Jan 06 2011

Made to Crave - Day 4

Day 4: Are Cravings Chasing You?

Based on Chapter 1 of Made to Crave by Lysa TerKeurst

  

Thought for the Day: Are your cravings a curse or a blessing? The answer to that question depends on what you’re craving, because what we’re craving will always depend on whatever we’re consuming. Is it the object of our desire, or God and His truth?

  

A well-known weight loss company recently ran a television ad about a little orange monster chasing a woman throughout her day, tempting her with foods that obviously weren’t part of her healthy eating plan. This ad perfectly captures what it feels like to be harassed by cravings all day long. It’s a scenario that has defined the greater part of my adult life.

 

I believe God made us to crave. Now, before you think this is some sort of cruel joke by God, let me assure you that the object of our craving was never supposed to be food, sex, money, or chasing after significance.

 

Think of Eve’s temptation in the garden of Eden. While the object that enticed her might have been an apple, the core of her struggle was that she wanted to be like God, knowing good and evil. The very downfall of humanity was caused when the first woman surrendered to a craving to eat something she wasn’t supposed to eat, and to pursue a power that she was never intended to wield. But it doesn’t stop there. Look at how Jesus was tempted in Matthew 4:

 

After fasting forty days and forty nights … Satan came to Jesus and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.” Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” (vv. 2–4)

 

 

Satan tried to appeal to Jesus’ physical craving for food. But here’s the significant difference between Eve and Jesus. Eve was saturated in the object of her desire. Jesus was saturated in God’s truth. Jesus had been in a desert fasting for forty days.

 

But He held strong and set a powerful example of how to escape the vicious grip of temptation. When we feel deprived and consumed with wanting unhealthy choices, we too can rely on the truth of God’s Word to help us.

 

With each of Satan’s temptations, Jesus quoted Scripture without hesitation to refute that temptation. Truth is powerful. The more saturated we are with truth, the more powerful we’ll be in resisting our temptations. And the more we’ll naturally direct our cravings where they should be directed—to the Author of all truth.

 

As we read in Matthew 4:8–10:

 

[T]he devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. “All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.” Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.’”

 

 

Are cravings a curse or a blessing? The answer to that depends on what we’re craving. And what we’re craving will always depend on whatever we’re consuming … either the object of our desire or God and His truth.

 

 

For more information about Lysa TerKeurst and her book Made to Crave, please visit: www.MadetoCrave.org

Jan 05 2011

Made to Crave - Day 3

Day 3: Excuse Me, Pass the Shame … Please

Based on Chapter 5 of Made to Crave by Lysa TerKeurst

Thought for the Day: We were made for more! More than this failure … more than this cycle … more than being ruled by our taste buds, body image, rationalizations, and guilt. We were made for victory. Sometimes we just have to find our way to that truth.

 

More than once, I’ve held the latest, greatest, diet book in one hand with my other hand wedged into the back pocket of my ever-tightening jeans. But the thought of taking the plunge and signing up for another diet made me want to sit down and cry. I’d return the book to the shelf, toss my head back, and sigh, “Another day, another time. I’m doing the best I can right now.”

 

It is so tempting to quit the health struggle entirely and pretend it doesn’t really matter spiritually. But it does matter and not just for the physical or emotional setbacks. It’s the denial of a fundamental spiritual truth. What is this truth?

 

Your parents might have said it to you when you got sassy and disrespectful …

 

“More is expected of you. You aren’t a brat, so don’t act like one.”

 

Your teacher might have said it to you when turned in a halfhearted term paper …

 

“You have more potential as a student than what you’ve shown here.”

 

Your friends have definitely said it when your loser boyfriend dumped you …

 

“He didn’t deserve you. You’re worthy of a better love than he could offer.”

 

Today, your heavenly Father is telling you the same truth: “You were made for more!” More than this failure … more than this cycle of defeat … more than being ruled by taste buds, body image, rationalizations, guilt, and shame. You were made for victory.

 

Ephesians 1:18–19 says: “I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which [God] has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and his incomparably great power for us who believe.”

 

This truth is a great script to play in our heads every time we’re tempted with guilt, rationalizations, or the “I’ll-do-better-tomorrow” escape clauses. Do any of these sound familiar?

 

“I’m good in every other area.”

“I’ll do better tomorrow.”

“For heaven’s sake, everyone has issues. So what if food is mine?”

 

Addressing our thinking is one of the most crucial steps toward permanent progress in any area and stopping the cycle of shame and defeat. We have to rewrite those negative scripts by getting into the habit of saying truth. And, the first of these truths is, “I was made for more.” Wrapped in this truth is a wisdom and revelation that unlocks great power.

 

We need a power beyond our frail attempts and fragile resolve. We need strength greater than our taste buds, hormones, temptations, and our inborn female demand for chocolate. Yes, the truth of who we are and the power to live out that truth—that’s what we need. So, say it out loud with me today: I was made for more!

 

To get the book Made to Crave, click herewww.MadetoCrave.org 

For more information about Lysa TerKeurst and her book Made to Crave, please visit:

Jan 04 2011

Made to Crave - Day Two

Day 2: Overweight Physically and Underweight Spiritually

Based on the Introduction of Made to Crave

  

Thought for the Day: God made us capable of craving so we’d have an unquenchable desire for more of Him, and Him alone. Nothing changes until we make the choice to redirect our misguided cravings to the only One capable of satisfying them.

 

 

My journey to healthy eating didn’t gain traction by counting calories or obeying rules of the food pyramid. The process began in earnest when I admitted that, yes, I was overweight physically. But, more importantly, I was underweight spiritually. I was spiritually malnourished. Tying these two issues together is what opened my eyes to see God in a whole new way.

 

I’m reminded of the story in the Bible where a rich young man comes to see Jesus. The young man explains that he is following all the religious rules, but still feels something is missing from his pursuit of God. He asks, “What do I still lack?” Jesus answers, “If you want to be perfect [whole], go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me” (Matthew 19:20–21 NIV).

 

The rich young man then goes away sad because he won’t give up the one thing that consumes him. He is so full with his riches he can’t see how undernourished his soul is. It’s at this point in the biblical story that most of us start to look at all the rich people we know and think, “Well, I sure hope they get this message. Good thing I’m not rich. Good thing Jesus doesn’t ask me to sacrifice in this way.” Or does He?

 

Jesus meant His comment for any of us who wallow in whatever abundance we have. I imagine Jesus looked straight into this young man’s soul and said, “I want you to give up the one thing that you crave more than Me.”

 

For me, I was like the rich young man when it came to eating. I refused healthier breakfast options, such as egg whites and fruit, while filling myself with candy-sprinkled doughnuts. I choose soda instead of water, chips instead of carrot sticks. Even when my sugar high crashed and I complained of splitting headaches, sluggishness, and unwanted extra weight, I steadfastly refused to even consider giving up my daily brownie.

 

God made us capable of craving so that we’d have an unquenchable desire for more of Him, and Him alone. Nothing changes until we make the choice to redirect our misguided cravings to the only One capable of satisfying them.

 

Paul wrote to Christians, “I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better” (Ephesians 1:17 NIV).

 

I don’t know about you, but to me this one benefit of knowing God better is worth all the effort and sacrifice that a healthy eating journey requires. It’s easy to feel that our struggle with food is such an unfair deal. But I encourage you to see the process today as a path that offers both physical and spiritual benefits.

 

To get the book Made to Crave, click here

 

 For more information about Lysa TerKeurst and her book Made to Crave, please visit: www.MadetoCrave.org

 

Jan 03 2011

Made to Crave - Day One

Day 1: Chocolate Is My Comfort and Deliverer

  

Thought for the Day: Eating in its proper context is not the problem. God gave us food for nourishment, strength, and even celebration. But when pleasure becomes unrestrained, there’s a problem.

 

 

God made you wonderful. Psalm 139 says you are wonderfully and fearfully made. You are beautiful and loved, no matter if you’re a size zero or a size thirty. You are beautiful just the way you are. But God loves you so much that He doesn’t want you to stay in a place of defeat.

 

There was a time when I felt utterly defeated in the area of food and health. I knew that I needed to make changes not because of the number on the scale or what clothing size I was. I knew it because of the battle that raged in my heart. I craved, I desired, I thought about, and arranged my life around food.

 

Yet I was a Bible teacher. I was a woman who loved Jesus. Why couldn’t I figure this out? I had found victory in so many areas of my life, but this area alluded me. I constantly asked, “Why shouldn’t I indulge?”

 

One day I looked up the definition of the word indulge, which means “unrestrained action.” And for me, it was unrestrained eating. You see, eating in its proper context is not the problem. God gave us food for nourishment, strength, and even celebration. But when pleasure becomes unrestrained, there’s a problem.

 

I had to get honest enough to admit it that I relied on food more than I relied on God. 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 knew it was something God was challenging me to surrender to His control. Really surrender. Surrender to the point where I’d make radical changes for the sake of my spiritual health perhaps even more than my physical health.

 

Part of my surrender was asking myself a different question, a really raw question. May I ask you this same question? Is it possible we love and rely on food more that we love and rely on God?

 

Now before you delete this, hear me out. This question is crucial. We have to see the purpose of our struggle with food as something more than getting to wear smaller sizes and receive compliments. Shallow desires produce shallow efforts. These good things are nice, but not as appealing in the moment as a cinnamon roll, or those chips, or that brownie.

 

The process of getting healthy has to be about more than just losing weight and focusing on ourselves. It’s not about adjusting our diets and hoping for good physical results. It’s about recalibrating our souls so that we want to change for the right reasons. I’ve realized that a healthy eating plan can be one of the most significant spiritual journeys I’d ever dared to take with God. As you join me for the next twenty days, I hope you soon say the same thing!

 

To get the book Made to Crave, click here

 

For more information about Lysa TerKeurst and her book Made to Crave, please visit: http://madetocrave.org/