While ministering once in a church, I noticed how the pastor and his congregation wholeheartedly sang these songs about how “desperate” for God they were. Don’t get me wrong: I like those tunes and their overall message. However, I prefer to sing “I’m in love with You” instead of “I’m desperate for You.”
Desperate comes from the Latin word meaning “despair.” Check out these dictionary definitions:
|1.||Reckless or violent because of despair, driven to take any risk.|
|2.||Undertaken as a last resort.|
|3.||Nearly hopeless, critical, grave, i.e. a desperate illness.|
|4.||Marked by, arising from, or showing despair; despairing, i.e. the desperate look of hunger.|
|5.||In an unbearable situation because of need or anxiety, i.e. desperate for recognition.|
|6.||Extreme because of fear, danger, or suffering greatly, i.e. in desperate need.|
“The synonyms for despair are hopelessness, desperation, despondency, depression, discouragement, and dejection. All of these nouns denote emotional states marked by lowness of spirits or loss of hope. Despair and hopelessness stress the utter absence of hope and often imply a sense of powerlessness or resignation. Desperation implies absence of grounds for hope, but adds the idea of fighting back, often blindly or recklessly” (New American Heritage Dictionary).
When you sing “Lord, I’m desperate for You,” what do you mean? Are you saying, “Lord, I’m in love with You and want You more than anything else?” If so, that’s fine. But according to the dictionary, you’re really saying, “I’m in despair because of this extremely unbearable situation. There are no grounds for hope, but I’m anxiously, recklessly, and violently fighting back anyway.” If that’s what you mean by being “desperate for the Lord,” it’s absolutely wrong!
The only reason for a Christian to be desperate is if that person doesn’t understand what God has already done. The Lord has already blessed us, healed us, delivered us, and prospered us! He loves us and nothing will ever change that. The only reason to be hopeless, helpless, and in despair is if we don’t know who we are and what we have in Christ.
We need a full revelation of what Jesus has done for us! That doesn’t mean we won’t ever have problems. But in the midst of them, we can say, “Father, You’ve already supplied this before I ever had the need. I know it’s there, so I’m drawing near to You. Thank You for revealing it to me!” Christians should never be hopeless or full of despair.
When you sing “I’m hungry for God,” what do you mean? If you’re expressing desire, that’s fine: “God, I love You and want You more than anything else!” However, a closer look at the dictionary definition of hunger reveals “hurt, pain, agony, depression, and despair that accompanies not having your needs met” (New American Heritage Dictionary). Many people sing “God, I’m desperate and hungry for You” and mean “I’m so miserable. Life is terrible, but I’m looking for You. You’re my answer, and I believe that out there—somewhere—You’re going to do something to meet my needs.” That’s the complete opposite of the revelation of God’s Word!
“What’s Wrong with This Picture?”
This church had just sung those songs about how “desperate” and “hungry” they were. “O God, we need a move. Touch us. Please, Lord, do something new!” I stood up to speak and asked, “How many of you are hungry for God? How desperate for Him are you?” They all clapped and cheered loudly.
Continuing, I said, “John 6:35 declares: ‘And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.’”
I asked them, “What’s wrong with this picture? All of you just stood and acknowledged that you’re hungry and thirsty. Yet this says that you’ll never hunger or thirst again. Jesus told the woman at the well the same thing: ‘But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life’” (John 4:14). They immediately became so quiet, you could’ve heard a pin drop!
Now, don’t misunderstand what I’m saying. I use the term “getting hungry for God” in the sense that you have a deep yearning for Him. My good friend, Bob Nichols, says, “As long as you can live without more of God, you will” and “As long as you can live without more healing, you will.” You could plug a number of different things in there like peace, joy, prosperity, etc. But the point is, you must hunger for—strongly desire and focus on— the things of God in order to experience them.
The Lord doesn’t come to those who just passively seek Him; you must pursue Him wholeheartedly.
For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end…And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.
Jeremiah 29:11 & 13
This type of hunger is godly.
But if by “hunger” you mean “O Lord, I’m just so empty. I have no joy, no peace, no hope. God, where are You? I’m desperate for You,” that’s not right and that’s not faith. Yet this is what’s being proclaimed and modeled in the body of Christ today as being a “normal” experience. It’s like a person who’s sitting in front of a twelve-course meal. Everything they could ever want is there, but they keep crying, “I’m so hungry!” They just want pity or somebody to stick the food in their mouth for them. Personally, I have no sympathy for someone sitting before such a feast and whining about how “desperate” they are. If you’re hungry, eat!
Draw from Your Well
God has already given us everything. There’s a well of living water on the inside of every born-again believer. It’s not the Lord’s fault if we’re hungry and thirsty. It’s not time to ask Him to come and touch us; it’s time for us to start taking, eating, and drinking of what He’s already given!
I’m not saying there’s no place for a Christian to ever have problems or discouragement or that we should always be perfect and just deny reality. Believers do experience hunger in the sense that they feel empty, and God seems like a million miles away. But when you experience that, it’s wrong to approach Him, saying, “O Lord, I just don’t feel Your love. Please love me. Do something to show me You care!” You might as well have said “God, You haven’t done anything” because you’re blaming Him for your feelings of emptiness and hunger.
Through the revelation contained in this study, I’ve learned that God loves me infinitely more than I can ever comprehend or need. He can’t love me more or give me any more love than what I already have. Knowing this has kept me out of depression and discouragement for over forty years!
There were times when such feelings tempted me. I’ve had issues and terrible things happen, just like anybody else. I’ve even had thoughts like, Man, just get in your pickup and drive. Don’t ever come back! I can’t stand it anymore. Just walk away! Although I’ve had these thoughts, I don’t give in to them, because I also have this revelation that God loves me and has already provided everything I need.
So, instead of giving in to hunger, discouragement, and despair, I remind myself of God’s Word. I don’t ever say, “Lord, that’s the way it is. Now You must do something brand-new to touch me. I’m looking for something else from You.” That would be an insult against what He’s already done. Instead, I pray, “Father, this is absolutely wrong. John 6:35 says that I should never hunger or thirst again. I know that on the inside of me, there is so much love, joy, and peace—all the fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22-23). Everything I need is already there. So, Father, I know that You have done Your part. It’s not Your fault if I’m tempted with depression, discouragement, giving up, and quitting. It’s my fault. I’m not focused on You. I’ve let my eyes be taken off of You and put on the problems of this world.” I’ll just separate myself and spend a day or so fasting, praying, and seeking God. What I’m doing is mining what the Lord has already placed within me. Instead of asking Him to give me something new, I draw out the life that He’s already given.
That’s why I can truthfully tell you that I haven’t been depressed in over forty years. I’ve been tempted with depression. I’ve had feelings of depression hit me. But within ten or fifteen minutes, I just decide that I don’t like depression, and I refuse to have it. God has given me such joy inside that I can choose to rejoice at all times (Phil. 4:4).
The Word says, “I will bless the LORD at all times: his praise shall continually be in my mouth” (Ps. 34:1).
This isn’t telling you to just “fake it till you make it.” Rather, this is talking about drawing out what’s inside of you.
As I’ve drawn on the joy that God has already placed within my born-again spirit, I’ve lived a consistently victorious life. In the midst of great adversity, I’ve experienced continual joy and peace. It’s not because I’m never tempted with the other, but it’s because I know in my heart that God has already done His part.
I haven’t become passive and said, “God, I’m waiting on You.” Many people do that and languish while waiting for an epiphany. They sing, “I’m so desperate and hungry! O God, where are You? I’m just a poor wayfaring pilgrim, and it’s so miserable down here.” Instead, I pray, “Father, I know this isn’t right. This isn’t what You’ve done. Your Word shows me that You’ve already blessed me. I praise You for what You’ve done!” I start focusing on the Lord and His Word and draw out His abundant life from within me.
That’s why I haven’t had discouragement or depression last for more than a very short time for over forty years now. I simply refuse to yield to them or let them have their effect in my life. That’s awesome!
Many people desire these same results, but they think the way to achieve them is to passively ask God to do something and then sit back and wait. If things don’t change, and victory—healing, prosperity, blessings, deliverance—doesn’t instantly come, they get upset with the Lord, asking, “God, why aren’t You doing anything?” That’s not it at all.
The Lord has already done everything. However, if you’re not seeing it manifest, it’s not God who hasn’t given—but you who haven’t received! Come with me as I take you on a journey that will teach you how to receive what God has already done for you.