I've been reading a book titled Made to Crave recently. It is a wonderful book so far, and I would already recommend it to others. This book brought some things to the surface of my life that my sinful self wants so desperately to keep buried; however, God is whispering to me to cast those cares on Him because He cares for me (1 Peter 5:7).
God has used this book to speak to me about ugly, dirty sin in my life where my physical being and also my thought processes are concerned. It has not/is not an easy thing to listen to even when it is coming from God. BUT...I believe God knows that and that is why He keeps bringing these thoughts to mind. After tears of frustration over my inability to "stick to" lifestyle changes specifically eating and exercise, it's like He finally has gotten through to me that I really am made to crave...He made me that way!
It is my sin of focusing on food and my physical cravings instead of focusing on Him that has led me to where I am today. He made me to crave...but He made me to CRAVE HIM--not chocolate, not bread smothered in butter, not soft drinks, or anything else. We all know that the more we have of something, the more we crave it. The problem has been that instead of having MORE GOD (studying the Word, praying, singing, praising) when I'm stressed or even when I'm happy, I have for a long time turned to food for comfort and even just because it is there sometimes. How many times have I passed by my Bible when it was "just there" and went to the brownies that were "just there", too? Too many times!
Lisa TerKeurst, in Made to Crave, puts it this way, "If we want to truly get close to God, we'll have to distance ourselves from other things." That really hit me! If I want to grow closer to God, I can't continue in a sin that I know is wrong no matter how much society says it is okay. Let's face it, gluttony is a sin! Call it what it is. When we overindulge in food it is a sin. We wouldn't question if drinking too much is a sin or if doing drugs is a sin, but we excuse eating too much as a stress reliever and surely God is okay with that. He's NOT! He can't be...He is Holy! He doesn't like sin! He doesn't view this as less than the others. Oh how crushing to admit that I have been openly satisfied with something that God detests.
So what could I do? I know He wants more from me and expects more from me. I've been presented with scripture to back up everything that has been running through my mind and heart. The only thing to do, as a Christian, is to confess and repent. I was broken! I needed forgiveness for my lack of caring how I took care of or didn't take care of my body. The Bible tells us in 1 Corinthians 6:19, "...do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own?" From that point of confession and repentance, this verse kept coming to mind. If Christ came to visit me, I wouldn't give him a dirty, unkept place to stay. I would make sure he had the BEST I had! I knew that meant that I had to change my cravings so that my body can be the BEST I can have for the Holy Spirit.
Then, the question was...how? Isn't God awesome in that He gives us EVERYTHING we need! Since that day last weekend when I was broken, He has shown me that I am not alone. He is with me! Hebrews 13:5 “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” It's a promise, and God keeps His promises!
God showed me that I needed MORE of Him. I needed to be consistent with my Bible study and prayer time. I needed to draw closer to Him everyday! Guess what? It's true...the more you have of something, the more you CRAVE it! I crave time with God! That doesn't mean I don't still have temptations. I wasn't promised it would be easy, just that God is always with me. He has also reminded me through so many things, including the Made to Crave book, that not only do I need more of Him, but that He made me for MORE! When I realize and let completely soak in that I am a child of God, He "empowers me to believe that living in victory is sweeter than any unhealthy delicacy." (Made to Crave)
Next step, turning to God instead of food. Scripture to fight against this sin is imperative! I also had to have a plan for changing what I eat/drink. Personally, I'm using an online program for weight loss that helps me track what I eat, healthy choices in food, and exercise. With those things to track, I had to come to grips with my lack of desire to exercise. Ugh! I have never liked to exercise! This was probably more difficult than the food to start with. Again, my AMAZING HEAVENLY FATHER showed me the way, and He used my Daddy to do it!
For those who don't know, my parents live with us. I see Daddy everyday. I know him! He has never liked to "exercise" either. He has always been a busy person...always working. But exercise? No way! Over the last few weeks it was becoming obvious that Daddy was taking exercise very seriously! He would walk, work out on a nordic-like machine, AND ride the stationary bike. Wow! My Daddy exercising! If he could do it, then I knew I could, too, AND we could be encouragers for each other. Come to find out, time on that machine or exercise bike are perfect for praying, worshiping through music, and learning MORE about God through listening to books or messages on my little mp3 player. It is amazing! I'm enjoying exercise!
Today, while working out I listened to Selah (my new favorites, I'm pretty sure) and oh my! The songs just spoke to me. One song after another...over and over...God wrapped me in His love. Great is His faithfulness! It IS well with my soul! Then, "There is a Fountain" played. Praise God for the reminder that I lost all my guilty stains when I was plunged beneath the flood of Christ's blood when He died for me! "There may I, though vile as he (the dying thief), wash all my sins away!"