Reflecting on lessons I have subsequently learnt after taking photos for over 16 hours during the International Iron Man in Port Elizabeth in 2012. I found myself drawn to the same question over and over again: “Why are they doing this to themselves?”
I realised that before anything else, each of these competitors had to have one thing before they started and that was a desire to compete in this race.
Let’s face it. You have to have a pretty strong desire to be willing to pay ZAR4500 ($600 USD) to enter the race knowing full well you need to buy a triathlon bike, which entry level alone will set you back anywhere between ZAR9000 – ZAR20 000 ($1200 – $2670), wetsuit ZAR2000 ($267), 2 or 3 pairs of running shoes at R1000 –R1600 ($135 – $215) a pair, 2 or 3 Tri Pants at ZAR600 ($80) each, 2 or 3 tops at ZAR 200 ($27) each not to mention all the shakes and supplements required. These costs all add up very quickly.
Even with all the best equipment money can buy and the best training schedule unless an individual has the desire to compete, his training is useless.
As a Christian leader it is very easy to get by with our knowledge of the Scriptures. We can have all the know-how and go through the religious gymnastics of Christianity; but unless there is within us an unquenchable desire to “follow hard” after the Lord, to know him in his fullness, the final record will reveal our place as falling far short. Isaiah said, “If you are willing and obedient you shall eat the good of the land” (Isaiah 1:19; NRSV).
Scripture often describes our desire or craving for God as a deep hunger or thirst.
In Psalm 42:1-2 the writer describes it this way: “1As a deer gets thirsty for streams of water, I truly am thirsty for you, my God. 2 In my heart, I am thirsty for you, the living God. When will I see your face?” (CEV)
Our bodies cannot function without food and water, well at least not for any extended period of time. These are both absolute basic drives that our bodies have; but more than that they are basic needs. Without food and water we will die!
What about the desire, the cravings or hunger and thirst of the soul?
Questions for reflection:
Do we neglect the soul?
What are ways you might neglect your soul?
How do you nourish or feed your soul?
Is it possible that your deepest desires, cravings and yearnings are actually cries of the soul’s starvation?
Randy Alcorn says: “This fallen world, with its fallen people, can never satisfy our fallen selves. But we keep going back to it, as if it can. We set our sights on the objects of a thousand different desires, none of which give us the lasting pleasure we long for.” I agree wholeheartedly! Yet at times I find myself doing the exact same thing.
3 passages of Scripture that encourage me, help me discern, evaluate and understand what I really crave and desire:
“Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good! Blessed is the one who takes refuge in Him!” (Psalm 34:8; CEV)
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness for they will be filled.” (Matthew 5:6; NIV)
“1Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice, all deceit, hypocrisy, envy and slander of every kind. 2 Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation 3 now that you have tasted that the Lord is good.” (1 Peter 2:1-3; NIV).
Like eating good food (which I certainly do not struggle to do) and exercising regularly (which I do struggle to do), if we cultivate the relational habit of daily meditating in The Word (Both written and Living), we will deeply understand and realise our desperate need for Christ, His presence and miss it acutely whenever we’re away from it too long.
If you do not have a desire or craving for The Word, have you’ve forgotten Who you are missing?
Are you seeking this fulfilment elsewhere?
Psalm 37:4 encourages us to “Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.” (NIV)