Monday, January 20, 2014

Made to Crave Study, Intro. and Chapter 1

I'm participating in an an online Bible study using Made to Crave by Lysa TerKeust, hosted by Proverbs 31 Ministries, and I decided to make notes and comments on each chapter here on this blog. I probably won't outline each chapter, but rather with just mark notes, impressions, quotes that stood out to me, etc. The overview of week 1 from the Proverbs 31 Ministries is here and the post on chapter 1 is here.

The introduction is titled "Finding Your 'Want To,'" and that's exactly what I need. I have the "need to" and some degree of "want to," but obviously not enough to overcome other wants. Lysa describes some of her own journey and struggle and how she came to write the book. She then talks about the parable of the rich young ruler, who wanted to follow Jesus until Jesus asked him to sell his possessions and give to the poor. "Jesus didn't mean this as a sweeping command for everyone who has a lot of money. Jesus meant this for any of us who wallow in whatever abundance we have. I imagine Jesus looked straight into this young man's soul and said, 'I want you to give up the one thing you crave more than me. Then come, follow me.'"

"When Jesus says, 'Follow me,' it's not an invitation to drag our divided heart alongside us as we attempt to follow hard after God. When Jesus wants us to follow Him - really follow Him - it's serious business. Here's how Jesus describes it: 'If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me' (Mark 8:34)."

"God made us capable of craving so we'd have an unquenchable desire for more of Him, and Him alone. Nothing changes until we make the choice to redirect our misguided cravings to the only one capable of satisfying them."

Lysa then discuses dealing with the spiritual, physical, and mental aspects.

A few more quotes:

"Honestly, I am made for more than a vicious cycle of eating, gaining, stressing - eating, gaining, stressing...I am made to rise up and do battle with my issues and, using the Lord's strength in me, defeat them - spiritually, physically, and mentally - to the glory of God."

"I was amazed that I ever desired to satisfy my taste buds over satisfying my desire to break free from all the guilt, all the destruction, all the defeat."

The title of Chapter 1 is "What's Really Going On Here?"

"We crave what we eat." So the more we eat of what we like and what we're used to, the more we'll continue on with the same. But simply making choices to make us feel full rather than choosing empty calories doesn't help entirely in itself, for as Lysa confesses, "I can feel full after a meal and still crave chocolate pie for dessert. Just feeling full isn't the answer to a healthy eating plan."

Lysa says she believes God made us to crave. Psalm 84: 1-2 says, "How amiable are thy tabernacles, O Lord of hosts! My soul longeth, yea, even fainteth for the courts of the Lord: my heart and my flesh crieth out for the living God," an expression of intense longing.

Satan, of course tries to distract us from fulfilling that craving for God with the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the prides of life (I John 2:15-16). She defines and discusses each of those and shows how Satan used them against both Eve (Genesis 3:1-6) and Jesus (Matthew 4:1-11). Eve fell; Jesus did not. "Eve was saturated in the object of her desire. Jesus was saturated in God's truth."

"[Eve] didn't walk away and give herself time to really consider her choice. She didn't consult Adam. She didn't consider the truth of what God had clearly instructed. She didn't talk to God. She focused only on the object of her obsession." That's convicting to me, because I do the same thing. When faced with a temptation, I am so busy justifying it that I don't think much about the reasons why I shouldn't or even pray about it, lest I be talked out of it. 

"We consume what we think about. and what we think about can consume us if we're not careful."

Something else that really stood out to me was the observation that Eve fell while surrounded by plenty: Jesus stood strong while in a deprived state of having fasted 40 days and nights. When I feel "deprived," that's no excuse to give way to temptation. "He quoted God's Word. And so can we. When we feel deprived and frustrated and consumed with wanting unhealthy choices, we too can rely on God's Word to help us."

She then brings us one of the verses I mentioned in the last post: "All things are lawful for me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but all things edify not" (I Corinthians 10:23). "That thought empowered me to make a beneficial choice rather than wallowing in being deprived of an unhealthy choice."

The chapter ends with encouragement and reflection questions.

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