If you’re like me, you get cravings from time to time. You know, those deep, intense cravings for your favorite snack or food, usually late at night, at the end of a long week, sitting in front of the fireplace or television watching your favorite movie or sporting event, and the best thing that would top it off and make it a perfect evening is a nice big bowl of French vanilla ice cream with thick, hot, melted fudge and some melted peanut butter. Or perhaps some of your wife’s home made, cake batter, chocolate chip cookies. Or as is the case with my two vacuum cleaners with feet (also known as teenage sons), a sandwich that’s about 12 inches high layered with at least two of every form of protein they can find in the frig.
Ah, cravings. They come when you least expect it and at times will not subside until they are appeased. It can be a tough battle not to indulge yourself with those cravings EVERY night, even though you think that’s exactly what you need to satisfy your appetite. No doubt it tastes good, but we all know the long lasting results of yielding to those cravings repeatedly. That’s why it’s so important to develop good habits. I personally have found the less I eat sweets, the less I crave them…over a period of time. I actually will begin to crave fruit and water more than chocolate and peanut butter. But it takes time and a commitment to develop those tastes. Cravings appeal to the flesh and the particular tastes of us all, but we have to develop good habits and choose to satisfy our hunger with healthy choices rather than junk food.
It’s the same way spiritually speaking. Jesus said in Matthew 5:6“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled.” Simply ask yourself this question: “What do I hunger and thirst for most in life, really?” I’ve had this verse pressed into my view repeatedly and it always convicts me. Oh, it doesn’t always mean there is something sinful, per se, in our lives that we pursue, but it does reveal the inner depths of our heart as to what’s most important to us. And those things are the things we end up craving, pursuing and eventually indulging ourselves in. Ps. 1:1-2 says “Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the path of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful; But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law he meditates day and night.” When you crave something you’re going to mediate or dwell on it continuously. That’s why it’s so important we have a pure thought life (Phil. 4:8; Col. 3:1-2). Just like if all we focus on is that favorite food or indulgence, we will eventually give in to those cravings, so to if we hunger and thirst for God’s righteousness will we indulge in His faithful standards.
Jesus goes on to say in Matt. 6:21 that “Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” If it’s money, then your heart will crave more money. If it’s fame, you will crave adoration. If it’s sexual pleasure outside of marriage, then you will crave immorality. And our minds will be set on those things. Just like with physical junk food, however, those sinful cravings, while pleasant, produce dangerous and disastrous consequences (James 1:13-16).
So what’s the solution? Simple: focus on the promise God gives in the second part of that verse, that if we hunger and thirst for righteousness, Jesus said “they shall be filled.” Nobody ever sits down for a meal at God’s table and leaves hungry because what was provided was insufficient. If we eat of what God provides, we will be satisfied. He will satisfy our cravings…as long as those cravings are for Him (Deut. 4:29; Jer. 29:13; James 4:8; 1 John 5:14-15).
So I ask you, what are craving today? What do you hunger and thirst for? My prayer is that we all are starving for the righteousness of God, for only then will we be satisfied to the fullest.