My Broken Appetite
John 4:34 My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to accomplish his work.
I seem to have an insatiable appetite. Not only am I always hungry, I almost always desire most, that which is worst for me. I do not crave broccoli. I want donuts, pizza and steak (in large quantities). I seem to have an unending appetite for the unhealthy.
If this defect only applied to my appetite for food, I would not be writing this blog. This defect seems to permeate my flesh nature. I find the most immediate gratification in those things which are most destructive to me. To be sure, I do understand there is pleasure in the rewards of eating well and exercising. Those things just take too much time and effort. Why put in all that work when I can have the immediate pleasure of a donut now?
My defect then, is not that I have the desire for pleasure and satisfaction. My defect is the direction in which I aim that desire. I may find some pleasure in immediate gratification, which leads to destruction, or, I may pursue pleasure the right way, choosing discipline for the longer lasting reward of eating right. It is not wrong to pursue satisfaction and pleasure. There is however, a right and wrong way to go about it.
Jesus, in today’s passage, used this analogy of food to teach his disciples the same principle. In the story, the disciples brought him dinner. He used the opportunity to talk about appetites and satisfaction. When offered their food, Jesus told his disciples that He was eating food they did not know about. He said his food was to do the will of his father who sent him.
Jesus explained that his greatest meaning was not to found in filling his belly but rather in following God. In doing so, He showed us the only way to truly satisfy our deepest needs and desires. We pursue meaning and pleasure in food, sex, drugs, money, appearance, and status because they provide more immediate gratification. Seeking God above all requires some sacrifice up front but always leads to lasting joy and pleasure without the destructive consequences.
Jesus point, was not that I am unable to enjoy any of the pleasures of life. When I become a Christian, I do not stop eating or having sex. This life, along with food and sex, are gifts from God. I may need to adjust how I pursue some of those things though. If I find all my joy in eating, I will become a food addict. If I find my purpose and meaning in my sexuality, I will become a slave to it. It is only in pursuing God above all that I can properly enjoy his creation.
There are of course, pleasures that I am unable to pursue appropriately. There will never be an acceptable place in my life for drugs. Following God does mean that some things must be ruthlessly cut from my life.
As a follower of Christ, I am to find my meaning, purpose and satisfaction in him above all. It is only when I choose to follow him above all that I find the answer to my deepest needs and desires.
The Seeds of the Spirit is a daily blog based on a walk through the New Testament. Written from the perspective of my own addiction, it explores the common defects of our flesh nature and the solution, our spirit life. If you find it helpful, sign up for the blog as a daily email, tell your friends and like/share it on Facebook.