If there was, would you want to know what it is? I’m sure you would. In the Gospel of Matthew found in the New Testament of the Bible, Jesus said these words: “Happy are those who are hungry and thirsty for true goodness, for they will be fully satisfied.”
In the Cook Islands, most of us don’t know much about hunger and thirst. When you’re hungry, it’s time to bring out the corned beef and taro. When you’re thirsty, it’s soft drink time. On the African continent they’re starving physically, but in the Cook Islands, we’re starving emotionally.
We all have a spiritual hunger inside of us but we just don’t call it that. We use phrases like “My life is empty”. “I’m bored”. “I’m restless”. “There must be more to life than this”.
Even when things are going well, when there seems to be success in life, there is this gnawing feeling on the inside that something’s missing!
The Rolling Stones gave us the theme song for the Baby Boomer generation, I Can’t Get No Satisfaction. Why is it that so many people are so unsatisfied? The Bible says it’s because they’re looking in the wrong place.
First, you don’t find lasting satisfaction in pleasure.
The Bible says, “No matter how much we see, we are never satisfied; no matter how much we hear, we are never content.”
How often have you raided the refrigerator late at night, nibbled on something, got back in bed and you’re still hungry?
Many people are that way in life, to the point that they’ll try anything: break the rules, get drunk, try one night stands. The Bible says in Hebrews 11.25, “The pleasures of sin last a short time.” They just don’t last.
Second, you don’t find satisfaction in performance. The Book of Ecclesiastes 2.21says,”You work for something with all your skill, and then you have to leave it all to someone who hasn’t had to work for it.” There is a myth that says, “Success produces satisfaction”. But that’s just not true. Many successful people are very unsatisfied on the inside.
The Bible says, “Man is always working, never satisfied.” Third, you don’t find satisfaction in possessions. Today there are twice as many products available as there were 10 years ago, all claiming “Satisfaction Guaranteed.”
Are people twice as happy? No! Ecclesiastes 5:10 says: “He who loves money will never have enough. The foolishness of thinking wealth brings happiness.” The poor will say, “When I get enough money, then all of my problems will be solved.” The rich know that’s not true. At least the poor have hope. So, what is then the secret of satisfaction?
Psalm 37:4 (GN) says, “Seek your happiness in the Lord, and He will give you your heart’s desire.” Don’t seek happiness, seek God. Happiness is a by-product of seeking God. We usually look to everything else and then finally say, “Well, I’ll try God. Maybe I’ll find happiness there.” So, how do you experience real satisfaction in life? Let’s look at three thoughts…
First, recognise my real hunger. Many people really don’t know what they want in life. The Bible says we are spiritual beings. God made us to love Him and to know Him and be loved by Him. Nothing will take the place of that. You need to recognise that your real hunger is spiritual – you hunger for God.
The sooner you recognise that, the better. How does God give us a hunger for Himself? Deuteronomy 8:3 says “God humbled you by letting you go hungry and then feeding you with manna. He did this to help you realise that real life comes by obeying every command of God.” The children of Israel wandered around in the desert for 40 years.
There were no Mae-Jo’s or Southern Fried Chicken or Palace Takeaways in Sinai. They got hungry and God provided manna. Notice it says, “God let them get hungry” so they would recognise their need for him, and depend on him. God uses problems to get your attention to say, “Look! What you want is not pleasure, not possessions, not performance. It’s Me. I made you with a God-shaped vacuum and I want to meet that need.” Happy are the hungry! God’s getting ready to do something in your life.
Second, stop eating spiritual junk food. Quit looking for things in life that don’t satisfy, that don’t meet the need. Isaiah 55:2 says: “Why spend your money on what is not bread, and your labour on what does not satisfy?”
Quit wasting your time and your money on things of the world that really don’t satisfy. What you are really looking for is God. There is a lot of spiritual junk food.
In the Cook Islands today, there are more options of what people can entertain themselves with. There are more things to fill our time and spend our money on and we move from pleasure to pleasure, thrill to thrill thinking “This is going to be the answer in my life! This is what is going to make me satisfied!” And it doesn’t last! It’s a temporary high.
It’s interesting that our appetites are influenced by our associations. You get around hungry people, you get hungry. Whoever you hang out with is what you’re hungry for. If you hang out with people who like the world’s junk food, that’s what you’re going to be into. If you want to have an appetite for godly things, get around people who have a godly appetite. It’s contagious. Do you want to be hungrier for the things of God? Then get around people who are hungry for the things of God.
Third, you start looking to Jesus Christ for satisfaction. The Gospel of John 8:35: “Jesus said, “I am the Bread of Life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty ... If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever!”
Wonder Bread. This is the basic essential food of life. Jesus is saying “I’m the bread of life! I’m IT. I can meet your needs. You’re looking for everything else, but I’m the bread of life, I’m the essential. I’m what you need.”
Note these next two verses: Jesus said, “Whoever drinks water will get thirsty again; but whoever drinks the water I give will never be thirsty again. It will become in him a spring of living water.” John 4:13-14. Water is even more essential than food. You can go several weeks without food, but you can’t go more than about three days without water. Every cell in your body needs water to survive. Jesus is saying “It’s more than you wanting Me - you need Me! You need Me to survive. I am the Living Water. I am your bread. I made you and you can’t make it without Me.”
You know, when you are hungry or thirsty, cost is immaterial. There are really three stages in your life: I want God in my life; I need God in my life; I’ve got to have God in my life because I can’t make it without Him. An emptiness in your life causes you to want to know the answers of the basic questions of life: Who am I? Why am I here? What’s the purpose of life? Who’s God? What’s going to happen? Those are gut level things that are not satisfied by going to a movie, having sex, or getting stoned. Those are basic inner questions of life that is derived from a hunger to know God. That’s what it means to hunger and thirst for God. I’ve got to have Him in my life. I want to know Him.
The words of Jesus give us powerful clues as to how you and I can be fully satisfied in life. The Gospel of John 8.35, 51 says, “Whoever comes to me will never go hungry …” “Whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.” And in Chapter 14 of the same book Jesus said, “Whoever drinks the water I give will never be thirsty again …” Three words, “come …believe…drink”. The point is that appetites are not filled until you do something about it.
You can be hungry, your stomach growling... but you’ll stay hungry until you take action. Get up, get some food, put it in your mouth and swallow it. Jesus is saying here; You’ve got to take action. Just like physical hunger, when you’re hungry, you go eat food, when you’re spiritually hungry you need to do three things - come, believe, drink. That’s how you find satisfaction in life. First you “come to Me” -- You come to Christ. Second, you believe in Christ. Third, you drink of Christ. I receive Him into my life.
As a Christian, being committed to Christ is more than head knowledge. I believe. People say, “There must be more to life than what I am experiencing right now. There got to be more.” The answer is, there is! You might be feeling that in spite of life being good, there’s still and emptiness there. There’s no real peace or contentment there. If you are feeling like that, I want to say to you, “Congratulations! Because God’s creating a hunger in your life to know him.” Nothing is worse than to feel like “I’ve got everything and I’m very self satisfied” and never understand that you’re missing out on the greatest thing in life. What a tragedy that would be!
The fact is when you were born, God gave you a physical appetite to keep you alive. When you were born-again, He gave you a spiritual appetite to know Him. Only Jesus can satisfy that hunger. Only Jesus can produce ultimate satisfaction in your life. Sex can’t. Money can’t. Having a nice home can’t. Having your kids get straight A’s and be very proud of them can’t. Being famous, being powerful, having all the pleasure, none of those things produce ultimate satisfaction in your life. Because it’s a spiritual need. There’s a God-shaped vacuum in you and only God can fill it. The sooner you learn that the better because you’ll save a lot of time and a lot of money.
And what do you do? Take these three steps: I come, I believe, I drink! Notice the promise. Jesus says, “Happy are those who are hungry and thirsty for true goodness, for they will be truly satisfied.”
God is saying “Satisfaction guaranteed!” If God can’t guarantee it, nobody can!
Your hunger for happiness is met in knowing God and being known by Him and in loving God and being loved by Him and developing a relationship with Him and finding out the purpose for which you were put on this earth.
As you seek Him, you find that happiness and that satisfaction. He will not turn you down!
Enjoy your weekend, stay safe and take the time to read the Bible. It is God’s Manual of Instructions for Life.
Pastor Tevai Matapo,
Assembly Of God.