Dissecting Our Appetite for Life

We drink a dangerous cocktail which leaves us drunk without knowing what really satisfies us!We have concocted a dangerous elixir that has intoxicated us into living a drunken stupor and we call it "life." This dangerous cocktail may be different for each one of us but at the core—all hazardous libations have at the core: the quest for power; the longing for esteem and the demands for security. This unholy trinity of concoctions are as old as Satan’s three temptation of Jesus. Yet 2000 years later, we still face a daily battle to find a sober way to live well and lead well.In my work, I see pastors, missionaries, doctors, teachers and small business owners bellying up to the bars of life which over promise and under-deliver when it comes to what makes us genuinely happy and soulfully satisfied.We have heard Jesus’ words but we will not heed them. He said it plainly—as if to jar us back to our senses so that we could truly know how to live with a sense of robust sanity. “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness for they will be filled—satisfied” are his exact words found in Matthew 5:6. This particular attitude for living sanely flies in the face of American culture which includes leaders in both the church and the marketplace sphere.What are you thirsty for right now?Our hunger and thirst should be for something so different from the drink we are drinking and the bread we eat that never seems to satisfy us. There is a keen difference in knowing what will gratify us but has no possibility of satisfying us. Jesus’ beatitude is a knife that sharply cuts through our confusion and it is really important to what does really satisfy a human being?Jesus is poking around in what our appetite centers on in this life? What are we craving and desiring in the gut of our soul? Our appetite is more than what we are in the mood for on a Friday night after a long week of work and demands. Our appetite is that which will truly sustain us---nourish us—make us healthy or addicted.We tend to have Jesus as an “add-on” like a pickle on our hamburger or chopped onions on a grilled brat. But Jesus will not set himself up as someone who will simply spice up our lives. No, Jesus sets the record straight for us right here by telling us plainly that he is really interested in what we are yearning for; desiring and longing to put at the core of our lives.The way Jesus puts it, makes us sit with our hunger and thirst more than we tend to do. In our fast food nation, we can so easily have a little bit of Jesus and then move on and get back to our demanding lives. So he turns our tables upside down though, when he says that what we hunger for really matters in this life—it matters so much in fact that our hunger will actually determine if our deepest needs will ever be met.We live so superficially full—filling our lives with so many condiments that we may actually be missing out on that which really—and truly---satisfies us.So many choices and so much confusion...My health journey for the past 18 months has forced me to look at my own attitudes about food more than I ever have in my life. Through a set of wake-up calls, I looked into the mirror and saw someone who had drifted; someone who had lived to eat; someone who had never really looked at the DNA of my appetite. Now, sixty pounds lighter, I face this question more head on than I never knew possible. My transformation is this—to shift to really know that I am what I eat. If I eat unhealthy—then I am unhealthy. But as I shift the paradigm in how I look at my desire and what really fills me and makes me healthy—then the shift happens.My doctor is watching me closely. My blood does not lie. The numbers in my blood report reveal this shift that is happening and thankfully, for me, it’s all in the right direction.[tweetthis]Jesus is offering us a paradigm shift that will change us; make us deeply satisfied and alter the trajectory of our lives. But it begins with what we desire, long for and yearn for in our appetite.[/tweetthis]Jesus unpackages this by giving us the word “righteousness”—a word we actually know little about today because of the moral chaos we are in.   To hunger for what is right and true and to develop an appetite for rightness and truth is at the core here. And this is where it gets hard.We our elixirs  we drink in our churches and businesses have altered our sense of reality. (Yes, the church and its leaders are not immune from getting drunk on power, size and more).  We’re not really sure anymore about what is right and what really is the truth? In our efforts to not offend anyone, have we now sat at a banqueting table feasting on our right to choose; our right to decide our own gender; our right to our own opinion about what really does satisfy us? This is no feast when we have omitted the things in life which make a person truly healthy and truly able to live well.We are not living well but feasting on everything and every opinion. We seem to be fasting from doing what is right to doing what is popular. Living in a right way has never been popular—it wasn’t in Jesus’ day and it will not be ours.But our own satisfaction is at stake here. Jesus says it plainly. We will never be satisfied if we feast on all that gratifies us. In my own healthy journey, I am a witness to this. By living in ignorance I was in fact abusing my body. I had to learn. I had to do the most major paradigm shift of my life. I was confused about what really would bring me satisfaction. I lived for decades thinking eating all that I wanted was the satisfaction I was seeking. But know, I am learning more and the shift continues to happen.I think this shift is what Jesus is after in this beatitude---a shift in our understanding about what really brings satisfaction to us as modern, successful, busy and educated folks. We have some unlearning to do and it begins with this question: What are you hungry and thirsty for in your life.Answer this question and you will be on your way to more satisfaction than you though possible.