What Food Do You Crave?

woman looking guilty eating snack from refrigerator late at night

What Food Do You Crave?

Like the people our Lord freed, again and again, we, too, can be happy, whole, satisfied, rescued, redeemed, and released from our cravings, knowing where to go to find eternal nourishment.

For nearly a decade, I was a slave to what I thought would bring me freedom. Growing up in a Christian home, I was blessed beyond belief, but still saw my fair share of heartbreak and abhorrence.

At the age of 13, my life flipped from day to night. Although I knew many family members had addictions and illnesses that would be the death of them, I never once thought that I, too, would fall to similar vices.

While my Dad was diagnosed with an incurable chronic disease and my siblings relapsed and overdosed more than nine times of a black cat's good luck, I grasped for control.

At 21, reality sank in as I realized I'd been trying to make room for two idols in my life: God and authority. Between the walls of my bathroom and the oak door on the other side, I'm confident Christ could hear this battle raging. With tears in my eyes, my broken and throbbing foot pounded to the floor. I was frail; the addiction had met its match.

What Do Our Appetites Have to Do with Our Freedom?

After seven years of slavery, God freed me from an impaling obsession with what it meant to be "healthy." Over those ages, my mind had reframed the importance of food and exercise to be anything but nourishing.

In Numbers 11, God's chosen people, the Israelites, faced a similar mindset regarding being whole and satisfied.

After God had rescued His people from the brink of despair, they were troubled when disaster struck their unwavering and unstable mentality. Complaining to God of the recent hardship, our Israelites were far from praising their Creator. When we get in the middle of a storm, don't we do the same, forsaking eternal remembrance for a temporary freak-out session (Numbers 11:1-3)?

For many years, the Lord provided manna, a substance the Israelites once prayed for to nourish and satisfy their souls. After a time, however, they got tired of eating it day after day. Anyone else sick of leftovers after a week of eating them for breakfast, lunch, and dinner?

But instead of asking the Lord to provide new rain, or should I say fresh bread, when Israel hungered for something other than manna, they bluntly noted they'd rather go back to bondage in slavery than wait for how the Lord would provide next.

"Soon the people began to complain about their hardship, and the Lord heard everything they said. … Then the foreign rabble who were traveling with the Israelites began to crave the good things of Egypt. And the people of Israel also began to complain.” (Numbers 11:1, 4 NLT).

The Israelites didn't start to complain about their manna until the foreign rabble which was with them began to crave the good things about Egypt.

This "foreign" or "mixed multitude" that the Hebrew concordance writes as wə·hā·sap̄·sup̄ is a promiscuous assemblage of people. And isn't that sometimes how bad decisions rub off on us today? We see someone with admirable traits and actions but a deadly soul, and we envy what they have.

But getting a glimpse of a distorted good thing never brings pleasure but bondage.

If You Can Have Christ Don't Settle for Less

"And the people of Israel also began to complain" helps us to see this conversion of life to death, trading in the truth of the Lord's providence for a temporary "fix" of earthly diversion.

"Oh, for some meat!" they exclaimed. "We remember the fish we used to eat for free in Egypt. And we had all the cucumbers, melons, leeks, onions, and garlic we wanted. But now our appetites are gone. All we ever see is this manna!" (Numbers 11:4-6, NLT)

I've seen it happen far too many times in others' lives and my own. I was running back to bad habits because they were familiar rather than forsaking them for something holy.

The boy who struggles with porn keeps choosing a temporary pleasure because it feels better than waiting for God's fulfillment and design. For years, the girl who lived with anorexia and orthorexia called it healthy, and that one stings a little too close for comfort.

No matter the trade-in, if we abandon Christ for a half-truth of what once enslaved us, the outcome will always leave us hungry. Our appetite for Jesus, the trustworthy source and bread of life, will become so starved that it ceases to exist.

Where Are Your Cravings Leading You?

How easily the Israelites forgot that manna was what they prayed for (Exodus 16), replacing what was provided with what enslaved them.

In our minds, deception can easily twist the truth into lies and lies into fact. Before we know it, we run back to slavery, thinking it's freedom because it feels good.

Don't allow hardship to make you run back to slavery, understanding it as freedom.

In Numbers 11, Moses complains to God about these Israelites crying to him, and so, the Lord provides quail to replace the manna. Yet like any good thing, however, once they received it, God made sure they had enough that they never wanted to taste it again:

"Now the Lord sent a wind that brought quail from the sea and let them fall all around the camp. For miles in every direction there were quail flying about three feet above the ground. So the people went out and caught quail all that day and throughout the night and all the next day, too. No one gathered less than fifty bushels! They spread the quail all around the camp to dry. But while they were gorging themselves on the meat—while it was still in their mouths—the anger of the Lord blazed against the people, and he struck them with a severe plague. So that place was called Kibroth-hattaavah (which means "graves of gluttony") because there they buried the people who had craved meat from Egypt. From Kibroth-hattaavah the Israelites traveled to Hazeroth, where they stayed for some time" (Numbers 11:31-35, NLT).

The question I have for you today, friends, is what food do you crave? God's, or the worlds? Heaven or Earth’s?

When you're satisfied with the Lord, you'll never starve of the inner hunger you're looking for to satisfy tedious cravings. When you run to Jesus above anything and everything else, He not only fulfills and nourishes but breaks chains so that you no longer have to walk around in them.

In John 6:35 of the ESV, Jesus said to them, "I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.”

"'It shall come about on that day,' declares the Lord of hosts, 'that I will break his yoke from off their neck and will tear off their bonds; and strangers will no longer make them their slaves" (Jeremiah 30:8, NASB).

Like the people our Lord freed, again and again, we, too, can be happy, whole, satisfied, rescued, redeemed, and released from our cravings, knowing where to go to find eternal nourishment.

Agape, Amber

Photo Credit: © Getty Images/evgenyatamanenko

amber ginter headshotAmber Ginter is an aspiring 25-year-old writer that currently works as an English teacher in Chillicothe, Ohio, and has a passionate desire to impact the world for Jesus through her love for writing, aesthetics, health/fitness, and ministry. Hoping to become a full-time freelancer, Amber seeks to proclaim her love for Christ and the Gospel through her writing, aesthetic ministry team (Aisthitikós Joy Ministries), and volunteer roles. She is also the author of The Story I've Never Told, which is currently in the publishing process. Amber has freelanced for Daughter of Delight, Kallos, Anchored Passion, Crosswalk, No Small Life, Darling Magazine, Called Christian Writers, Southern Ohio Today News, The Rebelution, Ohio Christian University, and The Circleville Herald. Visit her website at amberginter.com.

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