Posted by Jerry White on Oct 12, 2015
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.
Psalm 63:1 (ESV)
David confesses in this written prayer the deep desire of his soul.
He had no idea this would eventually become part of God’s holy Scripture. He was merely making notes from his time alone with his Shepherd. We benefit centuries later.
We read words like this in our Bibles and find them beautiful and comforting. Our hearts readily agree with the sentiment expressed, but often believers pass over statements like this without asking obvious probing questions of themselves. David’s confession raises questions like:
Is this the honest confession of my soul? Do theses words express what I truly feel, think and want to say? Do I earnestly seek the Lord because I thirst for Him like I would for water in a waterless desert? Is my longing for Him so strong that it is almost physical in nature? My flesh faints for you.
How can this be my true confession instead of just David’s beautiful words?
After these many years of pursuing the Lord, I understand the critical challenge is to maintain persistent longing for Him. Perpetual spiritual thirst is the preeminent issue for abiding in Christ. This is precisely where our weak flesh, the devil’s attacks, and the world’s distractions storm against us to prevent us from close fellowship with our Savior. Jesus warned about this.
Need, asking, and trust are key directives for us. People came to Jesus because they had a need, they came asking because only He could help them, and they approached Him because they trusted Him. So we can do the same. We can come to Him in prayer humbly admitting the coldness (or lukewarmness) of our heart; we can ask Him to stir us up and refresh us with new desire for Him; and we can confidently expect Him to do it. Often I ask our faithful Lord to stir, refresh, and deepen my desire for Him. And He does as I give myself to seek Him.
Desiring Him most above all else is absolutely essential to living in His overflowing fullness.
Posted by Jerry White on Jul 19, 2015
“I want deliberately to encourage this mighty longing after God. The lack of it has brought us to our present low estate. The stiff and wooden quality about our religious lives is a result of our lack of holy desire. Complacency is a deadly foe of all spiritual growth. Acute desire must be present or there will be no manifestation of Christ to His people. He waits to be wanted. Too bad with many of us He waits so long, so very long, in vain.
Every age has its own characteristics. Right now we are in an age of religious complexity. The simplicity which is in Christ is rarely found among us. In its stead are programs, methods, organizations and a world of nervous activities which occupy time and attention but can never satisfy the longing of the heart. The shallowness of our inner experience, the hollowness of our worship, and that servile imitation of the world which marks our promotional methods all testify that we, in this day, know God only imperfectly, and the peace of God scarcely at all….
When religion has said its last word, there is little that we need other than God Himself. The evil habit of seeking God-and effectively prevents us from finding God in full revelation. In the “and” lies our great woe. If we omit the “and” we shall soon find God, and in Him we shall find that for which we have all our lives been secretly longing….
The man who has God for his treasure has all things in One. Many ordinary treasures may be denied him, or if he is allowed to have them, the enjoyment of them will be so tempered that they will never be necessary to his happiness. Or if he must see them go one after one, he will scarcely feel a sense of loss, for having the Source of all things he has in One all satisfaction, all pleasure, all delight. Whatever he may lose he has actually lost nothing, for he now has it all in One, and he has it purely, legitimately and forever.”
The Pursuit of God, (Chapter 1)
Posted by Jerry White on Oct 28, 2013
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.
Psalm 63:1 (ESV)
“‘There’s a God-shaped vacuum in all of our hearts.’ So said Blaise Pascal 300 years ago when he realized only God could meet his longing. No more mirage-chasing for the perceptive French philosopher. He thirsted, drank and thirsted for more!
As David, king of Israel, writes Psalm 63, it has been many years since he took his first drink from the Fount of Living Water as a boy. He has had a lifelong relationship with God. Yet his ongoing thirst can hardly be contained. He keeps on pursuing God. He longs to know him better. He never seems to get enough of Him. His vacuum too was God-shaped!
You also may already have come to faith in God, yet, despite the transaction, your thirst persists. In fact, the more you drink from the Fountain the more thirsty you become. Don’t worry! The enigma of your ongoing thirst is a sign of life, not death.
Your initial thirst was a thirsting for God; but your present, constant, still-not-satisfied longing is best described as ‘thirsting after God.’ It is thirst by a finite being for the infinite God. The healthier you are spiritually, the more thirsty you will become. Abraham Heschel was surely right when he said, ‘He who is satisfied has never truly craved.’”
Thirsting After God, 36-37
“Today, however, we do not hear much about the need to see God. It is only as we turn the pages of the past that we become aware of our lack of this emphasis, both in preaching and in living the Gospel. In former days, we find, even in times of spiritual darkness, that there were always some who were gripped by a consuming passion—the longing to see God. For them there was only one goal, to know their God. They were heart-thirsty, and they knew that God alone could satisfy their thirst.
Roy and Revel Hession
We Would See Jesus, 10 (1958)
Posted by Jerry White on Jul 11, 2013
“What do ‘thirsty believers’ look like? How do we know they are thirsting for God and His satisfying waters? Two signs immediately become clear: They thirst after God’s Word and they thirst after communion with God through prayer.
When two travelers are going through the wilderness, you may know which of them is thirsty the way he is always looking for wells. How gladly Israel came to Elim, where there were twelve wells of water and seventy palm trees! So it is with thirsty believers. They love the Word, read and preached. They thirst for it more and more.
And so it is with prayer also. When a little child is thirsty for its mother’s breast, it will not keep silent, nor will a child of God who is thirsty. Thirst will lead you to the secret well where you may draw unseen the living water. It will lead you to united prayer. If the town were in want of water, and thirst staring every man in the face, would you not meet one with another, consult, and help to dig new wells? Now the town is in need of grace, souls are perishing for lack of it, and you are languishing. Oh. meet to pray. ‘If two of you agree on earth concerning anything that they ask, it will be done for them by My Father in heaven’ (Matt. 18:19).”
The Best of Robert Murray McCheyne, 170-171
Edited and Compiled by Stephen W. Sorenson
Come, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters.
Isaiah 55:1 (ESV)
Some believers speak of not taking time to meet with the Lord regularly in a meaningful way because of busyness, or distractions, or lack of discipline, or a myriad of other reasons. The truth is that if their body craved water they would find a way to satisfy their thirst. It is the same with spiritual thirst. Jesus said, If any man thirst. Thirst is the compelling factor. If we thirst, we find a way to satisfy it. We need to ask our gracious Lord to cause us to thirst for Him more than anything else. Driven by this craving we would do what we must to seek Him with all of our heart. Lord, cause me to thirst.
Posted by Jerry White on Apr 11, 2013
“If anyone thirsts…. “
Your life is busy with daily responsibilities. Family needs, work schedule, church assignments, household chores, social interaction by internet, phone and texting and other attention grabbing encounters soak up your mind and time like a thirsty sponge. Too soon the day is gone and you are too weary to concentrate in order to pray or to be in God’s Word. You know you should because you need it, and you feel guilty because you let other things distract you. Resolutions haven’t helped except for a short time. What is the secret for those who have discovered joyous communion with the Lord in the midst of a demanding life? How can it be different for you?
The Lord Jesus called it thirst. It is a thirst of soul. It is a profound awareness of need coupled with a craving for what will satisfy. It comes from a sharp consciousness that I must have what will sustain a healthy life—drinking water for the body and spiritual water for the soul.
Distractions of daily life can so rule us that spiritual thirst is dulled and oppressed. However, there is hope. Spiritual thirst can dominate your life so that you are compelled to seek the Lord Jesus above all else, both in time alone with Him and in all your daily responsibilities. Jesus did not rebuke Martha for her serving but rather because her serving distracted her from the one important issue (Luke 10:38-42). Her serving responsibilities ruled her mind and therefore overruled her heart-need. This caused her display of irritation with her sister Mary who was sitting at her Master’s feet drinking in His words to satisfy her thirsty soul (Luke 10:39-40).
Your heart desire can reign regardless of how busy your days are. If it does, then your spiritual thirst will demand time alone with the Lord Jesus on a regular basis, and also you will inwardly commune with Him in the sanctuary of your soul throughout the busyness of your day.
Who has ever had more demanding circumstances than the Lord Jesus? And yet He often withdrew to lonely places to pray (Luke 5:16). In Luke 10:42 Jesus said to Martha, “but one thing is necessary.” Interestingly, in the next verse (Luke 11:1) Jesus was doing the one thing necessary, “praying in a certain place.”
If you will ask the Lord to give you deeper thirst, He will surely answer because it is His will (1John 5:14-15). You CAN grow until your heart-thirst rules your life throughout the busyness of your days. This is the way your family, co-workers, fellow-believers and others may touch the Lord Jesus through your ordinary life. You will remain spiritually fresh like a tree planted by streams of water (Psalm 1:3).
Mary chose the good part, and you can also—if you thirst.
Posted by Jerry White on Apr 4, 2013
“The greatest enemy of hunger for God is not poison but apple pie. It is not the banquet of the wicked that dulls our appetite for heaven, but endless nibbling at the table of the world. It is not the X-rated video, but the prime-time dribble of triviality we drink in every night. For all the ill that Satan can do, when God describes what keeps us from the banquet table of his love, it is a piece of land, a yoke of oxen, and a wife (Luke 14:18-20). The greatest adversary of love to God is not his enemies but his gifts. And the most deadly appetites are not for the poison of evil, but for the simple pleasures of earth. For when these replace an appetite for God himself, the idolatry is scarcely recognizable and almost incurable.”
A Hunger For God, p. 14
Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good!
Psalm 34:8 (ESV)
We taste Thee, O Thou living Bread,
And long to feast upon Thee still;
We drink of Thee, the Fountainhead
And thirst our souls from Thee to fill.
Bernard of Clairvauz (1091-1153)
Posted by Jerry White on May 3, 2012
Thirst is need, desire, and even craving. Physically this speaks of a feeling of dryness in the mouth and throat that results in a desire or need for water. While dying on the cross Jesus said, ‘I thirst!’ Water is the most basic need of the human body along with air to breathe. The stronger your thirst becomes the more determined you become to find whatever will quench it.
The Expository Dictionary of Bible Words says, “Famine and drought were among the most feared calamities of biblical times. Hunger and thirst represent humanity’s most basic needs for survival. In a culture that saw God as the central reality, it is not surprising to find hunger and thirst linked in a number of ways with God.
In the material realm, God is looked to as the source of food and drink…Hunger and thirst are extended in Scripture to represent basic spiritual needs that also require satisfaction.’ Psalm 42:2 speaks about spiritual thirst, ‘My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.’ Jesus was speaking of spiritual thirst in John 7:37. Spiritual thirst is a sense of dryness in the soul that results in a craving, which only God can satisfy.
The path to fullness with the Holy Spirit begins with spiritual thirst. This is what Jesus meant when He said, “If anyone is thirsty.” Often Christians are so full of other things they do not thirst for God. Jeremiah wrote, “For My people have committed two evils:/ They have forsaken Me, / The fountain of living waters / To hew for themselves cisterns, / Broken cisterns that can hold no water” (Jeremiah 2:13, NASB). The world’s cisterns never satisfy spiritual thirst. Only God’s presence and His fullness can satisfy the deep longing of a regenerate soul. Spiritual thirst is when you deeply and profoundly know your need for the Spirit’s fullness just like your parched mouth knows its need for water. Trying to satisfy your life with other things prevents you from your drinking living water, and therefore, you don’t experience the quality of Christian life God intends for all believers.
He freely and abundantly gives His fullness to those who thirst and come to Him to drink. If there is a hindrance to your enjoying His overflowing fullness then it is probably on your side, not His, because He is more willing to give than you are to receive.
Posted by Jerry White on Feb 2, 2012
“I realize there are a number of principles I learned about thirsting after God. Let me try and summarize them:
1. God creates the thirst. We must cultivate it.
2. When I respond, God finds a way to encourage me, often through special people or circumstances.
3. God commands me to be filled with His Spirit, meaning it is my move next. He will respond to that.
4. I’ve noticed less resistance to the Spirit when I am alone, praying and reading His Word.
5. The fresh touch of God’s Spirit can come with or without accompanying physical manifestations.
6. God has already lavished on me the love I so desperately long for. That is why I long!
7. My growing sense of anticipation is actually faith beginning to appropriate that love.
8. The Spirit’s fullness is directly dependent on my confession of sin.
9. The Spirit’s infilling makes me neither immune to sin nor free from temptation.
10. Being filled with the Spirit makes me much more sensitive to sin. In thus seeing my true status, the initial euphoria may be dampened, but the end result is true joy through confession.
11. God uses mountaintop experiences to stimulate further longings, even much later in life.
12. We must not depend on such experiences for our growth as Christians, but when God grants them, each crisis must be followed by a process.”
Thirsting After God, 69-70
Thirst is need, desire, and even craving. Physically this speaks of a feeling of dryness in the mouth and throat that results in a desire or need for water. While dying on the cross Jesus said, ‘I thirst!’ Water is the most basic need of the human body along with air to breathe. The stronger your thirst becomes the more determined you become to find whatever will quench it. The same is true for a soul thirsting after God.