I love pizza. I love pasta. I love bread. These three constitute the holy trinity of Italian gluttony, the three objects whose power over me is great. I have not bowed before a golden calf, but I’ve considered bowing before a Golden Corral or any other dining establishment as long as it has pizza, pasta, and bread. Oh and ice cream. I love ice cream. I’ve been craving peppermint stick (you know, candy cane) ice cream ever since my mother-in-law mentioned it a few days ago. I fill my thoughts with those things that are excellent and praiseworthy: carbohydrates and sugars. If you want to see me joyful, take me to Costco on a Saturday. There is always a cheese sample and this is my communion, shared with a fellowship of those seeking inexpensive yet quality items in bulk. Baptize me in a bath of buffalo sauce (with bleu cheese nearby, please) and we’ll celebrate with boneless spare ribs from the local Chinese restaurant. I’ll volunteer to host the Bible study; you bring the Bible, I’ll pick the snacks (which will almost always include an Italian meat and a cheese, except for when I go rogue and spring for some tortilla chips and guacamole).
There are some who are chuckling and others who are offended by my flippancy towards the sacred doctrine and ordinances of the church. My intention is not to offend, but I crafted this image of gluttony and idolatry when I came across Romans 6:18 during my studies today: “You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness.” I quickly examined my behavior throughout the past few weeks (and you know, decades) and thought of what I thought truly owned me. We’re slaves to who or whatever owns us, that is how the whole slavery thing works. If I had to pick one thing I think about the most, one issue I’ve struggled with the longest, and what can take me from success to failure in a matter of seconds, it would be food. More specifically, it would be my cravings for food. I pray the armor of God routinely, placing on the shield of faith with which I can extinguish the flaming arrows of the evil one. When I pray that prayer, I think of spiritual strongholds and active warfare for souls and for spiritual territory; I didn’t consider the the arrows for me have come in the form of pizza and charcuterie. Yet they do. And these arrows are everywhere, especially when I’m on duty at dispatch or when I’m on the ambulance.
After following Jesus for nearly seventeen years, I still don’t feel like a slave to righteousness. I’m grown for sure. In fact, the Lord has brought me a long way from where I came. Still, I’m not yet a slave to righteousness; I’m a slave to my cravings. As I have purposed my heart to journey to the heart of Christ centered masculinity, I see these cravings as a great hindrance to my spiritual formation and personal development. I also think I’m setting a bad example for my daughter about how to say no to things that are not good for me.
Somewhere along the line (a post for another time), I believed the lie that food would satisfy my needs more than God’s best for my life. I fashioned cravings for tastes instead of tasting and seeing that the Lord was good. The journey towards the heart of God involves abandoning the things that hinder us from intimacy with Him. I’ll be praying that my cravings change, that I would crave obedience to all of Jesus’ teachings and the Scripture’s commands instead of pigs in a blanket (you know, the small little hot dogs with the crescent roll). This is my prayer as we approach the new year: “Lord, change my cravings from the things this earth offers to the things that you offer.” He’s faithful. I’ll relish your prayers (pun intended).
As we end the year, can you identify with my position at all? Is there anything that prohibits you from experiencing the fullness of life Christ offers? Is there anything to which you cannot say no? Post below or on social media how I can be praying for you and with your thoughts on this post. And if you missed my last post, take a look at how I was reading the Bible incorrectly.