How to cultivate an appetite for Jesus

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Growing up in Roseburg, Oregon in 1989, all the cool kids shopped at the Gap store in Eugene. It’s an hour drive. And on some weekends, when I got to go shopping with my friends we would all plan to shop at the Gap and eat at Cinnabon. The aroma of those heavy, buttery, sweet cinnamon rolls was intoxicating then, and it still is. There really is no comparison to Cinnabon for me. I’ve tasted and I’ve seen that Cinnabon is good and there is no other cinnamon roll that will do.

That level of craving, of tasting Cinnabons and wanting more does not compare to the taste of and craving for the goodness of Jesus. I know it feels like a drop off doesn’t it. We all know the intoxicating taste of hot, melting-with-butter-and-frosting cinnamon rolls, but Jesus? How do you taste and crave Jesus?

The Bible calls us to, “Taste and see that the Lord is good.” (Psalm 34:8) The only way we can taste and see the goodness of the Lord is to be feeding on his word (1 Peter 2:2), joining our lives with his people (1 John 1:3), and praying fervently as we go (Psalm 69:13). And if I’m sensing my own condition and the state of many in my life correctly we’ve lost our appetite for tasting the goodness of the Lord Jesus this way.

There are times I need to push reset on my eating habbits. I need to eat clean so I can enjoy the goodnes of good things once again. When I’ve been indulging in junk food and fast food my body feels it, and I have a diminished desire for what’s actually good for me and want to eat more french fries.  I’ve found my relationship with Christ to be similar. Sometimes I need to intentionally stop filling my mind with podcasts, music, my favorite movies, or busying myself with Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and reading blogs or books, and fill the empty, uncomfortable space I find when I do that with God’s word and prayer.  That’s the only way I can cleanse my spiritual pallete. It’s the only way I can grow my appetite and affections for Jesus.

Today in a leadership meeting at my church we talked about the need to return to our first love Jesus, to return to fervent and effective prayer, to remember the gospel and stir our affections for Jesus and all he’s done for us. It hit me that I have to repent often of not valuing what Jesus has done, and valuing something else in his place. The barrier keeping me from passionate love of God and others, fervent prayer and a worshipful heart is my constant and often unconscious tendency to think, “Yeah, Jesus is great, but I want ____________.”  I’ve filled that blank with so many things over the years. They’ve all dulled my appetite for God’s word and the goodness of the Lord.

Do you have a craving for knowing Jesus more? For being with him, going where he’s going, being made like him? Do you find like me that you’re often lacking in desire or appetite for Jesus and sort of, “meh” the thought of him?  Join me in repenting. Join me in turning away from the things that have dulled our appetites for Jesus. And join me in returning to a steady diet of God’s word and prayer to regain a craving for God that’s fitting. Surely he is even more wonderful than a Cinnabon.

A return to feeding on the word of God, praying as we read, talking and listening, casting cares and asking questions, chewing like cud again and again what God has revealed to us of himself in Jesus through the Bible and his church is the hard reset button we need to push on our spiritual diet.

C.S. Lewis described our condition this way:

“It would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.” – The Weight of Glory

Lord, forgive me for dulling my appetite for you with “mud pies.” Thank you for your mercy and grace provided me in Christ. I want to crave you more than Cinnabon, more than spacing out, or vegging out, or detaching, or escaping, or wine, or chocolate, or surfing social media, or anything. I want to love you with all my heart and love my neighbor as myself.  Let me taste and see that you’re good again and again! 

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