who wrote Psalm 119 who had this amazing love for God’s word, statutes, laws, decrees, testimonies etc.

    God bless you for this article.

    Jsu

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  19. Still there, Becky, though it waxes and wanes according to how much these other factors are taking up my time and attention.

  20. What verse is this??? When we hear or read the Word inattentively, sleepily, or hurriedly, we won’t understand it and whatever truth we were supposed to have gotten is caught away.

    • That sentence is not a verse. It’s more common sense, but it is also the idea from the parable of the sower (Matthew 13:3-23) that anything that isn’t rooted in the good soil can be snatched away — so whatever we hear that we not really getting hold of and taking in, we probably won’t understand or remember, and that is more likely to happen when we’re distracted, inattentive, or sleepy.

  21. true!🙂 above all those points, be RENEWED in the Presence of God. Be reminded of your first love.😉 (tell God of this problem and ask for His fire!:D)

    Our God is a consuming Fire!
    God bless!

  22. thank you! i always pray that my hunger for the word of God is as wide as the ocean, as deep as the sea and as high as the sky. the more the spent time with my Bible, the more i’m falling deeply inlove with the author.

    let us be bold enough to reach out for more.

  23. I really connected with your message. I was doing a google search on having a hunger for God’s word and I stumbled across yor site. I feel like God led me here to reflect on where I need to make some changes in my walk…and to somehow convey to me that I’m not alone, or weird, or a terrible person — but that he is aware of the struggles I face, as evidenced throughout his word.

  24. I googled, “How to Hunger for God’s Word,” for these exact reasons. God entrusted to me a ministry for women in prison and I know how hungry these women are for the Word of God. I was a “new” Christian before and I remember my zeal and excitement for everything concerning God’s Word. I have noticed recently (and every now and then) a feeling that comes over me and I start to get tired or exhausted even thinking about picking up the Word. it has gotten worse since I am now displaced due to Hurricane Sandy, but still as Believers we need to forge ahead. Thank you for the eye opener. Greatly appreciated!

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  27. I know I am suppose to preach about the word “Hunger” this Sunday. I had a form of writers block. So I did the Intelligent exegesis of going to Google!!!
    to my surprise your blog put me back on track. Never heard of you but enjoyed what you wrote. You have spurned me in the right direction. Just know your blog assisted in our worship. WOW. HE (God) never seems to let me done. EVER
    thanks again.
    Pastor Bob

  28. soo blessed by this mesage ,i am to deliver a mesage on this july 12 ,now i got all i néed wt ur message.may d lord reward u richly.wish to hv a direct contact wt u.2348069736735.how do i locate u on Fb?i will love to call u always sir regarding ministry,pls i néed ur line ,fb or a more reliable contact.tnz Rev ugoo .Nigeria.

  29. Great post, Barbara. I think my main issue is distractions. I get busy and don’t take the time. Such a great reminder for us.

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