Warning: Unchecked Cravings Can Ruin Your Life

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 Share on X

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.


Debbie Wilson

Photo by Anna Bratiychuk on Unsplash

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  1. Ann J Musico

    So good Debbie and applies to spirit, soul and body – we experience cravings in all 3 aspects of our being and He has given us the Holy Spirit to help us starve the wrong ones and feed the good ones! Here is something I share with clients that fits perfectly with what you’ve shared: Starve the Right Wolf: https://www.threedimensionalvitality.com/starve_the_right_wolf.html

    • Debbie Wilson

      Ann, you bring up a good point. Cravings can touch all areas. Love the wolf illustration. Thanks for sharing.

    • PaulaShort

      Debbie, this is a fantastic message. This is so insightful and encouraging.
      Visiting today from IMM #23

      • Debbie Wilson

        Thank you, Paula! God bless.

  2. Shari

    So good, Debbie! I was craving a snack and typically do it this time of the day and kept thinking that I shouldn’t go for it and then I saw your post and sat down to read! I did give in to some light popcorn but it’s better than the Cheetos and brownies that are in the kitchen! You’re such an amazing writer!

    • Debbie Wilson

      I’m smiling. Nothing wrong with having a snack, Shari. My problem is when after I activate that sweet tooth I can’t think of anything else until the whole pan of brownies is gone!

  3. Katherine Pasour

    As one who has craved sweets (I love ice cream, too) most of my life, I immediately connected with your message. Your reminder that sometimes we may have to avoid something completely if we cannot control the amount of what we consume, or the degree of our actions, is right on target. Thankfully, we always have One we can call on, a direct line of prayer, to help us control our cravings. We are so blessed. Thank you for this helpful and inspiring message, Debbie.

    • Debbie Wilson

      Katherine, thankfully, my husband and I like different things. He can eat a small taste and be satisfied. So I try to get what he likes unless I’m have help to eat what I like!

  4. Nancy Head

    Thanks for this post, Debbie. Ice cream is my nemesis. As are chocolate, and cookies. Only God can free us from things that have more control over us than they should. God bless.

    • Debbie Wilson

      Nancy, chocolate and chocolate chip cookies cause me to stumble too. Thanks for reading.

  5. Michele Morin

    I remember the outcome of the Narnian misjudgment and it is STARTLING to note that our cravings have the power to eat us alive!

    • Debbie Wilson

      Perfect analysis! Thank you, Michele.

  6. Joanne Viola

    Debbie, this was so good. This is something to think on for a bit >> “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.” May we be satisfied people who are not overcome by cravings. Especially in this hot weather when we long for ice cream 🙂

    • Debbie Wilson

      Yes! A little ice cream if good. A whole carton, not so much! Thanks, Joanne.

  7. J.D. Wininger

    I think perhaps that our cravings don’t end until we find what we were created to crave and desire the most. I know I’ve tried much of what this world has to offer to fill the void in my spirit that only God can fill. When our longing for Him is fulfilled, then the trappings of this world begin to matter very little. Great thoughts Ms. Debbie. As I often do, I loved this post ma’am.

    • Debbie Wilson

      J.D., your thoughts remind me of the old song, I’d rather have Jesus… So true. Thank you!

  8. Jeanne Takenaka

    Debbie, this is so good. I often find myself craving sugar to feed the physical craving. But when other aspects of my being are out of whack, I sometimes crave acceptance or affirmation from others. I’m so much better at remembering God has already accepted me, but there are still times when those cravings creep in. I’m so thankful for God’s grace to remind me He is the One who will fill each aspect of who I am.

    • Debbie Wilson

      Jeanne, it’s true. Certain situations trigger unexpected cravings in a variety of ways. I’m thankful our Lord knows us, warned us, and satisfies us when we stop and come to Him.

  9. Yvonne Morgan

    I love dessert way too much so found your message very inspiring

    • Debbie Wilson

      Yvonne, I have a sweet tooth as I’m sure you could tell. It helps me understand the power of cravings John wrote about. Thanks for reading.

  10. Sherry lee

    The only thing that curbs my appetite and cravings for worldly things be it ice cream, eating for comfort or for simply wanting something that I really don’t need is to GET IN THE WORD. It is simply our answer or solution for everything. When I start desiring things I want I know I need to seek God for my fulfillment. He is enough. Nothing else compares to what He can give us. Sometimes I really need to think on things when I think I need something and remember worldly things only satisfy temporarily.
    I enjoy Hallmark Christmas movies and when I watch them they always leave me desiring more. I see this perfect “world” that they create and long for it. And sadly life doesn’t work that way. It’s not always happily ever after. We live with real life experiences both good and bad. Those perfect holidays that are portrayed as perfect everything are not real. The biggest thing about it is that most don’t have anything about why we celebrate Christmas and that’s Jesus. I don’t watch TV. I don’t own one. It was a temptation. Not any more. I only watch a Hallmark Christmas movie on my ipad and that’s very seldom because they always make me see and want worldly things as well as the perfect home, car, family, Christmas and it takes my eyes off of what’s really important. I’ve had Christmas without having money and it’s hard to see your kids without. When my granddaughter had her first child and right down to number six we haven’t taught them about Santa. It’s all about Jesus. They know the meaning behind why we celebrate Christmas. It’s not always easy and I have to recognize when I have desires that are unhealthy. I have to declutter and spend more time with the One that can only satisfy me.

    • Debbie Wilson

      I think decluttering so we can spend more time with the Lord makes good sense for all of us, Sherry.

  11. Tammy L Kennington


    Your Tweet grabbed my attention as I am trying to make a business decision that impacts my time. I’m asking for Him to give me a heart that is satisfied with pleasing rather than one driven by personal motives.

    Thank you for your message and for linking up at Grace and Truth.


    • Debbie Wilson

      I’m sure the Lord will honor your desire to please Him. May your path be clear.

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