We often consider appetite to be a curse. It can be destructive, but it more commonly blesses. Appetite loss is a symptom of numerous unhealthy conditions. No appetite is the symptom of serious health problems. Good health includes a healthy appetite.

Regarding appetite, physical well being and spiritual well being share much in common. In a sermon, Jesus said, "Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied" (Matthew 5:6).

His statement is part of a list called the beatitudes. Often studies of this list focus on individual beatitudes without first seeing the overall picture. While the study of each beatitude is beneficial, it is essential to see the overall picture the beatitudes, together, draw. Jesus verbally pictured healthy dedication to godly existence.

In healthy dedication to godliness, spiritual appetite serves an essential role. A satisfied appetite for righteousness results from hungering and thirsting for righteousness. If there is no appetite for godly existence, one will not experience spiritual health.

Spiritual "junk food" cannot produce spiritual health. Declaring spiritual "junk food" to be "God's healthy diet" cannot produce spiritual health. Our appetite must be for righteousness. It cannot be an appetite for (a) the past, (b) a defense of traditional forms, (c) a promotion of preferences, (d) an advocacy of "my" conclusions, or (e) fads. It must hunger for God's priorities and purposes.

Have you examined your spiritual health lately? How is your spiritual appetite? For what do you hunger? What satisfies you? Do you hunger for a deeper understanding of Jesus? Do you hunger to pray? Do you hunger to study the Bible? Do you hunger to allow Jesus actually to be Lord of your life on a daily basis? Do you hunger to encourage God's Spirit as he encourages you?

Do you have little or no spiritual appetite? Do you distance yourself from God? Is spirituality primarily appearing at some church building on Sunday morning? Do you enjoy being "away" from Christians? Do you handle crises alone? Is prayer a last resort? Are God's purposes consciously excluded from your decisions? Do "fun times" occur with people who do not care about God? Do you consider godly matters boring?

A healthy appetite for righteousness includes (a) awareness of God's accomplishments for us in Jesus' death; (b) life's deepest sense of indebtedness; (c) a profound grief for the evil in us; (c) a constant realization of dependence on God; and (d) the joy of salvation combined with the fulfillment of freedom from evil because of Christ's forgiveness.

David Chadwell

West-Ark Church of Christ, Fort Smith, AR
Bulletin Article, 16 June 2002

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