I slammed the freezer door, turned on my heels, and scooted out of the kitchen. The only way to stop dipping into the ice cream was to flee. In my hurry, I didn’t notice the freezer door had bounced open.
On break from college, I was visiting my great aunt. The following morning, I found her defrosting her freezer. She gently described the mess that had greeted her that morning. Humiliation warmed my face. Who would have guessed my private battle with sweets would have caused such havoc?
Strong’s defines the Greek word epithymia, translated craving in 1 John 2:16, as: desire, craving, longing, desire for what is forbidden, lust.
For the world offers only a craving for physical pleasure, a craving for everything we see, and pride in our achievements and possessions. These are not from the Father, but are from this world” (1 Jn. 2:16 NLT).
Jesus used the same word in Mark 4:19 (NIV italics added).
But the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other things come in and choke the word, making it unfruitful.”
Is your spiritual life less vibrant than you want? Worldly cravings choke the life out of God’s word and keep it from bearing fruit in our lives.
C. S. Lewis masterfully illustrated the destructive power of worldly cravings in The Silver Chair. The great lion Aslan sends Jill and Eustace on a quest to rescue the lost prince of Narnia. He tells Jill to memorize the signs that will lead them to the prince. Puddleglum, a wise Narnian marsh wiggle, joins them.
The three encounter a charming lady who urges them to seek refuge at the castle of the giants where they’ll find a hot bath, a soft bed, and delicious food. After nights of camping in the cold the children can think of nothing else. Driven by a craving for comfort, they ignore Puddleglum’s cautions and forget their mission.
I won’t spoil the ending if you haven’t read the book. But suffice it to say, their desire for comfort took them off their quest and led them straight into the peril of death.
A One/Two Punch
Let’s look at John’s warning again.
Do not love this world nor the things it offers you, for when you love the world, you do not have the love of the Father in you. For the world offers only a craving for physical pleasure, a craving for everything we see, and pride in our achievements and possessions. These are not from the Father, but are from this world. And this world is fading away, along with everything that people crave. But anyone who does what pleases God will live forever” (1 Jn. 2: NLT).
While worldly cravings choke out our love for God and the message of His word, a hunger for the right things delivers us from our destructive desires.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be satisfied” (Matt. 5:6 NASB).
Satisfied people aren’t driven people. They are Spirit-led. Feeding our desire to know and please the righteous One delivers us from the tyranny of wrong desires and motivates us to pursue godly goals.Satisfied people aren’t driven people. They are Spirit-led. Feeding our desire to know and please the righteous One delivers us from the tyranny of wrong desires and motivates us to do what pleases God. #cravings #hope Click To Tweet
We must also starve our deceitful desires (Col 3:5). The flesh promises relief if we’ll only give in to our cravings. But giving in only strengthens their oppressive hold. I don’t fill my pantry with foods that tempt me to lose control. I do better with portion control and treats that don’t rouse the sweet tooth beast within me. It’s better to avoid some temptations all together.
When Battling Cravings
To sum up: Worldly cravings are part of the human condition. But we don’t have to give them control. If you feel trapped in the talons of a fierce craving, be it cigarettes or ice cream, God offers a way out. Remember:
- No condemnation (Rom. 8:1). You’re not alone. Everyone experiences unhealthy desires (1 Cor. 10:13).
- Know your weakness and starve your craving. Giving into cravings strengthens their hold (Rom. 6:12-14).
- Feed your spiritual desires with life-giving Scripture. (Listen on a Bible app.)
- Ask God for a pure, undivided heart.
Don’t let pesky cravings deplete you. Seek Christ, and He’ll complete you.
So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves” (Gal. 5:16 NLT).
What helps you rein in your cravings? Comment here.
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