The Day my Idolatry Caught up with Me

The Day my Idolatry Caught up with Me

 

The physical pain I’d endured for years was growing in intensity and the duration of each episode was growing longer. The many rounds of various gall bladder tests and scans showed nothing unusual. I was weary of looking for answers. The pain was growing worse and I was ready to give up eating.

My favorite idol had become my enemy.

If you read my post yesterday, you know that my “favorite idol” is food.

I’ve looked to food for:

Pleasure

Comfort

Happiness

I’ve spent a LOT of time thinking about food, craving food, anticipating—no—lusting for: lots of cheesy sauces, flaky pastries and hot-buttered bread, creamy desserts, and CHOCOLATE—always chocolate!

Hot doughnuts were to die for (almost literally).

I could get downright demanding when it came to food. Food was (and still can be) a HUGE, out of whack priority in my life.

When God opened my eyes to my idolatry. I couldn’t believe it.

Food, an idol? Yep, food.

Idol: What I crave, worship, and live for, what I run to when I’m feeling “needy”

If I define an idol as anything that occupies the seat of my heart, food fits that description far too often. By “occupying the seat of my heart” I mean that it drives my desires, and when those desires aren’t met, they become demands. My thoughts are preoccupied with my idol, my lifestyle caters to it, my money is spent (excessively) on it, I have lustful cravings for it, and I can get really cranky if I’m denied it.

I want it so much I’m willing to sin to get it.

Don’t misunderstand what I’m saying, eating is not a sin. Being overweight isn’t a sin.

Gluttony IS sin.

If food is your idol—you will always struggle with gluttony.

Listen to what Proverbs 23:2 says to people like me:

“ . . . and put a knife to your throat if you are given to gluttony.

I remember reading this verse one day and thinking, “Oh, my. If I obeyed this literally, I’d have to slit my throat—because I AM a glutton!”

When God first opened my eyes to my idolatry of food, I was first blown away, then broken.

When I was willing to consider that God wasn’t kidding, that He was seriously letting me know I was worshiping food . . . I started recognizing that food really did matter WAY too much to me.

I repented. I entered an extended period of fasting. During that fast it became very clear that food had grabbed my heart, or to be more accurate, I’d given my heart to food. While fasting, food started to move way down on my list of priorities, but God’s presence became all encompassing. After a few days, I really didn’t want to come down from the mountain-top experience of fasting . . . because I feared the battle with food would start again.

And it did.

This would be the first of many battles with my favorite idol. Through the years I would have seasons of victory, but far more years of defeat. And then one day I heard my doctor telling me this:

“You’ll never be able to eat gluten again.”

I was so ignorant, I didn’t even know what gluten was. I thought it might be related to glucose.

Sugar? Can he be saying I can’t eat sugar ever again? Surely not.

I had lost a lot of weight, was struggling with eating anything at all because I was having so much stomach pain, so I’d gone in for an EGD (a stomach scope) to determine if I had ulcers. Thankfully when my gastroenterologist saw I had no ulcers, he took a biopsy from my small intestine.

The biopsy revealed that I have Celiac disease.

When he explained that I’d never be able to eat anything with wheat, oats, or barley ever again—I knew.

I knew that my food idolatry had finally caught up with me. The Father was going to make it a little easier for me to get my gluttony under control. He was removing my favorite foods from the shelf.

Bread, pasta, cakes, cookies, flaky pastries . . . I was watching them leave my life forever. I sat stunned as I listened to the doctor explain in great detail the repercussions of ignoring the seriousness of this disease.

Now please don’t misunderstand me. I am not saying that if you have Celiac, or a food allergy, diabetes, or any food related illness, I am not saying that God is disciplining you with that because you’re a glutton, or in sin, or anything like that. NOT AT ALL.

I’m just telling you that as I sat there receiving the news, I knew.

I knew and wasn’t surprised at all. I actually see it as a gracious discipline from the Father.

I knew I’d been disobedient for a very long time when it came to dealing with this idol and now He was graciously dealing with it for me.

Monday I’ll share more of that story with you, but today, do you struggle with my favorite idol?

What is your “favorite” idol and how have you smashed it?

Image courtesy of www.freedigitalphotos.net/Ohmega1982



  1. Posted by Trinity

    Yes I do. A lot. I just realized how much of the seven deadly sins I had. All 6 out of 7 and that 7th was sometimes. I realized and now understand that its been the reason I had always felt that hole in my soul. Everyone seems to knows and have. Its basically because we put all 7 sins above the lord. My question is now that I know, What am I to do? Do I live on ignoring and wait,if I’m lucky i would get some kind of punishment from god or do I wait till hell overcomes me. The Unlucky version. Its just weird and uncomfortable to stop what I’ve always done gluttony for joy, lust for men, envy all the pretty girls, being prideful of my good life, Greedy for my gluttony, I rarely put my wrath on anyone, and lastly but not least sloth all my goals down the drain. Woah I’m a shame as a christian women


    • Posted by Kimberly Wagner

      Hello, Trinity ~

      Thank you so much for your transparency and your questions. First of all, I love your name, “Trinity” how special to carry the name of our triune God!

      No, the answer is not to “wait till hell overcomes” you.

      First of all, if you’ve come to Christ for forgiveness of your sins, and received His righteousness–there is no reason to fear hell. Please read the post that I’m embedding below and consider the questions and Scriptures I’ve included in that post:

      http://www.kimberlywagner.org/?p=2824

      If you have a relationship with Christ, you are no longer held under the condemnation that requires the “death” sentence of eternal torment in hell:

      “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death.” (Romans 8:1–2)

      As a Christian, we still battle our fleshly inclination to sinful habits, but there is empowering grace available to us to be able to “walk in the Spirit” and not fulfill the lust of the flesh (Galatians 5:16).

      When we do sin, there is forgiveness available in Christ:

      “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9)

      I hope you’ll prayerfully consider the Scriptures (and the blog post in the link) that I’ve shared, and find joy in obedience, as you seek to follow Christ, knowing you cannot do it in your own power–you and I need His work that the gospel provides–daily!

      So thankful you left a comment, if you aren’t a regular reader here, I hope you’ll “subscribe” to receive the daily email with a blog post in your inbox 🙂

      God bless ~


  2. Posted by Kathryn

    Hello Kimberly. I am reading your blog posts daily and leaving comments. Perhaps too many comments!! (LOL) I truly believe that many men and woman in the body of Christ struggle with gluttony/food idolatry. I think that these posts are very relevant. God has gifted you with writing and communication. I think that you may have a book in the making!! That may completely overwhelm you as I realize that you and your husband just completed a book that will be released soon. I struggle with food idolatry and see that I am very greedy for food. I do not want to stay in the bounds of a healthy balanced diet but always want more and more and more. As a wife and mother I cannot get away from food. I am the grocery shopper, cook, food chopper, meal planner and work full time outside of the home as a nurse. I think many of us are in the same position. I am praying for joy in the battle and for self control. Thank you again for your vulnerability and posts. It helps not to feel alone in the battle. May God continue to bless you.


    • Posted by Kimberly Wagner

      Hello, Kathryn ~

      Wow, what an encouragement your comment is! AND NO, you do not leave too many comments! I love hearing from readers, I wish I could sit down to visit with each of you 🙂 I just wish I could answer comments in a timely manner, I juggle several things at once, so my comment response time is extremely slow.

      Thank you for your kind words, and actually working on another book isn’t an overwhelming thought–one of my specific prayers right now is that God would clearly confirm again what I’m to be working on! So, I’m adding your comment to my prayer request!

      Thank you for your honesty on this subject–it is so helpful to hear from others who share this struggle. Isn’t it interesting that the very first woman struggled with this as well? She saw desirable and forbidden fruit, and went for it–knowing it held a death sentence! Crazy.

      I can relate to your struggle–not only is it more time consuming to prepare healthy meals for a family, generally it costs more. So, it takes real intentionality and planning to cook healthy meals (and bypass the fast food chains when in a time crunch!).

      Your prayer for “joy in the battle” and self control is a great approach to this. I’m pausing to pray for you now, and for those specifics for both of us!

      Don’t stop sending in your comments! 🙂


  3. Amazing how God has timed this post to meet me in the midst of the very same struggle. Battling along with you, and trusting God for minute by minute faithfulness to Him above all else.


    • Posted by Kimberly Wagner

      Hello, Michele ~

      Thankful for the timing! Yes, minute-by-minute faithfulness is a great way to pray on this topic!!

      Trusting with you ~


  4. Posted by Kristin

    Gonna have to agree….perfect book material! This is such a stronghold in my life and many other Christian women’s lives. Thank you for always reminding us that ONLY God will satisfy our deepest cravings!


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