Hunger And Thirst For The Fullness Of God
By Wesley L. Duewel
Do you know what it is to hunger and thirst after righteousness, after the fullness of the Spirit? If you do, I can guarantee you on the authority of God’s Word that you will be filled (Matt. 5:6). We can never become too hungry for God. The depth of our desire measures the wealth of what we can receive from God. Jacob began wrestling with the angel as a proud, self-sufficient, self-willed man. But as he prayed, he got so hungry that he determined not to let go of the angelic wrestler until he was blessed. The angel asked Jacob his name – which revealed his needy nature. Jacob confessed it then held on until he prevailed. Jacob (meaning supplanter, deceiver), after his night of prayer, was renamed Israel (Prince with God). He also received the blessing he so much needed (Gen. 32:8-13, 24-30; Hos. 12:4).
Moses became hungry to see God’s glory and kept holding on and pleading until God gave him what he desired. We do not know how much of the forty days were spent hungering and thus communing with God. However long it took, Moses received what he hungered for (Ex. 33:18) and came down the mountain aglow with the glory of God (34:29-35).
Are David’s prayers mere words? Have you ever really understood the thirst of his soul? He cried out: "O God...my soul thirsts for You, my body longs for You, in a dry and weary land...My soul clings to You" (Psa. 63:1-2, 8). "My soul yearns, even faints...my heart and my flesh cry out for the living God" (84:2). "I wait for the Lord, my soul waits...My soul waits for the Lord more than watchmen wait for the morning, more than watchmen wait for the morning" (130:5-6). When your soul thirsts that deeply to be filled with the Spirit, it will not be long until you are filled to overflowing, until a flood tide of blessing flows out from your innermost being to bless parched and thirsty souls all about you.
My mother was converted in her childhood as she knelt at the altar in a country church when the invitation to receive Christ was given. She was too timid to pray aloud, but her heart cried to God for mercy, and she knew God forgave her sins. She felt God’s assurance and peace flooding her heart, and the Spirit witnessed to her that she was a child of God. As she knelt there in silence, thanking God for what He had done in giving her the new birth, for some reason God gave her a vision of a ladder stretching up to heaven with angels ascending and descending on it. She thought that all in the church saw it. Just then the evangelist said to the pastor (both were kneeling near her), "God is here!" Mother thought to herself, "Why certainly God is here. Why even His angels are here! Can’t you see them?"
But Mother soon found that she had deep spiritual need remaining in her heart. She had an almost uncontrollable temper. She had many sisters and brothers, and often just after she had scrubbed the kitchen floor clean, one sister would deliberately walk across the floor with dirty shoes. On several occasions Mother got so angry that she chased her sister or struck her with a broom. Then she would feel ashamed of her temper and ask God to forgive her. At times her mother would go upstairs in the farmhouse, and Mother could hear her weeping and praying for God to deliver her daughter from this temper. My mother would be so ashamed that she would go and weep alone and promise God she would never, never get angry again. But she would!
As a teenager, Mother would read how mightily God had worked in the church during the days of the apostles. As she read the book of Acts, she longed for God to be present like that again. She went to her minister, who told her that such a close walk with God was only for the church in the days of the apostles. As she longed for her spiritual need to be met, the only verse that seemed to hold hope for her was, "Blessed are the poor in spirit" (Matt. 5:3). Feeling that if anyone had spiritual poverty, she was that one, she went to another minister to see if she could claim that promise for herself. He explained it away, and she was left brokenhearted.
One day as Mother went about her work in a home where she was employed, God seemed to whisper to her, "But you are not filled with the Spirit!" "No, Lord," she responded. "But I will not stop praying till I am!" She meant it literally and prayed throughout that day during her work and intended to pray all night, but before morning she fell asleep. When she woke in the morning, she felt ashamed that she had failed to hold on in prayer. She thought, "How can the Lord ever fill me with His Spirit if I don’t want it more than this?" All that day she tried to pray on in the hunger of her heart, and that night she resolved to spend the entire night in prayer, but again she fell asleep.
The third morning she was up before the family, praying from the moment she awoke. As she lit the fire in the wood-burning stove to prepare breakfast for the family, she was singing, "Come into my heart, Lord Jesus. There is room in my heart for Thee." Suddenly it seemed the fire from heaven fell upon her heart and the longings of her soul were satisfied. She started from the house to the barn to milk the cow, and she was so happy she began to skip and run for joy. She had never heard a testimony or sermon on the fullness of the Spirit. She had never read a book or article on the subject. But God spoke to her from His own Word. She hardly knew what she was thirsting for, but God knew, and all alone she was filled with the Spirit. From then on she was delivered from her bad temper.
"Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled" (Matt. 5:6). You do not need to be able to explain the theology of the Spirit-filled life. All you need is to hunger. Are there defeats in your heart of which you are ashamed? Are you longing for a victory you know God has for you? Are you hungrier for the fullness of the Spirit than for your daily food? Right now you can, out of the hunger and thirst of your heart, call to God and trust Him to fill you. Open your heart as you read this poem:
Fill Me More And More
O Spirit of the living God,
Possess my life and soul.
Come, fill and shed Your love abroad
And take complete control.
I long for all You have for me;
For all Your fullness is my plea.
Oh, come, possess me utterly;
Blessed Spirit, come.
O Spirit of refining fire,
Cleanse me from ev’ry sin.
With all my heart I do desire
Your holy flame within.
Burn all that will not stand Your test –
Whate’er cannot by You be blessed.
Oh, fill me with Your holy best;
Set my life aflame.
O Spirit of redemptive love,
Pour out Your love through me.
Come, tender Spirit, gentle Dove,
Give love from Calvary.
Oceans of love to me impart;
May living streams within me start
And flow in love to every heart!
Love this world through me.
O blessed Spirit, don’t delay
But come and fill with pow’r.
Have in my heart Your perfect way;
Begin Your work this hour.
Anoint and fill me more and more;
Oh, come upon me o’er and o’er
And use me more than e’er before!
Come upon me now!
– Taken from More God, More Power by Wesley L. Duewel. Copyright © 2000. Used by permission of the Duewel Literature Trust, Inc., Greenwood, Indiana. Dr. Duewel’s books may be purchased by calling (317) 881-6751 Ext. 361.