How is it that some people can devote their lives to religious matters without ever having any real hunger for God? There are those who will argue tooth and nail over doctrines and points of Scripture without any hunger for the Lord Himself. It is to the hungry of heart that God looks. Matters of doctrine mean nothing to God. That is the preoccupation of religion. We can get many things wrong yet be approved of God if our hunger for Him is genuine.
What is it that drives a person without any hunger for God? It is the same thing that drove the Pharisees. It is a religious spirit. Those under the domination of the religious spirit were so enraged they plotted Christ’s death. Jesus addresses this in John chapters 14 and 15.
20 “Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A slave is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you; if they kept My word, they will keep yours also.
21 “But all these things they will do to you for My name’s sake, because they do not know the One who sent Me.
22 “If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not have sin, but now they have no excuse for their sin.
23 “He who hates Me hates My Father also.
24 “If I had not done among them the works which no one else did, they would not have sin; but now they have both seen and hated Me and My Father as well.
25 “But they have done this to fulfill the word that is written in their Law, ‘THEY HATED ME WITHOUT A CAUSE.’
26 ¶ “When the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, that is the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify about Me,
27 and you will testify also, because you have been with Me from the beginning.
1 ¶ “These things I have spoken to you so that you may be kept from stumbling.
2 “They will make you outcasts from the synagogue, but an hour is coming for everyone who kills you to think that he is offering service to God.
3 “These things they will do because they have not known the Father or Me.
We are in an hour when all things hidden are being revealed. The roots of everything are becoming exposed. The antichrist spirit that drives the world systems hates Christ. This is obvious. What is not obvious is that this same spirit is also a religious spirit. Just as the religious realm of Jesus’ day could not accept the authority of God speaking in Jesus, it will also not accept His authority manifested in Christ’s body. Oh, it will listen and banty points of doctrine all day, but the religious spirit will never embrace a solid relationship with the Lord. It is akin to Acts 17.
19 And they took him and brought him to the Areopagus, saying, “May we know what this new teaching is which you are proclaiming?
20 “For you are bringing some strange things to our ears; so we want to know what these things mean.”
21 (Now all the Athenians and the strangers visiting there used to spend their time in nothing other than telling or hearing something new.)
22 ¶ So Paul stood in the midst of the Areopagus and said, “Men of Athens, I observe that you are very religious in all respects.
The Athenians loved to spend their time hearing or telling something new. There is something in the Adamic nature that wants to know things. Many times that same nature is driven to pursue what it considers truth. But a true hunger to know the Lord Himself is absent. This hunger for the Lord is very important. It becomes a key by which we ultimately discern the true from the false. When our hearts are set on the Lord, we learn His voice and thus fulfill Jesus’ statement, “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.” Our hunger for God is even more important than whatever level of spiritual growth we have attained. We may not know much of anything regarding doctrines and the Scriptures, but if our hunger is genuine, we will instinctively be drawn to, or away from, those who speak in His name.
44 “No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up on the last day.
45 “It is written in the prophets, ‘AND THEY SHALL ALL BE TAUGHT OF GOD.’ Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father, comes to Me.
When was the last time hunger pangs to know Him were felt? If the answer is never, then we should be concerned. But if the answer is often, we can know that we will be led into all of the truth. Blessed are the ones whose appetite for the Lord is insatiable!