Appetites receive a great deal of attention in our western culture, in part because we have them on every level of life, and self-gratification is so much a part of that culture.  So, we spend an inordinate amount of time seeking to satisfy them, both by legitimate and illegitimate means. Unchecked, they can easily turn into addictions.  In short, we become slaves to our appetites, and I think we're witnessing the reality of that everywhere, and very possibly, in our own lives as well.
     Our physical and emotional appetites seem to easily get the bulk of our focus, but this is not the way He meant for, or created us to be.  Yet it seems to be how it is, and sadly, we who comprise the church don't seem to be appreciably better at overcoming them than the world around us. The Father created us with a deep "appetite" for Him.  The fall of man allowed for the reign of lesser appetites to take His place in our lives.  In Christ, we are brought back to that which He intended us for.  The great problem is, far too many of us have not allowed ourselves to be brought back.  We continue to seek to satisfy lesser appetites and like the world, by both legitimate and illegitimate means.  In fact, in so many ways, we have reduced Christ into a kind of conduit for the satisfying of these appetites.  We bring all of our physical, emotional, even relational desires to Him with the expectation that He will fulfill all of them.  There are a host of things we want, things we feel we must have.  Comfort, success, health, pain free lives, problem free families, and the reaching of goals and achievements in both business and ministry.  These are all desires, appetites, that we would consider "good. " But we have some not so good as well, and if don't feel we can bring them to Him, we'll go about seeking to satisfy them ourselves.  Good or bad, our appetites are ruling us.  They, and not He, are our masters.  They, not He, are our greatest desire.
     Behind it all is our enemy, "the tempter."  He will always attack in the area of our appetites, and we have no defense except one, Christ.  And Christ knows well how to defeat him......every time.  In Matthew 4:3-4, satan comes to Jesus in the midst of his 40 days without food.  He said to Him, "If you're the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread."  Jesus' only response, "It is written, one does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God."  Jesus was indeed physically hungry, but He lived for the fulfillment of a desire that went far beyond anything this world could give, and that was the fullness of His Father.  Intimacy and oneness with Him.  As Eugene Peterson puts it, "Jesus will not use God to get what He wants.  He submits Himself to being what God wants."  In this He has more than He could ever want or need.  No earthly appetite could displace His hunger for His Father.  As I saw it once put, when we place our appetites behind the Word of God, their power to control us is broken.  And that appetite for His Presence, placed their by God Himself, is now free to be fully realized.  Is it being realized in our lives today
     I think a good many of us know what it is to be ruled by our lesser appetites and desires.  How many of us know what it is to be captivated by a desire for Him?  Captivated.  Held captive by.  When we're captivated by the lesser, then all we really know is bondage.  But to be captivated by the Presence and Life of Christ is to know true freedom.  The Apostle Paul said that he was "free to be a slave to Christ."  When we are held by Him, we cannot be held by anything else.  Life will be such that we will always "work up an appetite."  Where and to who are our appetites leading us?

Pastor O
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   May 2019   
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