There comes a point on a Sunday when everyone knows it’s time to head home for lunch. Jokes are no longer funny. Squealing kids are no longer cute. Stomachs growl a little too long. It is unquestionably time to go. With each passing moment, my attitude grows dark and my patience wears thin. We all know these tell-tale signs—we’re hangry.
Magically, as soon as my hunger is appeased, I feel my personality returning. Kindness returns. Grace returns. Patience returns. Apologies roll forth: I’m sorry for what I said when I was hangry. Hangry—a combination of hungry and angry—is a cutesy word we use to justify a lack of self-control while experiencing hunger. Much like my lack of self-control reveals when I'm physically hungry, the stirring and growling of my soul reveals when I'm spiritually hungry. Without realizing it, I’m ignoring the signs of spiritual hunger.
We experience spiritual hunger when we yearn for the Lord, aching for a deeper relationship with him. But often we don’t feed our spiritual hunger with food that satisfies, so the ache inside of us grows. Unsatisfied spiritual hunger produces sin. When these sins begin to mark our thoughts and actions, it is a sign that we are not filling ourselves with the Bread of Life (John 6:35).
Unsatisfied Spiritual Hunger and Insufficient Substitutes
Unsatisfied spiritual hunger is ravenous, grasping for anything close to us that resembles sustenance. The junk food of life—watching TV, scrolling our phones, mindless reading—tempts us with the false promise of rest and escape, but none of these things will sustain our souls. Ultimately, it is Christ that fuels our faith and satisfies our growling spirits. Filling our spirits with delightful but non-nourishing things will not stop the aching deep within us. It may satisfy us temporarily. It may feel like enough. However, in the end, our souls are left wanting, still searching for the true nourishing satisfaction of a deeper relationship with God.
Unsatisfied Spiritual Hunger Breeds Selfishness
Like physical hunger, our unmet spiritual hunger flares up selfishness. We believe our own needs are most important. We want what we want, and we want it now. When we hunger for the Lord but we don’t feed our souls by spending time with him in his Word and in prayer, our level of selfishness inflates. We fill our lives with what we think sustains us at the moment without considering the needs of those around us. We become the center of our own universe, and our unmet desires become our gods (Phil. 3:19).
Unsatisfied Spiritual Hunger Produces Spiritual Wandering
The further I am from the Lord in my hunger, the shorter my responses become, not only to the people around me but also to the Lord’s promptings. When unsatisfied spiritual hunger takes control, we don’t want to hear the commands of the Lord, live obediently to his will, or consider how we may be sinning. Close communion with God fuels our desire to serve him, please him, and receive his correction. When we drift from the only food that will satisfy our hearts, we no longer show grace, accept correction, or demonstrate patience.
Feed Your Soul with the Bread of Life
In John 6, Jesus says, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst” (v. 35). Communion with God in prayer, reading his Word, and worshiping him daily satisfy our spiritual hunger. He sustains (Ps. 55:22), strengthens (Ps. 73:26), and supplies (Phil. 4:19). In Psalm 107:9, the redeemed sing that “he satisfies the longing soul, and the hungry soul he fills with good things.” The more we fill our lives with Christ, the Bread of Life sent to sustain his people, the more our relationship with him will grow and satisfy our weary souls.
Still, we will always feel spiritual hunger pains in this life as we wait for unbroken communion with our Savior. But we have hope in the promise that one day we will be in the presence of our King forever: “They shall hunger no more, neither thirst anymore; the sun shall not strike them, nor any scorching heat. For the Lamb in the midst of the throne will be their shepherd, and he will guide them to springs of living water, and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes” (Rev. 7:16–17). Until that day comes, fill yourself daily with the Bread of Life—Jesus Christ, who quiets and satisfies our hungry souls.
Meet the Author
Sarah Valentour is the Fulfillment Specialist for Well-Watered Women, shipping out gospel-driven happy mail daily. Living in the metro-Atlanta area with her husband, she is passionate about writing on the Lord’s immense faithfulness, snuggles with her nieces and nephew, and discovering those unique intricacies that make certain words tick.