"Snickers really satisfies." Who among us has heard that famous candy bar's slogan? Who among us has believed it? I admit it's catchy. It's believable. It's compelling. And it's about as far from the truth as the east is from the west.
Don't get me wrong. I love a good piece of candy every now and then, or perhaps more often than I care to admit. To be honest, I have all too often loaded myself down with candy and other sort of junk food. I'm getting better at this with age. But I can't say it never happens. Do the empty calories stuff me? Oh yeah. But they far from satisfy me. In fact, they usually leave me with a stomach ache, followed shortly by a sugar-crash induced headache that could kill a small animal.
Here's the thing. When I eat a good breakfast and snack regularly on healthy food throughout the day, I rarely fall to the more unhealthy cravings. Then I feel much better, not overfull but well satisfied. So basically, cultivating and feeding a healthy appetite keeps me from falling to the unhealthy cravings.
I wonder if that's what Christ was thinking in the Sermon on the Mount when he said "Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled (Matthew 5:6)." He spoke in words that people could understand. In a society where people were not always so easily guaranteed their "daily bread," physical food must have often been on their minds. As is still the truth today, it could not have been difficult to cultivate an appetite for the wrong kinds of things. And as is still the case to day, addiction to the wrong kinds of things only leads to greater dependence, with larger consumption leading to a greater sense of helplessness and need. Such is the case with all addictions: to drugs, alcohol, food, work, or even an otherwise worthy cause that becomes more important than it should. When we rely on anything but God to meet a need that only God can meet, then all we do is create a greater void.
The only real antidote, is to cultivate an appetite the only real thing that can satisfy, our LORD and savior Jesus Christ. If we can become utterly and completely dependent upon the LORD alone, then Christ will satisfy so deeply that we need not even feel the need to look elsewhere to meet our needs.
Easier said than done, right? But there's a hope. There's a promise that as we reach out with honesty and desperation, our Heavenly father will meet us where we are at and draw us closer into those loving arms. And as we begin to consume what God had to offer: through prayer, Scripture, godly fellowship and simply crying out for God's help on a regular basis, our appetite for the things of God will increase.
To hunger and thirst for righteousness; it's the only addiction worth having.