May 10, 2021
By Gina Padilla
On a recent road trip, I noticed a billboard for a popular fast-food joint boasting, “Whatever you’re craving, we’re always open.”
As I read it, a reminder from the Apostle Paul came to mind:
“‘Everything is permissible for me’, but not everything is beneficial. ‘Everything is permissible for me,’ but I will not be mastered by anything.”1 Corinthians 6:12 CSB
Paul wrote this wisdom to the Corinthians because their church had been under the false impression that because they were under the grace of Jesus Christ and forgiven, they could satisfy any food or sexual craving. I am astounded that although 2000 years separates us we have a lot in common with those early Christians.
Having the ability to satisfy all cravings at any time seems to have increased anxiety rather than decreased it. Social media has morphed into addictions. Have you ever been sitting in a restaurant and noticed people at the table ignoring everyone around them and staring intently at their phones? People are obsessed with updating people they are not with and telling them about what they are doing with the people they are neglecting by being on their phone. How messed up is that?
Our world doesn’t sleep and we are bombarded with “ads” for our cravings 24/7/365. With the advent of cable, streaming and the internet, there are millions of choices flashing in our faces like a persistent neon sign — “Buy Me. Call Me. Play Me. Watch Me.” At any time of the day or night, anyone can get food delivered, make impulse buys, rant on social media, play Candy Crush, chat with strangers or watch videos they shouldn’t be watching.
As our world encroaches on us more and more it is up to us to say, “Enough!” We need to remember we are in the world, but not of it (John 17:14-16). We have no problems setting limits for our children because we know what’s better for them, but how often are we checking in with our Heavenly Father to see if we’ve exceeded our limits?
“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.“1 John 2:15-16 NLT
Self-control is one of the fruits of the spirit (Gal 5:23), but how often do we exercise it? How often do we pray for it? How often do we have just one more drink, just one more cookie, just one more taco, just one more episode, just one more game, just one more minute on Facebook, just one more look at something we know we shouldn’t be looking at? Of course in the aftermath, we repent and ask for forgiveness for our overindulgence, dust ourselves off and try again.
But, if we are honest, do we really surrender to the Holy Spirit to help us practice self-control and discipline? Do we press on through the workout even though we don’t “feel” like it? We’ve worked hard all week, we deserve a break. Do we continue eating after we’re full just because it “tastes” good? We can fast tomorrow; it’s not a big deal. Do we take a small peek at the picture again, just because we “like” how it looks? We’re not being lustful, we’re just admiring beauty.
We need to rely on God’s guidance to evaluate what is beneficial to us and what bears fruit. It’s easy to get trapped in our fleshly desires, but we are new creations in Christ (Galatians 2:20). I am not saying we cannot enjoy a good meal, a dessert or play Candy Crush. I’m talking about overindulging. I’m talking about satisfying a craving just because it’s there. Constantly giving into cravings does not teach discipline. Denying a craving for sliders at 1:00 a.m. will not kill us In fact, it may prolong our life span!
Fortunately for us, our Heavenly Father is also available to us 24/7/365, and spending time with Him is not dependent on our internet speed. He may not have fancy billboards or invasive ads vying for our attention, but He has put a God-sized hole in each of us that can only be filled by Him. Unlike worldly cravings, satisfying our God craving will not harm our bodies, minds or leave us unfulfilled — it will give us life.
“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”John 10:10 NIV
We can begin to change our worldly cravings to Godly cravings by incorporating the following into our day:
• Pray: Take time in your day to talk to God. In the morning, at night, in the shower or in the car, find time to talk to Him about anything and everything.
• Read the Bible: Many great bible apps can be downloaded to your phone, so you can read God’s Word wherever you are. The You Version app is one of my favorites and contains several versions of the Bible, study plans and videos. The more we read, the closer we draw to God. The closer we draw to God, the more we know Him, and the more we know Him, the more He fills us.
• Be still: Don’t be afraid of quiet and stillness. Find time to just be quiet with God. Our world is so loud. Unplug, turn off the notifications and sit with your Father. In your car turn off the radio and just listen. Think and meditate about a Bible verse you read.
Next time you’re stuck waiting in a line, pull out your phone and read the Bible verse of the day instead of scrolling through social media. Once you start changing your habits, you’ll find that you are less harried and anxious and all you crave is time with Jesus Christ. As you get to know Him, your worldly cravings will diminish.
Let us choose to have our cravings satisfied by the One who died for us, the lover of our soul, our beautiful Redeemer — Jesus Christ.
Photo Credit: La Pájara Azul