This is the time of year when the birds are building nests and laying eggs. I love Spring! Our church building serves as home to mother robin. She returns every year to build a nest in the windowsill of one of our classrooms. It is wonderful for our children to watch as this mother diligently builds and shapes and builds and shapes her nest. The kids can hardly wait to see how many eggs she will lay this year. And then before long, there are babies! (One year, we were excited to watch the babies hatching DURING our Sunday School class) There are so many lessons our children and adults alike, learn from watching these creatures. We talk about what an amazing God who could create something like this. We talk about how He cares for these birds, providing just what they need, and how He loves us even more. We talk about the way the momma bird feeds and protects her babies until they are mature and then they are pushed out of the nest to fly on their own. Each year, we look forward to the arrival of this momma bird --it is something we never tire of.
One of the things that strikes me about these birds (besides the fact that they are born really ugly) is that they are always born hungry. It is a matter of mere seconds after their birth before they begin squawking, little mouths open, begging for their mother to provide some sustenance. It seems that most creatures are born that way--it is usually not long after birth that puppies and kittens are nuzzling up their mothers and before long human children are put to the breast, cradled in mother's arms, needing sustenance. Even we are born hungry!
I believe we are born hungry---I believe we want mother's milk. I believe we are created with an appetite for that which we need---food, water, love! But, I also know that appetite can be changed--substitutions can be introduced, a taste can be developed and that which we crave can be changed. Isn't that exactly what happens to us spiritually?
I suppose one could read yesterday's post along with todays and be able to tell what is on my mind. They are similar---but I can't seem to help myself. I am concerned about the changing appetites of our society. Think about our seeming insatiable hunger for reality television? How could that be healthy? Not only do we all watch it but we set our schedules around it so we won't miss it, and we pay more of our hard earned money so we can afford to tivo that which we cannot schedule around. We can't seem to get enough scandal, enough gossip or enough of other's dirty little secrets. (Whatever happened to that obscure little verse that says love keeps no record of wrong and does not rejoice in evil?) Why is it evil that whets our appetites? Why is is sin we are hungry for?
I believe satan molds and shapes our appetites as much as we allow him to do so. He will convince us that a day without television is a bad day. He will convince us that we need to know what is going on in the life of Britney Spears and Barak Obama. He will tell us that informed intelligent people need to be acquainted with all the skeletons in everyone's closet. And then, he will give us a taste--just enough to make us hungry for more. And taa-daaa, we have a new hunger, a learned hunger!
Just as babies can develop a taste for cokes and cookies, so can Christians develop a taste for sin and smut. But the only way it happens is with constant exposure. My husband and I were talking about beer one time. I told him I didn't understand what the appeal was. I have never tried beer because I can't get past the horrible smell. Ned said very few people become alcoholics because they like the taste of alcohol. He says most people think the first taste is awful but the more they taste, the more they like. (So, you have to deaden your senses completely in order to enjoy a bad habit?) Please don't hear me say if you drink beer you are going to hell---that is not what I am saying! I am saying that if Ned is right---it is an acquired taste. I would think cigarettes would be the same way, since most people hack and cough and almost get physically ill the first time they try one. We have to develop the appetite.
Don't you think sin is the same way? I would bet that most of us would be repulsed by our first foray into the porn world and yet there is a huge percentage of Christians who are addicted to pornography. Most sinful behaviors are uncomfortable if not down right repulsive the first time and then whether it is the thrill of the adrenalin rush that accompanies being naughty or the after effects of the sin itself---most of us are able to squelch our conscience and embrace our new hunger.
I have a friend who suffered some pretty severe cardio problems. After surgery and rehab, the entire family changed their eating habits. They eat low fat, low salt and low cholesterol foods. At first they didn't like the taste, because their taste buds had grown accustomed to french fries and potato chips. But now, they like it? They say they do--and they don't seem to notice that their food all tastes like cardboard--really! Now, I know that they are doing the right thing--and they feel so much better since they started eating tofu and other things that even ketchup doesn't make yummy! The point is, they were able to change their appetites--instead of craving barbecued chips, they can hardly wait to get home and eat some carrots! They learned to hunger for something wholesome!
Spiritually we can do the same thing! Our minds have only so much room! We choose what goes in and in essence then choose what comes out! We have allowed the world and its evil king to decide what we have an appetite for! David in the Psalms talks often about his hunger for the words and laws of God. He talks about his desire to absorb God's goodness through His statutes and precepts. David had obviously developed quite an appetite! Perhaps it is time we put some effort into shaping and reshaping our appetites. We must crave Him and His word! It is time we got really hungry----and developed wholesome spiritual appetites. After all, right out of the waters of baptism, most of us couldn't get enough of God, His people or His word! We were simply born hungry! As our appetites changed so did our spiritual health. Poor spiritual nutrition means we are prey to more and more spiritual diseases and we are less able to fight off evil. We need to feed ourselves better--and more often than three times a week! Let's work together to change our appetites, to become a hungry, hungry nation!