Our Appetites

There is a discontentment that occurs when we live life according to the flesh. The human has a huge need to be satisfied, and when we look to the wrong things to satisfy us, we continue to hunger. Smoking is an example, along with fornication, gluttony, drinking alcohol, drugs, and drama… these are all unhealthy outlets to filling our appetite, because the aftertaste to partaking in these behaviors is kind of nasty… they don’t leave us feeling well or good about ourselves afterwards. Healthier outlets include: sports, teaching, preaching, reading a book, talking to a friend, writing, hobbies, exercise, and health practices like eating superfoods. These outlets are healthy for the soul and recommended, however, there is still a higher thing we seek…. There is a theorist named Abraham Maslow who developed a hierarchy of human needs pyramid that outlines a hierarchy of human’s needs, beginning from the most basic at the bottom of the pyramid to the highest needs we have forming the tip of the pyramid . The theory is that people are not able to be satisfied until they have these needs met and in the given order. The needs begin with the most basic needs such as our physical needs for food, home, and bodily needs. Next we need safety, and then we need love and belonging. The last two tiers of needs are the higher needs which are self-esteem and finally self- actualization. Self-actualization is the stage in which a person reaches their fullest inner potential, in which they have peace with themselves, and all their physical and love needs are met. They have accomplished feeling good about themselves and finally they fulfill their purpose, what makes them who they are, or they have discovered their destiny and are also fulfilling it. Self- Actualization is what I want to discuss. I don’t believe it is possible to self- actualize without a connection to the Lord. It is built within each person to have a connection with him, whether or not everyone agrees. I believe that in order to truly attain good self-esteem we have to feel like a good person. There is a difference between arrogance and true confidence. Arrogance is laced with hate for others and really some hate for self. Confidence is feeling good about ourselves and how we behave with others. It is really hard to treat others well if you don’t have some sympathy or empathy for them. Anyways, all good things come from above, so when we act in goodness a reward is high self-esteem (Galations 6:4). After we have attained confidence in ourselves, then nothing can keep us from our destiny. Each person has a destiny from God. Each person was created to be and think a certain way that is also tied to their personal desires and needs for fulfillment. For example, the man who is destined to play the piano will not find satisfaction as a manager in a science lab, and vise versa. But God in his great wisdom orchestrated our lives so that we have to have some connection with him in order to be truly satisfied and often times our destiny won’t be fulfilled without him. My destiny was to write and preach the gospel. I have been thinking about God since I was a small child, even before ever being taught about him. I’m sure my grandparents and parents can recall my questions about God. However, if I had not ever turned to him then I would be one unsatisfied individual. I desired to learn about him because he created me to have that curiosity. Others will also have a drive because of their own personal God given destiny. We attain our true destiny when we put him in the forefront of our lives, or at least when we include him. Only God can truly satisfy us… Jesus said that those who hunger and thirst after him will be satisfied, and if he has called you, you will always have a hunger for him… even if it’s just slight. Thank him for it, and go to him for the dinner he’s prepared for you. Lord, quench our thirst… but may we never go without that thirst because you are the best temptation a person can ever want.

Discouragement

Discouragement is contrary to hope. You know that feeling, when you start to get excited about something but then you have a contrary thought cross your mind that tells you there is no point to have hope. That is discouragement. It can also be defined as the opposite of courage. Hope gives us something to look forward to, and mixed with faith we have courage. However, when discouragement comes in we lose our courage. I think of a child who loves to paint and after their teacher approaches them and praises their effort and tells them of what potential they have to win a painting contest coming up, they have hope. This child might then have the courage to sign up for the contest, feeling encouraged. Later, however that same child hurries home to tell their parent about it, with their painting in hand, but the parent sees their painting and laughs, telling them they are just setting themselves up for disappointment signing up for the contest. The child then loses the hope they had, and their courage dies as well. Their parent just discouraged them.

In the spiritual realm their is a spirit being called discouragement. He doesn’t want you reaching for your dreams, so he comes and whispers thoughts to you that are contrary to the hope that gives you courage to reach for the stars. Discouragement can also lead to a state of depression, also another spiritual being. My question is regarding that illustration with the child and the art contest, would it really had hurt that bad if he entered the contest and lost? Sure, but which is worse? To have hope and then be let down, or to not even have hope. Many well meaning people find it merciful to take away your hope, however what if the judge of that contest saw the same thing that the art teacher did? Who is to tell us that we don’t have what it takes to make our dreams succeed. If nothing else, trying and failing is a learning experience in which we can learn how we should improve, but don’t stop reaching for the stars. So, what spirit are we listening to? By God’s grace I have recently learned to see my thoughts from an outsider perspective, also known as objectivity. I am learning to be more objective about the thoughts that cross my mind, especially when my emotions start to get pressure to feel depressed. If you are feeling depressed and discouraged then I suggest that you take a step back metaphorically and observe your thoughts. Part of learning to stand up to the devil is to understand that not all the thoughts you have originate from you, or God. Sometimes it really is the devil sitting on your shoulder delivering to you on a platter your personal thoughts.. and this whole time we’ve thought they were ours. Keep in mind that if you discover that your thoughts seem to really be words of discouragement or flaming darts as the bible describes them aimed straight at your courage, that Satan Lies. He lies, which means that whatever he is telling you right now you can surely know that the opposite is the real truth and the real you. Be of good cheer Jesus said, “for I have overcome the world”. Selah…. why so downcast oh my soul, put your hope in God. Amen.