Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Craving chocolate and other spiritual truths

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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 to crave means to:
crave /kre…™v/ –verb (used with object) long for; want greatly; desire eagerly: to crave sweets; to crave affection. require; need: a problem craving prompt attention. ask earnestly for (something); beg for. ask (a person) earnestly for something or to do something. –verb (used without object) beg or plead (usually fol. by for).

—Synonyms 1. yearn for, hunger for. Unabridged (v 1.1)Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2006.
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.

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: artist=rosevita


Margaret said...

Thinking....reflecting....not ready to comment...

But wanted you to know I was here.

Tami Boesiger said...

Your passion makes me want to go out and join a bazillion Bible study groups! I am blessed to be a part of a few really good Bible study groups, but two are on hiatus for the summer and I miss it already.

What causes me to search deep into the Word is trying to find God's definitive answer on a subject. One summer I did an exhaustive search on what it means to know God, one year I looked up references to beauty, that sort of thing.

Oh, and BTW, thanks a lot for the picture of such smooth, creamy looking chocolate--you're making me crave it now!!

MiPa said...

Thanks M---I value your input.

Tami, one of my quandries is to fight that urge to join a bazillion Bible Study groups. It is so easy to join up and spread ourselves so thin that doing the study becomes why we do it instead of the passion of knowing God. I like your suggestion of finding a definitive answer on a subject.
Oh, and I'm sorry I set off a chocolate craving but the picture was too yummy to pass up, lol. Thanks for sharing.


Tina said...

MiPa - I have sat before my screen rereading your post over and over. I have reread the definition of crave and pondered. I actually think it might be possible to crave something without having had a taste. Ok, hear me out on this one... for those that don't believe, I think it is possible to look upon others and crave a relationship with Him without having had a personal taste of it. You know I read your blog and every new post and I take at least a few moments each day to reflect. YOU have made me crave a deeper understanding and a deeper spiritual level even though I have not previously had it.

Much like people crave true love, not because they have had a personal taste of it but because they have witnessed the joy it has brought to others, so can someone crave Him without having had that first taste.

I have been a bit lost about what study group to join at our church, perhaps I should go *taste* a few and see where it leads me.

Pixilated Mum said...

Miriam Pauline,
Another fabulous post to think about. Honestly, I read your posts and always am just left with such good stuff to ponder. How do you consistently have such solid, good posts? I always want to have such prayer-filled posts, but I end up going on about duck poop and math troubles and being chubby. LOL

Thanks for this lovely blog of yours, and always leaving your e-friends with good thoughts.

Maria, who will do the tag thing tomorrow :D

MiPa said...

Tina, interesting point. I guess in my mind I sometimes *taste* something in someone else's life and want to taste it in mine. But the desire comes from what I've seen, not a personal taste.

Thank you for your constant encouragement. You are one of the reasons I keep blogging. I guess God is answering my desire to help people want to taste Him, and it is less direct than what I was thinking.

Hope you find a study. I have an extensive library so if you want to know about an author or book I'll try to help. ((HUGS))

MiPa said...

Thanks for the encouragement. My post about duck poop in my front garden didn't get very far--but I have hopes to post baby gosling pictures tomorrow. I sometimes worry that I am too serious in my posts--but it is what God is putting on my heart. I'm glad you come and read!

Steph said...

That was a very encouraging Bible study. I too am one to 'crave' reading God's Word JUST to read it.

I'll just have to make a choice of which 'craving' is more lasting.

Thought I'd share what I heard over the weekend: I Tim.4:15 encourages us to meditate upon God's Word and to give yourself wholly to it and the profit of doing so will appear to all.

It's refreshing to read your blog and to see that there ARE others 'craving' God's Word and God's message of deliverance.

Steph(aka crzy4xstitch)a