The LORD appeared to him from afar, saying, “I have loved you with an everlasting love; Therefore I have drawn you with lovingkindness. Jeremiah 31:3 NASB
This verse is a beautiful reminder of how much God loves each one of us! I pinned the verse graphic (above) five months ago. Almost every day and usually several times a day, people are still repinning this verse. It seems like people are in need of a reminder that God really does love them. As I was looking up this verse in the online parallel Bible (biblehub.com) I found the following verse from Hosea:
I led them with cords of kindness, with the bands of love, and I became to them as one who eases the yoke on their jaws, and I bent down to them and fed them. Hosea 1:4 ESV
As I read through different versions of this verse, a picture of my Made To Crave journey began to emerge. As we have focused on our relationship with God and dug deep into His Word He has released the yoke of slavery to our food cravings. He has bent down near to us and feed us with His love, which reminds me of Jesus being the Bread of Life (John 6:35) and Living Water John 4:10-14).
When we have food cravings it’s often an emotional or spiritual issue we need to address with the Lord. If we would just stop for a moment to talk it over with God I believe He would fill that empty space, relieving the craving. Sometimes we just have to take a first step in faith – walking away from the temptation – before God’s power fully reigns in our current circumstances. God honors our obedience to Him. He does not leave us alone in our struggles. But, as in any other faith issue, we have our part to do, too.
As I look at the first page of session 6 (Made To Crave Action Plan by Lysa TerKeurst & Dr Ski Chilton) I have to laugh, a purely joy-of-the-Lord-filled laugh, at the title, Make a Courageous Choice: Direct Your Heart to Love and Perseverance, because it brings me back to love. The love that spoke to my heart this morning as I looked at the graphic (above) about God’s love for us and how great that love is! That’s the love that sent Jesus to earth, held Him to the cross, and then raised Him to new and eternal life, so we too can have that!
When we are confident that God loves us with an everlasting love we can make the courageous choices, because we know nothing can separate us from the Love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 8:39). Jesus made a way where there was no way to bridge the separation that was between God and people, because God wanted relationship with us. He gives us His best, because His purpose is to give us a rich and satisfying life (John 10:10b NLT). In return He wants our best – obedience, love, and worship.
In comparison to God’s love and His power at work within us, food cravings seem so small. Well, not so small in that moment and REALLY WANT that yummy treat! Then it seems bigger than life. All you can think about. Whether it’s food cravings or any other temptation Jesus understands, because He has suffered under many temptations, including food (Matthew 4:3-4) . And God’s love shows us the way out (1 Corinthians 10:13), but we must be sober-minded (1 Peter 4:7) enough to see it and take the way out.
God has given us the tools and the armor (Ephesians 6:10-18) to win the battle. To make Dr Chilton’s five principles really doable, we need God’s “fix” for our thoughts. Here are three biblical principles (tools) we need to apply to our thought lives:
• Take our thoughts captive: “We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ. 2 Corinthians 10:5 ESV
• Renew our minds with the Word: “Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.” Romans 12:2 NLT
• Think excellent thoughts: “And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.” Philippians 4:8 NLT
How can we do these things?
1. By submitting to God first and foremost. It is only by submitting our will to God’s that we can resist the devil and his schemes (James 4:7).
2. Through prayer. Seek God first every day and give Him our day, trusting in His plan (divine appointments) (Matthew 6:33, Psalm 37:5, Proverbs 3:5-6 & 16:3).
3. By being in the Word daily, but not just reading it, but meditating on it – really thinking about it, pondering it, and asking the Holy Spirit for fresh revelation in it (Matthew 7:7, John 14:26).
4. By memorizing key verses to be used as our Sword of the Spirit (Ephesians 6:17). For an excellent example of how Jesus used the Sword of the Spirit read Mark 4:1-11.
5. By being careful what we put into our minds. What do we read, watch, listen to, and play? Just as we are what we eat, we are what we put into our minds. I used to try to tolerate a certain amount of “language” in otherwise nice movies, but when certain words starting coming to my thoughts I knew I couldn’t do that anymore. Once something takes up residence in your thoughts, unchecked, it’s only a matter of time before they come out in words or actions. We need to be cautious about how much worldly influence and temptation we think we can handle (Romans 12:3). It is a slippery slope into sin. Which reminds me of the song “Slow Fade.” I will leave you with this song as a reminder that, “we do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith” (Hebrews 12:2 NLT).
Blessings and the peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you,