Our hearts often long. We experience this yearning for something throughout our lives. It’s almost unexplainable. We have this instilled longing in our hearts. We long for thing like home, family, favorite seasons, hobbies, nature, etc. It’s different for everyone. I don’t really know what you long for and you probably don’t know what I long for.
We don’t really ever think about this, either. We don’t sit around thinking, “Okay, in this moment, what am I really longing for?” But I believe that we should try to examine our hearts as often as we can to see what we are really longing for.
Honestly, I often long for attention. This is a shortfall. In social situations, I long to be the center of attention, and I feel awkward on the sidelines. Obviously, I am an extrovert, and I understand that not everyone is wired like me, and that’s great! But, in social situations, that is what I long for. That is my struggle. I have begun, though, to think about what I should be longing for.
Over the course of the last several days, my devotional life has been focused around one verse. Psalm 42:1 says, “As the deer pants for streams of water, so I long for you, O God.” This is a beautiful verse that has inspired books and hymns over time. While the verse is beautiful and paints an inspiring image in my head, the truth is the verse is extremely challenging.
Think about this: “As the deer pants for streams of water…” is a great picture. But a deer does not pant gently at the water. Often the image is a deer serenely drinking water surrounded by a beautiful scene in nature. A deer must drink from the stream to survive. Longing is not gentle. The deer longs for the water when he is away because it is his life source. We deeply long for home when we are away for a period of time because we crave home; we desire home. We want what we long for. Longing is craving.
What this verse is saying is that we should crave God. We should, as believers, be longing for God. This is not easy. Why? It’s sin. We are depraved, fallen people. But we can have the ability to long for God. It comes from reflecting on His glorious gospel. The more we reflect on what God has done for us, by sending His Son Jesus as a man to earth to die for our sins, applying His righteousness to us, and giving us new life, we will long more for God. Reflect by praying, thanking God for the great things He has done in you for His glory!
We also develop a longing for God by being around His people. If we are involved in Christian community (the church), carrying out the Great Commission with other believers, we will long more for God as well. There is a value to the church in that it provides community. Humans strive and long for more community. For Christians, that community is provided for us in the church. And the church should be pushing each other to a deeper longing for God. Be a part of a church that pushes you to long deeply for the Lord.
Lastly, we can develop a longing for God by immersing ourself in His Word. God has revealed himself to us through the Bible, and we can access His stories of old in that. Start reading the Bible, and ask God to give you a longing for learning about him through His Word.
My question for you this week is, “Where is your longing?” In you heart, what do you crave? Often, I do not crave the Lord. My selfishness and sinfulness cloud my cravings and longings. Pray that God will create a longing for Him in your heart.