I Need Air!


“There’s a story about a proud young man who came to Socrates asking for knowledge. He walked up to the philosopher and said, ‘O great Socrates, I come to you for knowledge.’ Recognizing the flaws in the young man, Socrates led him through the streets, to the sea, and chest deep into water. Then he asked, ‘What do you want?’

‘Knowledge, O wise Socrates,’ said the young man with a cocky smile.  Socrates put his strong hands on the man’s shoulders and pushed him under. Thirty seconds later Socrates let him up. ‘What do you want?’ he asked again.  ‘Wisdom, O great and wise Socrates,’ the young man sputtered. Socrates crunched him under again. Forty seconds passed. Socrates let him up. The man was gasping. “What do you want, young man?”

Between heavy, heaving breaths the fellow wheezed, ‘Knowledge, O wise and wonderful…’  Socrates jammed him under again and forty seconds passed, then fifty. ‘What do you want?’

‘Air!’ the young man screeched. ‘I need air!’ ‘When you want knowledge as you have just wanted air, then you will have knowledge’” (M. Littleton, Moody Monthly, June 1989, p. 29).

People often want to be close with God but fail to do so. The problem doesn’t lie with God, but with us. If we really wanted to be close with God, we can. Too often we approach our relationship with God in a careless and half-hearted way. Doing so causes us to miss out on the fact that our relationship with God can’t be approached in some casual way. Like our unending necessity for air, our relationship with God should be approached as an insatiable need.

When this is done, we will naturally develop an incredible longing for Scripture. The psalmist described this beautifully, “I opened my mouth wide and panted, for I longed for Your commandments” (Psalm 119:131). Beyond this we will develop an intense “hunger and thirst for righteousness” (Matthew 5:6).

If we truly want to have a relationship with God, then let’s gasp for God like we do for air, let’s hunger for Him like we do for food and water, and let’s long for Him with every fiber of our being!

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