I've been craving chocolate the last few days. Not a casual, "gee some chocolate would be nice," but a "if you want something from me and you don't have chocolate you might*as*well*go*away" type craving. It has become a physical as well as psychological need. It isn't really that surprising. I usually have a day or two each month when I crave chocolate, and I usually have some stashed for just those moments. But I've been serious about this lifestyle change of eating better and haven not kept chocolate in the house for three months (I know some of you are gasping). And this month it is driving me crazy, but I'm going to resist temptation [note to self--keep reminding yourself of the 28 pounds you have lost and fight the craving].
In all seriousness, it has made me think about why we crave certain things. According to dictionary.com to crave means to:
crave /kreɪv/ –verb (used with object)With the exception of some really weird pregnancy cravings you sometimes read about, I don't hear of people craving something they have never tasted. My daughters never asked for chocolate until they were given their first taste. I don't go around thinking, "wow I'd like to have some kim chee (Korean fermented cabbage that I have managed to never try) today" because I have never eaten it. I have, however, seen German get very excited to see it on a Vietnamese menu--he loves the stuff after working in South Korea. My point is, we generally need to develop a taste for something before our body tells us we really need/want greatly to eat more of it. The evolution is first taste to liking the flavor to eating some more to almost being able to taste it before we eat it.
1.to long for; want greatly; desire eagerly: to crave sweets; to crave affection.
2.to require; need: a problem craving prompt attention.
3.to ask earnestly for (something); beg for.
4.to ask (a person) earnestly for something or to do something. –verb (used without object)
5.to beg or plead (usually fol. by for).
—Synonyms 1. yearn for, hunger for.
Dictionary.com Unabridged (v 1.1)Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2006.
Admit it, you are smiling because you know exactly what I'm talking about. Whether it is chocolate or something else, we have all been there. But you are thinking, "what difference does it make?" Well I made the leap, as my weird mind often does, to another thing that I am craving--more and deeper Bible Study. I am at a point in my walk, in this season of my life, where I just want to know more. I'd like nothing more than to lock myself away and just study. Of course that is impossible with two little ones, but I find myself searching for extra time for "a few more minutes." I'm not reading anything except study materials and my Bible--why waste the time on a novel when I can have the Word. I look at my stitching and think, another time. Computer time has been seriously cut back. Chatting online--nonexistent. I am at a stage where "if you want something from me and you aren't bringing a piece of the Word you*might*as*well*forget*it". And it is a great and exhilarating place to be. And as much as I pray that I will always crave the Word like this, I know that the craving will ebb and flow--but hopefully the habit will be established before the craving subsides.
Since this craving is so real to me, I am a little taken aback that not everyone shares it. I was chatting with a friend the other day about wanting deeper studies than our church is currently offering. She made the comment that if she wanted it and I wanted it, weren't the others wanting it as well. And we discussed why so many people don't want to invest themselves into a deeper study. But in my thoughts about craving, I think I may have part of the answer--they don't want it because they haven't tasted it. So many Christians have never undergone serious study on their own, so they don't know what they are missing. They believe that they get the Bible teaching they need from the sermon on Sunday morning and maybe a quick devotional reading each day (and please don't get me wrong, those are great and important tools in our walk with God). But they have never undertaken a serious study of what the words, the contexts, the content and the application of the Word of God means for them. So when I say "I want more" they look at me blankly--what does more mean when you have never tasted it?
Brothers, I could not address you as spiritual but as worldly—mere infants in Christ. I gave you milk, not solid food, for you were not yet ready for it. 1 Corinthians 3:1-2
Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, now that you have tasted that the Lord is good. 1 Peter 2:2-3
I've seen this at work in the Ladies Bible Study I lead on Friday mornings. We had been doing a study of a thematic topic and just discussing Scripture and application to our lives (friendship, fellowship, trust, etc). Each person could invest a lot of time thinking and researching the topic or just come and learn. But for the last 6 weeks, we have been studying Beth Moore's "The Patriarchs". And any of you who have done her studies know they involve lots of homework and lots of Scripture reading. Comments I'm beginning to hear is "why haven't I done this before?" "wow this is so great, I can't wait to do my daily study" "have you thought what we are going to do next, I don't want to stop". YES! They tasted it and they want more! How exciting. I've always known that my heart was for discipleship--helping to mentor and shape a person who has made a decision into a disciple of Christ. Helping new believers (and even stale believers) find the tools for a vibrant life in Christ. I think God is defining that for me even more. I want people to taste the Lord and know that He is good. I want to help them crave His Word. I want to teach them how to study the Bible so it becomes alive to them. I'm excited about what God is doing in my life and in the lives of the ladies in my group. I'm praying it continues.
As I seek to help people crave the Word, I wonder what has been a turning point for you to want more study? What was your signpost? What did you taste that you couldn't wait to get more of it? I'm preparing for the next study and any direction you could give me would be welcomed thankfully.
And I think I've found the cure for my chocolate craving. Think I'll go read some more. Blessings to you all.
I have not departed from your laws, for you yourself have taught me.
How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth!
I gain understanding from your precepts; therefore I hate every wrong path. Psalm 119:102-104
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. Matthew 5:6
photo credit: morguefile.com artist=rosevita