Developing a sense of urgency and laying aside other things to pursue revival.
When you were growing up, perhaps your mother sometimes told you, “No, you cannot have a piece of cake (or cookie or candy) right now. It will ruin your dinner.” When she said “ruin your dinner,” did she mean that the dinner would burn or become soggy? No, what she really meant was “you will ruin your appetite for dinner.”
One of our ministers relates that when he was newly married, he sometimes stopped for a milkshake on the way home from work. Then when he sat down to the nice dinner his new bride had prepared, he wasn’t really very hungry. He soon found out that the milkshake on the way home was not a good idea!
In the same way, it is easy to ruin our spiritual appetites by eating “candy and cookies.” In our day, spiritual appetite depressants are readily available. For example, if you’ve just been reading an exciting novel, how anxious are you to turn to your Bible? If you have just finished watching a suspenseful video, how easy is it to get into a spirit of prayer? Does an hour or two in front of the television fill your mind with godly thoughts and an inclination to seek Him? Not likely. While these activities may not be wrong in themselves, we must take care to be spiritually sensitive regarding how we spend our time and what we allow our minds to dwell upon.
Practicing good eating habits takes discipline—a word we’re not especially fond of. Preserving and encouraging our spiritual hunger also takes discipline. We will need to consider how we are spending our time, what we are watching, what we are saying, and what we are thinking about. It will not do much good for us to ask God to give us a hunger for more of Him if we insist on consistently “snacking” on activities that have nothing to do with Him.
Yet, if we will choose to make the effort spiritually to not ruin our dinners by hav-ing dessert first, we will find that God will reward those efforts and bless us with a spiritual hunger when we ask.
I knew a woman who was very convicted of sin. One day I grieved to find her concern had disappeared, so I asked what she had been doing. She told me she had spent the afternoon with some lukewarm believers, not thinking that spending an afternoon with those who merely professed Christianity would destroy her convictions. But her companions were trivial and vain, and her convictions were lost. Those self-proclaimed Christians by foolishness destroyed a soul: Her resolve never returned.
Someone has said that how we spend our time and how we spend our money is a fairly good indicator of our priorities. Make a simple chart of your average week, noting how you spend your time. Then study your checkbook and budget for the past month. If someone who did not know you reviewed these two items, what would they conclude about your priorities? Ask yourself honestly: do some adjustments need to be made in order to prepare for revival?