O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you; my flesh faints for you, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water.
We do not eat because food tastes good but because food reduces the unpleasant feeling of hunger. This hypothesis sits at the heart of the Drive Reduction Theory, currently being tested by Dr. Bradford Lowell at Harvard Medical School.
Over the past two decades Dr. Lowell’s research team has created what amounts to a wiring diagram of the complex neurocircuitry controlling hunger, feeding, and appetite. “One reason that dieting is so difficult is because of the unpleasant sensation arising from a persistent hunger drive,” Dr. Lowell explains.
If Dr. Lowell’s theory about how the brain responds to hunger holds through further study, we must ask why it is so difficult to develop the deep hunger for God like David had in the Psalms.
Our struggle is that, in our pride and idolatry, we have found ways to satiate our longings for God apart from him. In order to hunger more for God we must stop attempting to fulfill our need for identity, control, power, importance, and esteem by our own power.
To develop a hunger for God like David’s, Jonathan Edwards suggests three differences that ought to mark the lives of Christ’s followers:
1. Christians prefer the enjoyment of God to anything in the world. To cultivate this, Edwards says we should set our longings and desires “not so much at the things which are seen and temporal, as at those which are unseen and eternal.”
2. Christians desire to experience as much of God as possible, even before experiencing the good things of this world. This is grown through knowledge of God, participation in community, and experiences in prayer.
3. Christians holdfast to what they have of God, not compromising it for the “pleasures of sin.” Edwards explains, “That which was infused into his heart at his conversion, is more precious to him than any thing which the world can afford.”
What we discover as we grow in these areas is that, in contrast to the Drive Reduction Theory’s understanding of food, our deepest hungers are met in God both because he is good and because in his goodness he meets the deepest pangs of our souls.
Use the words of Psalm 63 as today’s prayer.
Part 3 of 5, read more on TheParkForum.org