Today I woke up with the same aching in my heart that I fell asleep with in the night. Loneliness. The pain seems to feel like a void that hungers to be filled. Often I can go through a day not consciously aware that it is there. But today was not one of those days.
And I thank God for that.
On the days when my heart is hungry and thirsty unawares are the days I am most prone to wander. I wander and don’t even know I’m wandering. I pursue pure things with corrupt reasons. And when they don’t seem to meet the itch. I often go to impure things seeking a thrill, joy, and satisfaction that will further numb the emptiness.
To the pure, all things are pure, but to the defiled and unbelieving, nothing is pure; but both their minds and their consciences are defiled. They profess to know God, but they deny him by their works. They are detestable, disobedient, unfit for any good work. -Titus 1:15-16
Typically we contrast believing with unbelieving. But Paul contrast pure with unbelieving in Titus 1:15. Sometimes authors use a word that is unexpected to give further meaning to the expected word. In this case, Paul seems to be giving further meaning to what it means to be believing by substituting the word pure. He also gives further meaning to the word pure by placing where we would expect the word “believing.”
The word believe in Scripture is a word rich with meaning and understanding all the nuances of its usage in Scripture is crucial to understanding what it is to believe in God and His Word.
Throughout the Scriptures faith is used as a word that is closely associated with appetite (Deuteronomy 8:3 , Isaiah 55, John 6, Philippians 3:19). How we appease our appetites reveal our desires and character. A man that desires pleasure with no labor reveals that he is a glutton and a sluggard. A woman that desires glory by mere outward appearance is vain and a harlot.
My heart is like a stomach that must be fed. And what I seek to put in it to satisfy reveals to me my character and my functional gods/God.
Be appalled, O heavens, at this; be shocked, be utterly desolate, declares the Lord, for my people have committed two evils: they have forsaken me, the fountain of living waters, and hewed out cisterns for themselves, broken cisterns that can hold no water. -Jeremiah 2:13-14
The great reformer, Martin Luther, taught it was impossible to sin and break any of the Ten Commandments without first breaking the first.
And God spoke all these words, saying, “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. “You shall have no other gods before me. -Exodus 20:1-3
When we seek for a created thing to satisfy our heart rather than the Creator we are guilty of idolatry. We are saying with our heart, “I believe my heart can be satisfied if I have this one thing,” With our heart we are declaring what we are putting our hope and trust in for what only God can give.
Jeremiah prophesied that Israel had committed two great evils. What were they? The breaking of the first two commandments; idolatry and making graven images. They committed idolatry by rejecting the worship of God and sought satisfaction in another thing. And that other thing was something of their own creation, “…and hewed out for themselves…” They thought they could make something that would deliver them from their thirst. But only God is self-sufficient.
These “two great evils” are the source of all sin. And it has everything to do with our appetites.
This is why it is so important I be aware of what my heart is feeling and desiring (Proverbs 4:23; Philippians 4:7). Loneliness is a hunger pain of the heart. And when I seek Netflix, food, work, success, people, etc. to satisfy that hunger I am acting as an impure unbeliever. But Jesus holds out this promise to us:
“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.”
When I am feeling the deep aching pain in my heart of loneliness, it is a loving call from my Abba Father welcoming me to come and commune with Him. He has made a way for us to be reconciled to Him through His Son Jesus Christ. He is the true Bread that gives eternal life (John 6:25-36). He is the True Water that our quenches our thirst (John 4:10-14). The Spirit is the Fountain that pours out the Living Water through the revelation and illumination of the Word (2 Corinthians 13:14).
Are you hungry? Are you thirsty? Hear the call of the Loving Father through His Eternal Word by the Holy Spirit,
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.” -Matthew 5:6