All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. Ephesians 2:3 (NIV)
I have come to the conclusion that it is our natural appetites that get us in trouble. We all struggle, though which appetite(s) we struggle with varies from person to person. It is easy to point out the obvious appetite addictions in our culture and society. I have always observed a human tendency to rank them in our minds and our social circles.
I’ve always found it both fascinating and hypocritical that the institutional church so vigorously denounces those who struggle to tame their appetites for sex, alcohol and drugs while we feed, pretty much unchecked, our appetite for caffeine, fats and sugar. My local church was literally pushing sugar glazed donut holes on every person walking into Easter services yesterday like drug dealers on seedy street corner. Then we feed gluttonous appetites with more fats and sweets at the after church potluck.
Food has its own mind and physiology altering effects and is no less destructive when appetites are fed unchecked. We choose to, by-and-large, ignore that appetite, however, when it comes to public discussions of destructive habits. There are other appetites I find the institutional church rarely discusses: sloth, gossip, greed, praise, control, power, and pleasure to name a few. It’s easier to point out the obvious in others than dig in and deal with those which might create spiritual sub-dermal discomfort in ourselves.
The further I get in this faith journey the more acutely aware I have become of the link between appetites/craving, obedience, faith, and maturity. I see less distinction between the socially unacceptable appetites people struggle with and the socially acceptable ones we seemingly ignore. All natural cravings and appetites, fed unchecked, are addictive and destructive. I am increasingly convicted of just how out of control my appetites can be despite appearances to the outside world that I have everything in control.
Today, I am seeking to hold in check my cravings and appetites for those things which can so easily become spiritually, physically, and relationally destructive and follow Holy Spirit’s prompting to feed my spiritual appetite to love my Creator, and others, well.