Saturday, June 02, 2012

Do You Crave God?

In Lysa Terkeurst's 21-day devotional challenge called, "Craving God," Terkeurst begins with a confession about her obsession with food. She writes, "Eating in its proper context is not the problem. God gives us food for nourishment, strength, and even celebration. But when pleasure becomes unrestrained, there's a problem."

When we face a stressful situation, what is our default position when it comes to rest or relief? When we are depressed, some go on a stress relief break like a holiday, or an exercise regimen. Others watch movies, play computer games, or simply take a nap. For Terkeurst, she finds her relief in food. As a Bible teacher herself, she notices her tendency to indulge in food like chocolates and cookies. She writes, "I craved food more than I craved God. Chocolate was my comfort and deliverer. Cookies were my reward. Salty chips were my joy. Food was what I turned to in times of stress, sadness, and even in times of happiness."

I think about the word "crave" and I wonder about our ways in which we gravitate toward God. I think about the punctuality problem in many churches. A friend of mine has been telling me that the problem is a lack of hunger. In a large way, I agree. Hungry people will rush to address their hunger pangs. Hungry people queue up for food. Hungry people crave. What about spiritual craving? Are we craving for God? Those of us long time Christians will be guilty of taking our God for granted. We presume that every Sunday is simply a day to "go to church" and "go through the motions." Is that really worship?

No. Worship on Sundays is basically a matter of letting our spiritual cravings rest in God. The great Saint Augustine confesses that, “Lord, you have made us for yourself and our hearts are restless till they rest in Thee.” If we do not let our hunger be met by the true Source of fulfilment, we will be like the sea that is constantly filled but never truly full. We can try to meet our needs but our needs will never be truly met. We will attempt to be good Christians not on God's strength but on our own strengths.

I wonder. Instead of simply obeying rules about punctuality, that seems more like a "stick" approach, why not adopt a deep craving for God, that will be more like a "carrot" approach.  Maybe, both approaches are necessary. When we are at an undisciplined moment, let the "stick" approach keep us in check. At all other times, let our craving for God be demonstrated through our punctuality, our devotion, and above all, our love for God.

THOUGHT: "What is our default position when we are depressed, down and out? Do we crave for food or for God?"


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