"Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me." Psalm 51:10
Wednesday, March 23, 2011
Feed Your Crave
Driving down the highway last week, I saw a White Castle billboard blaring “Feed Your Crave.”
I can proudly claim that I’ve never eaten at White Castle. Never even heard of it before 10 years ago when I first moved to the Midwest from the West Coast. Frankly, the burgers pictured don’t look appetizing. I’d sooner eat a taco consisting of low grade meat from Taco Bell than consume a White Castle slider. Just seems like something might slide up the way it went down.
Still, what kind of advertising suggests I heed my carnal cravings? Sounds like these guys are giving me permission to eat the entire bag of dark chocolate Cadbury mini eggs, right? I mean, a serving size of 12 small eggs is simply not enough. I want more! And, I’d really like more than one bowl of Turkey Hill chocolate pretzel ice cream at night, too. My husband can indulge in the entire bag of Dorito spicy sweet chili chips now that he has White Castle’s consent. Who cares if these foods are loaded with unhealthy ingredients. I need to feed my crave, right?! It would be different if I craved foods such as legumes or fruit. Instead, I’ve been cursed with the chocolate crave.In fact, most of us probably crave foods that are unhealthy, energy depleting or fat producing.
Forget about food, what about my other cravings? My longings to be accepted, liked, loved? Should I feed those at any expense? Should I do whatever it takes to keep a friend, climb the corporate ladder or social status? Does my desire to be liked cause me to be a chameleon, adapting to whatever setting in which I find myself? Worse yet, do I compromise my faith as I stuff myself with unhealthy desires? Do I realize that all of my cravings only bring emptiness, dissatisfaction and a guilty conscience?
In the Old Testament the Israelites grumbled and complained until they received what they thought they wanted only to decide they wanted something different. Psalm 78:29-31 says, “They ate till they were gorged— he had given them what they craved. But before they turned from what they craved, even while the food was still in their mouths, God’s anger rose against them; he put to death the sturdiest among them, cutting down the young men of Israel.Earlier in Psalm 78, the writer says that they put God to the test by demanding their cravings. The Hebrews pined for tangible, immediate gratification rather than relying and trusting in God for the ultimate satisfaction of their longings. How like us to settle for White Castle when we could dine on the gourmet food God provides.
None of us should buy into White Castle’s advice. Our cravings lead us down paths replete with selfishness, self-absorption and sin. This is exactly what happened to the Israelites. They whined and pleaded like a 3 year old begs for candy at the grocery store check-out counter. Then, when God gave them what they determined would satisfy them, they grumbled for something else. They just couldn’t seem to grasp that they needed more of God, not more of what He could do for them. We do the same thing, don’t we? We crave the next shopping purchase, the next exciting event, the next lunch with a friend, the next whatever thinking “it” will complete us, but it won’t.We’ll be left with wanting more, and more, and more.
1 Peter 2:1-3 says, “Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind. Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, now that you have tasted that the Lord is good.” Newborns don’t seem to need anything but their mother’s milk, do they? A mother would be crazy to feed her baby a carrot or a candy bar. The only nutrition they need comes in a breast or bottle. Mothers give their babies the best food for healthy growth, and babies don’t cry out for something other than what mommy provides. God assures us that we mature spiritually in the same way that babies mature physically. Craving fulfillment through outside sources may bring momentary happiness like my 10 year old enjoying her nightly ice cream. Once she has finished her tasty treat, however, she sneaks a bit of candy because it wasn’t quite enough. When we feast on Him, we taste that He is good and that He is all we need.