My wife and I just got back from a missions trip to India. Well, we couldn’t call it a missions trip because in India, the Gospel isn’t allowed to be spoken about. It was really revealing to see such a different reality than what we’re used to; it made me feel extremely fortunate to live in a country where we have the freedom to walk outside and pray or say the name of Jesus without being persecuted. When you see the persecution happening in these closed countries, and then realize how many people still love God with a passion and fierce pursuit, it’s eye-opening to say the least. They are thirsting for God and His Word in a way we don’t often see in the States.
Why is that? Seeing their hunger for God motivated me to do even more to advance the Kingdom of God. In America, I get the sense that a lot of people who call themselves Christ-followers don’t truly thirst for the Gospel. Even though we have the freedom to go to the store, get a Bible in the version of our choosing, many don’t really want it. Meanwhile, in many countries, not only is it illegal to carry a Bible, but they don’t have access to a translation that is in their language or even accurate. If only we lived knowing the reality that the Word of God really will change our lives!
The organization we went overseas with, Biblica, goes to the most remote parts of the earth seeking to deliver the Gospel in ways these people groups can digest it. If that means a translation in a native tongue, that’s what they’ll do. If that means an updated version the community can relate to and understand, consider it done. They have even partnered with a company to create audio versions for those who are illiterate.
While we were in one of these communities, we were able to meet a schoolhouse full of kids who lived in the slums, without access to God’s Word. Before we left, these kids were each hugging a stuffed animal lion that had an audio box in it’s chest that played the Gospel for them. Desperate for love, these kids would clutch these lions to their chests and hug them as they laid in bed at night. They are now keeping God’s Word close to them.
My thirst for God has only increased since I started following Him. In high school, I would go through the motions of attending church, Sunday school and FCA groups on Friday, hoping that the Friday night game would go well as a result. In a way, Christianity was my good luck charm. In college, I grew a little but my perspective didn’t change much. It wasn’t until I got to the NFL that I realized I could not treat God as my good luck charm. Instead of following Him for presents, I chose to follow Him for His presence. When I understood that He’s always there for me, filling me with strength and confidence to do His will, my faith became stronger and stronger.
Often, our faith muscles have to be tested to become strong. As my life progresses, so does my thirst for God. My passion and thirst to know God more has never faded, and it never will. If you find that yours is, I challenge you to dive into the Word of God and pray. Ask Him to reveal things to you through His Word so you can gain a thirst for Him.
No one will wake up one day thirsting for God; it’s an acquired taste. Saturate yourself in God’s Word every day and you will find your thirst will increase.
— Matt Forte, former NFL running back
Matt Forte is a regular contributor of The Increase, providing monthly articles and opinions.
Check out Matt’s Increase profile here: http://theincrease.com/author/matt-forte/
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