The Only Craving That Satisfies

Way back on June 2, I promised you a post that I’m just now sending you! My, how the days fly when life interruptions happen, I can’t believe that this is almost three weeks later. In case you missed the series we were in at the beginning of this month, let me update you a bit. I was sharing with you about my “favorite” idol and several of you joined in to let me know that you struggle with worshiping at this same altar.

I told you that 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.

(If you missed that post, you can read the rest of it by clicking here.)

In that post, I also let you know that one day I heard my doctor telling me this:

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

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.

When I was first diagnosed with Celiac disease, I took a few wary steps back into the world of food. I was a bit fearful after living with pain for so long. When, after every meal, you feel like you’ve swallowed something with the toxicity of Clorox, you really don’t want to put anything else in your mouth. Ever.

But eventually I learned how to eat in a whole new way and I thought I’d finally won the battle with my old idol. It was a couple of years later that the Lord graciously opened my eyes to the danger that still lurks in my fickle heart (even today). Allow me to share that story with you by revisiting one of my old blog posts about craving fresh bread:

Freshly baked bread! My mouth started watering with the first warm whiff. Desire came over me like a wave.

Stronger than craving—my desire seemed closer to lust.

I paused at the doorway, not sure I could actually enter the café, the aroma was so overpowering. The heavy smell was tempting, drawing me in. I wasn’t sure how I was going to resist, it seemed a lifetime since I’d tasted bread.

When my friend suggested we meet at a certain café specializing in gourmet breads, I hesitated only a moment before I agreed. I hate to remind people that having Celiac disease means that if I accidentally eat even a small amount of gluten, it can take me out of commission for weeks. I can usually find a safe salad anywhere, so I agreed to the café suggestion.

But I was not prepared for my reaction when I entered that door.

I wasn’t prepared for the power of this old familiar longing. I was gulping in the delicious smell like I could eat it, when graciously the Lord gave me a gentle rebuke with His question,

 “Why is your craving so strong for the bread that perishes?”

Jesus’ interaction with the greedy crowds of John 6 flooded my mind, bringing a rush of conviction. What was I doing?

I was almost totally overcome with lust for mere food . . . the sheer irony of it!

How many times had God revealed this old idol of my heart? And unexpectedly, I once again found the old lusts still lurking there.

“I am the Bread of Life” was His gentle whisper to my heart, “Feed on Me.”

I lowered my head to look away from freshly baked loaves behind the glass case. Why was my craving for the “bread that perishes” strong enough to cause painful longing?

Do I crave Jesus that strongly?

Does He hold that much power over my senses?

I bowed my head to silently plead with Him.

“Forgive me, Father. Please Lord Jesus, every time I crave bread, let my craving be turned to You instead. Use this denial of physical bread to deepen my hunger for You, the Living, Eternal Bread of Life . . .You are my Bread!

While I ate my salad, I silently fed on this:

Jesus answered them . . . “Do not work for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you . . .

Truly, truly, I say to you, it is not Moses who has given you the bread out of heaven, but it is My Father who gives you the true bread out of heaven. For the bread of God is that which comes down out of heaven, and gives life to the world.”

Then they said to Him, “Lord, always give us this bread.”

Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me will not hunger, and he who believes in Me will never thirst.

I am the living bread that came down out of heaven; if anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread also which I will give for the life of the world is My flesh.” (Portions of John 6)

More on this topic tomorrow, but first, what are you craving today?

Image courtesy of www.freedigitalphotos.net/phasinphoto



  1. Posted by Jackie

    I’m an information and knowledge junkie. I spend way too much time on Facebook looking for news and information both in the Christian and secular worlds. My father valued and prized education, even to the point of reading through EVERY SINGLE VOLUME of the set of World Book encyclopedias that we had at home. He read anything he could get his hands on. My father was sparse in praise and adulation of his children but I knew he loved us. I never heard my earthly father say “I’m proud of you,” but his friends would tell me how proud he was of me. So, I guess, in a way, I’m still trying to make my father proud of me even though he’s passed.

    Maybe I need to really focus on how proud I know my heavenly Father is in me through Christ so I don’t have to feel like I need to keep advancing in knowledge and information.


    • Posted by Kimberly Wagner

      Wow, Jackie, I think you’ve probably highlighted one of the most powerful “gods” today–the “god” of knowledge and information!

      Your comment reminded me of the need for all of us to regularly review where our true worth and value comes from and remind ourselves of our identity in Christ: http://www.kimberlywagner.org/?p=5613

      Thank you so much for your transparency and sharing with us something that we all need to consider!


  2. Posted by Kathryn

    Kim. Thank you for your transparency and gentle questions. The cravings of our heart will truly be manifested in our lives. Slowly the scales are starting to come off my eyes and I am beginning to see the idolatry of food. It is a process in sanctification and at times is so very painful. I am so thankful for your emphasis on God’s word and His grace. I have so many times looked to the worlds answers to weight loss but to no avail. A diet does not change my heart. If anything “dieting” seems to cause the idol to grow more ( I am not sure that I know why that happens, but it does) Perhaps it is the law. May God continue to bless you. Thanks again.


    • Posted by Kimberly Wagner

      Hello, Kathryn ~

      Thank YOU for your transparency here. Yes, I agree, I think most “dieting” plans can increase the idol’s hold on our hearts. Usually the focus of most diets is to lose weight to gain the attractive body, not necessarily dieting to gain a healthy lifestyle. The biblical principle of moderation is so applicable when it comes to food, just challenging to put into practice–especially when food has been a dominant force in our lives.

      So glad to have you joining me in this battle to break the power of this idol! God is good, His grace is sufficient, and His mercies are new every morning 🙂


  3. Whew, just reading this made me crave warm bread and butter. It’s a weakness. In reading this, I do recognize an idol. I like the reminder that each time I think of this other idol I should instead turn my thoughts and affection towards Him. It seems as though we all have something like this in our lives, doesn’t it?


    • Posted by Kimberly Wagner

      Yes, I think all of us battle at least one area that threatens to steal our hearts from a whole-hearted love and devotion to Christ. But, the promise of Matt. 5:8 provides me with the motivation to pursue holiness:

      “Blessed are the pure in heart–for they shall see God.”

      That promise has huge implications . . . but the promise of “seeing God” is one that requires a pure, whole-hearted, singular devotion. It isn’t “seeing God” literally, but experiencing Him, the “unseen reality” who is at work in our lives, but who can be missed as our eyes and hearts are clouded by other things: lustful desires, addictions, idolatrous loves. Make sense?

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts, friend ~


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