The Craving We Need
Ben Patterson, a campus pastor, speaks in Deepening Your Conversation With God of his habit of rising early to be in solitude. He says that in all honesty, he gets up not to achieve an elite level of spiritual athleticism; he gets up because it is so good and pleasant to do so. He can hardly call it a discipline anymore. "It is so delicious, so ineffably sweet to hear the Lord, the Good Shepherd speak, or even to hope that he might," he says. It isn't so much that God speaks directly during those times; rather, the stillness prepares Patterson to be alert to those whispers and nudges he might receive as he drives his car or walks across campus.
"You must crave pure spiritual milk so that you can grow into the fullness of your salvation," (1 Pet 2:2 NLT) wrote Peter, implying our spiritual maturity hinges on our acquiring this craving. So how do we gain a longing for spiritual food? Our desire for scripture begins through an act of our will. We choose to set aside time to read and meditate regularly. We do what we would do if we had a consuming hunger to know Him better.
Strong desires begin small--and how easy it is to quench small desires simply by ignoring the wooing of the Spirit. Desire cannot be forced, but even a little desire can be encouraged to grow stronger, like a spark fanned into full flame. Our first step is to tell God humbly and truthfully of our desire to fellowship with Him. Then we follow the ideas He brings.
Thank You, Father, for being so eager to meet with us regularly that You ensure our ability to spend time with You when we deliberately choose to listen to You.
"The law from your mouth is more precious to me than thousands of pieces of silver and gold" (Ps. 119:72).