Last Wednesday I had the privilege of meeting with the Executive Vice President of one of Canada’s major banks. As we discussed the challenges that he faced in his business the subject of employee addictions came up. He had noted over the years that whenever a casino was established in a new town, within 6-8 months there would be a spike in the incidence of employee theft from their branch accounts in that city. His take on this was that these employees had developed a gambling addiction and were so desperate they would risk their jobs by absconding bank money to fund their craving to gamble. Of course, many had to be fired. I am sure you could substitute different details in some your businesses where you have noticed similar effects upon employee behaviour from the destructive nature of cravings.
Do not love the world or anything in the world… For everything in the world — the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life — comes not from the Father but from the world. – 1 John 2:15-16
Insight on this topic is contained in this week’s devotional from Lysa Terkeurst’s book, Made to Crave. .Think about the definition of the word ‘craving’. How would you define it? Dictionary.com defines craving as something you long for, want greatly, desire eagerly, and beg for. God made us crave so we’d always desire more of Him.
Don’t read over that last sentence too quickly. God made us to crave — to desire eagerly, want greatly, and long for Him. But Satan wants to do everything possible to replace our craving for God with something else. I like how the New Living Translation puts this:
Do not love this world nor the things it offers you… for the world offers only a craving for physical pleasure, a craving for everything we see, and pride in our achievements and possessions. These are not from the Father, but are from this world. – 1 John 2:15-16
The cravings of the world are misplaced physical desires — such as issues with food or for intimacy outside of marriage. In other words, trying to meet our physical needs outside the will of God. A craving for everything we see means being enamoured by material things. And lastly, pride in achievements and possessions describes someone chasing what brings feelings of significance.
This passage details three ways Satan tries to lure us away from loving God. And Satan used these very same tactics the first time he tempted humankind through Eve:
When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food [physical craving] and pleasing to the eye [material craving], and also desirable for gaining wisdom [significance craving], she took some and ate it. – Genesis 3:6
Eve kept her focus on the object of her desire. The Scriptures give us no indication she tried to check in with God or Adam. She didn’t walk away and truly consider this choice. And she certainly didn’t take time to consider the consequences.
She saw it. She wanted it. She bought the lie. She took it. And she suffered for it.
Interestingly, Satan later applied the same three tactics he used with Eve when he tempted Jesus (Matthew 4).
Physical craving: Satan appealed to Jesus’ physical need for food (Matthew 4:3). Jesus had been fasting, so of course, He was hungry. It’s comforting for me to know Jesus felt the pangs of hunger yet resisted because He was fasting. He didn’t want to get His physical needs met outside the will of God.
Material craving: The devil promised Jesus all the kingdoms He could see if He would bow down to the god of materialism (Matthew 4:8-9). It’s hard to resist the splendour of the world. But Jesus was enamoured with God’s eternity, not the world’s temporary imitations. He didn’t want to get His material needs met outside the will of God.
Significance craving: The enemy enticed Jesus to prove His significance by forcing God to command angels to save Him (Matthew 4:5 – 6). The lure of doing something that will make one look good, feel powerful, and be elevated in the eyes of others is so enticing. But Jesus’ security came from His identity as a child of God, not His human achievements. He didn’t want to get His emotional significance needs met outside the will of God.
While Eve focused on the object of her temptation, Jesus kept His focus on God’s truth. He refuted each of Satan’s lures with Scripture.
He saw it. He wanted God more. He quoted truth. He resisted. And He was rewarded for it.
When we face our own cravings, will we be like Eve, focusing on our object of desire? Or will we be like Jesus, pausing, reciting truth, and remembering what matters most?
Temporary satisfaction or unending contentment?
Giving in to the cravings of this world or following the love and the will of God?
Two powerful examples. Two vastly different outcomes.
Dear Lord, please help me as I struggle with physical, material, and significance cravings. I know that only You can bring me lasting contentment for my cravings. Help me to pause today and reflect on what matters most. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Excerpted from Made to Crave Devotional by Lysa Terkeurst, copyright Zondervan