Revive Our Hearts Podcast

Satisfying Our Thirst, Part 9

Leslie Basham: When you raid the refrigerator late at night, is it because you need nourishment or is there a different reason?

This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss for Thursday, July 18.

God gives us food to satisfy our physical hunger. But sometimes we eat not because we're physically hungry, but because we have an emotional need. Why do we do that? Nancy is going to give us some insight today.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: It was the French mathematician and philosopher, Blaise Pascal, who said many years ago that there is a God-shaped vacuum inside every one of our hearts. It's a huge hole, it's the size of God. Pascal said that hole within us cannot be filled by any created thing but only by God the Creator.

We're all thirsty, we're all hungry. But we've tried to satisfy our thirst in all the wrong places. Our thirst really is for God. He is the one we're longing for and that's why the psalmist said, "My soul is thirsty for you, O God"(Ps.63:1). The problem is that we try to satisfy our thirst with things and places and people and circumstances other than God Himself. We've said that if we want to get our thirst satisfied, we need to first come to the place where we admit that we're thirsty.

For the last week and a half we've been looking at the woman at the well who came to Jesus in the town of Samaria. Jesus led that woman through a conversation to help her realize that she had a need that was deeper and greater than her need for water, which was why she came to the well in the first place.

But He wanted her to see that she had internal longings for which she had never found satisfaction because she had been looking in all the wrong places. We've said that if we're going to get our thirst satisfied, we have to come to the place where we acknowledge that we are thirsty and that we have an empty place in our heart that cannot be satisfied by this world.

We've also said that we have to then identify the wells we've been going to in an attempt to get our needs met. What are the things we've been looking to, to satisfy our thirst? I know a lot about those wells myself. I would say that the three top wells that I have found myself turning to as I look back over nearly 40 years of walking with the Lord are ones that I think are not unusual. I think there are probably others in this room who share these wells in common.

One of the things I often find myself turning to is food. This has been a huge struggle for me and I think it all goes back to Genesis chapter three (Gen.3:6) with the woman there in the Garden. What was the first sin? It was the sin of eating something God said not to eat thinking it would satisfy a need she had in her heart that God intended to satisfy in a different way.

Ultimately, all sin is trying to get legitimate needs met in ways that God has said are not legitimate. The need is legitimate, but the way we try to get it met is outside of God's boundaries. I think the fact that Eve struggled with this issue of eating is perhaps one explanation for why so many of us as women look to food to satisfy us in ways that are not physical. We're eating not because we're hungry. For some it's not eating, for some it's not eating that is the well. We're really trying to meet emotional and spiritual needs from deep within. That has been a big well for me.

Another well for me has been looking for approval and affirmation and praise from other people. I find myself, to this day, having to guard against this idol of my heart. There is another related well for me and it's one I think most of us as women wrestle with. It's the matter of relationships--looking for friendship, companionship...people to keep us from being lonely.

What we're really saying is, "There is a hole in my heart and this person can fill that hole." So we work to get close to people, we work to get them into our lives but we find out the hole is bigger than that person. The hole is bigger than all our friends and family members combined. They cannot satisfy. So as we're seeking to get our thirst satisfied one of the things we have to realize is the utter futility of seeking to fulfill our thirst in anything or anyone other than Jesus. It won't work.

I think for me the real turning point in this matter of wells and where I get my thirst satisfied happened about a dozen years ago when in the course of several months I lost, through different series of circumstances, three of the closest people in my life. One of them died. One was a widow who remarried and moved away and the other through another series of circumstances was taken geographically out of my life. If you had asked me prior to that point, "Are you a 'giver' or a 'taker' in relationships?" I would have said, "I think I'm a giver." I could have pointed you to lots of ways that I was giving in these relationships.

But when those people were removed from my life, I found myself devastated. My world just fell apart and I realized I had been looking to these and other people to meet needs in my life. And I was not a giver as much as I was a taker. I was using people to fill a place in my life that was meant for God Himself. They had become idols in my life. I was worshiping them. I was looking to them to satisfy me.

When they were taken away I found that I was so insecure. I had nothing left to hold on to. I had to learn the hard way and I've had to keep learning that things and people other than Jesus cannot fill the empty places of my heart. They can't. They will all disappoint. Things can be burned, they can be stolen, they can be lost. People die, they fail, they move away. If I'm looking to people or things to satisfy me, I'm setting myself up for disappointment.

At that point I confessed, "Oh, Lord, I see that I have been an idolater. I've looked to people to fill those empty spaces of my heart." I repented. I said, "Lord, please help me never to look to anything or anyone other than you ultimately to be my fountain of life." I've asked the Lord to remind me (He has been so faithful to do this) when I get to that point again where I'm looking to people to fill a space that God intended to fill Himself.

Maybe you're sitting there thinking, Well don't you have any friends anymore? Do you know what? I have more friends and more healthy friendships now than I ever did back then. You know why? Because I'm not in those relationships to get but to give. God has freed me up to really love other people.

Now do I do this perfectly? No. But God has made a major change of focus and thinking in my life to where I'm in these relationships to be a lover, to be a servant, to be a giver. So if that person dies or moves away or fails in some way, I can still love. I'm not looking to that person to meet my needs. What I'm doing is drinking deeply from the fountain of living waters, from Christ Himself. As He fills my cup, then there's overflow for me to give out to others.

You know one of the things God taught me through this period of time was that disappointment and loneliness and loss are actually a blessing. You might not have finished the sentence that way if I had asked you to fill in that blank. Disappointment and loneliness and loss...a blessing? But I came to see that they really are. You know why? Because they forced me to look upward to get my needs met.

Deuteronomy 8:3 says that God allowed His people to go hungry so that they would find out that it's the Word of God that truly and lastingly satisfies and they would become detached from the things of this world and their hearts would become more attached to Heaven. Someone has said that you'll never know that Christ is all you need until He's all you have. When He's all you have, you'll find out He really is all you need.

So are you facing some disappointment in your life? Some loss of friendship? Maybe you've just moved to the area and you've left behind children...I don't mean little children but grown children. Or you've left behind close friends you've had for many years and you're now in a new situation.

Maybe it's your husband who has disappointed you. Not only has he not met your expectations, but maybe he has not proved to be a fit husband at all. Maybe it's a pastor or Christian leader who disappointed you. A counselor...someone you expected more from and then you found out they had feet of clay. Disappointment, loneliness and loss can become a blessing if I will allow the disappointment and the loss to cause me to look upward to meet my needs; to say, "Oh, Lord, whom have I in Heaven but You? And on earth there is nothing and no one I desire besides you."

So would you right this moment say, "Thank You, Lord. Thank You for the loneliness. Thank You for the loss. Thank You for the disappointment. Because in having these things taken out of my hands, I'm now forced to turn to You to meet my needs in a way that no one and nothing else could ever have done anyway." It's in His mercy and His love that God pries loose from our hands those things and people we've been looking to, to satisfy us so that He can fill us with Himself.

Leslie Basham: We all need to take some time today and make sure we're being filled with God Himself and not relying on things that don't satisfy. Getting our needs met from the right source needs to become a daily habit. Nancy has created a tool that will help you walk in daily dependence on God. It's a study called Walking In The Truth. It's a companion piece to Nancy's book, Lies Women Believe, and would be a great topic for a women's Bible study.

The workbook is available for a $15 suggested donation when you visit our Web site, ReviveOurHearts.com. While you're there you can check out other resources you may find helpful including a video of Nancy teaching on today's subject. You can also get information by calling 1-800-569-5959. When you do contact us, remember that we are a listener-supported ministry and we hope that you'll consider helping us reach women in your area.  You can also send a donation by mail to Revive Our Hearts.

There are many good things that can point us to Jesus: worship music, church activities and radio programs. But we need to be careful that we don't get so wrapped up in those things that we miss Jesus. We'll hear about that tomorrow. Now again, here's Nancy.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: Thank You, Father for the treasure, the riches that we have in you. And forgive us, forgive me, Lord, for so often looking to experiences and things and circumstances and people to satisfy the deepest longings of my heart. Forgive me for my idolatry and thank You for giving the gift of repentance. Thank You for those experiences a dozen years ago that caused me to turn to You in a whole new way and freed me up to enjoy the blessings You bring into my life but not to look to them to fill my cup. Thank You for the incredible way that You really do fill me up with Yourself. I thank You in Jesus' name, Amen.

Leslie Basham:

Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss is a ministry partnership of Life Action Ministries.

*Offers available only during the broadcast of the podcast season.