Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Craving the Word

Pregnancy is a time when women often think about cravings. While ice cream and chocolate have a special place in my daily menu, I am not sure I can blame that entirely on pregnancy. The truth is, my tastebuds enjoy those tastes regardless of whether I am pregnant or not. My flesh enjoys the simple pleasure that accompanies dessert.

Eating sugar causes the body to crave, well, more sugar. Low carb diets understand this principle and purposelly ask the dieter to eliminate all sugars, at least in the beginning. While eating candy and cookies causes us to want more of the delicious sweetness, a steady diet of whole foods will actually decrease those cravings and replace them with a hunger for nutritious fare. I have even read about others craving green smoothies as a result of drinking them regularly. While I have not reached that point, I do look forward to a big bowl of oatmeal or a slice of whole wheat toast. My body has learned to appreciate the taste of that which satisfies even more than an abundance of sugary treats.

And it is not just tastebuds that can choose to seek out the sweet or the satisfying. Something as seemingly innocent as email, a TV show, or checking Facebook can become addictive, and the more we fill our minds with wordly fluff, the more we desire it. No, it may not be outrightly harmful, like drinking poison, but a constant diet of empty calories will eventually leave us feeling sick and weak. Even if we throw in a small helping of vegetables, a tiny snippet of spiritual truth, our health will depend on the overall pattern of our diets...and our days.

When something - a vacation, a move, a new baby - disrupts my regular Bible reading, it is easy to fall out of the habit of spending regular time in the Word. It might be easier to grab a cookie - whether it's a magazine, online shopping, or sleeping in late - rather than making the effort to prepare a nutritious meal. Yet I find that when I make spending time with God a priority, my desire for it increases. The more I read the Bible, the more I want to read, and the more I want to know the Author.

Just last week, as I finished reading the book of John, a study note about "the first day of the week" lead me to a cross reference in Acts, where the first Christians gathered together on Sundays. I read on to find the story of Eutychus, a young man who dozes off while Paul is speaking, falls out of a window, and dies! Even though I have read Acts before, the story did not seem familiar. It is so exciting to discover new truths each time I read the Word. And I will be thinking of this story in Acts next time I start to fall asleep during church!

Our Lord is so good and faithful to reward our commitment to Him with an increased enjoyment of Him. His Word has a sweetness all its own - not the sugar high of an Oreo that leaves us tired and nauseous when we overindulge, but the naturally delicate goodness of honey fresh from the hive. Psalm 119 is a beautiful picture of how God wants us to delight in His Word:

33 Teach me, O LORD, to follow your decrees;
then I will keep them to the end.
34 Give me understanding, and I will keep your law
and obey it with all my heart.
35 Direct me in the path of your commands,
for there I find delight.
36 Turn my heart toward your statutes
and not toward selfish gain.
37 Turn my eyes away from worthless things;
preserve my life according to your word.

As concerned as I am about health and nutrition, I must strive to nourish my soul even more diligently than I seek to nourish my body. Before I panic about the trans fat content of a French fry or the worthlessness of white bread, may I consider my spiritual diet. Instead of being content with spiritual junkfood, I pray I will fill my mind with a steady diet of God's Word. And as I do so, I find that I will crave Him more and more.

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