I hope you’re thawing out a bit after what seems to have been the eternal polar vortex.
My family is currently enjoying spring break with a little downtime and relaxation. It seems premature to call it “spring” break considering the weather, but nonetheless we’re grateful for a chance to rest and recharge.
Today we are sharing an article from last year that seems to have a particularly relevant message this time of year. As I read it again, I was reminded how the Lord has such great plans for our lives, plans that he prepared in advance for us so long ago (Ephesians 2:10). Yet how tempting is it to settle for things this world offers that are temporary and unsatisfying—or “stew,” as I referenced in this article?
As we enter the Lenten season and begin preparing for the significance of Easter, I pray you will take a minute to read this article and consider what adjustments you might make in the coming weeks to get rid of the things that bring temporary pleasure in exchange for that which will give eternal significance.
In this with you,
What are you made to crave?
If you haven’t read Made to Crave by Lysa TerKeurst, I recommend it. It may or may not be something you struggle with, but the book talks about our relationship with food and how God cares about how and what we eat. TerKeurst biblically addresses issues surrounding our relationship with food.
Whether you eat too much, too little, think about food too much, or struggle with body image, the gist is that we are inherently made to crave God but often respond to our cravings with other things (like food) that are not God’s best for our lives. I’ll get back to the book in a second.
A few of my dear friends found a local church that was having a health-conscious Bible study based on this book on Thursday nights, so we signed up. When I got to the first meeting, my friends were at the back table with some other ladies I didn’t know. I sat down a few seats from one of my good friends. (She made me promise I wouldn’t mention her name, but it rhymes with Karen.)
It was a cold day, and she was wearing a cute little scarf with her outfit. Something caught my eye on her scarf—possibly an accessory on her accessory. And then I lost it. You know that “I can’t believe I’m laughing at a funeral” kind of laugh? The one when your spouse slips and falls and you’re doing everything in your power not to laugh, but you just can’t hold it in? (Or maybe that’s just me?)
Well, it turns out my sweet friend was sitting in this health-conscious Bible study, readers on, taking notes all diligently, completely unaware that she had a french fry stuck in her scarf.
A french fry, God love her.
Not the small sliver of a fry one might get at McDonald’s. Nope, it was a Chick-fil-A waffle fry hanging out on her stylish scarf. The three of us never quite recovered that night. It was a tears-rolling-down-your-face kind of laugh. Those around us will likely find a new table group for the next meeting.
But isn’t that the perfect metaphor for how we live life sometimes?
The fry on your scarf
We’re trying to make changes, do the right thing, studying God’s Word on the best way to live life, yet all the while we’re sitting there unaware that we’ve got a french fry in our scarf. What’s on our outside all too often gives away what’s really going on in the inside. And how often do we give in to something that sounds great at the moment at the expense of what is best for the long term?
Made to Crave has a great message for us from the story of Jacob and Esau in Genesis:
Once when Jacob was cooking stew, Esau came in from the field, and he was exhausted. And Esau said to Jacob, “Let me eat some of that red stew, for I am exhausted!” Jacob said, “Sell me your birthright now.” Esau said, “I am about to die; of what use is a birthright to me?” Jacob said, “Swear to me now.” So he swore to him and sold his birthright to Jacob. Then Jacob gave Esau bread and lentil stew, and he ate and drank and rose and went his way. Thus Esau despised his birthright.—Genesis 25:29–34
Esau was exhausted and hungry. He seemed to be at his wit’s end after a long day at work in the field and desperately wanted something to eat. The circumstances appeared normal, except he was in a bad place: a place of desperation. Poor Esau didn’t realize that his physical cravings for food were going to ultimately cost him dearly. TerKeurst points out that Esau “sacrificed what was good in the long term for what felt good in the short term. He gave up who he was in a moment of desperation.”
What is the “stew” in your life?
Where are you giving up your inheritance, or God’s best, for something temporary and fleeting? Where are you pursuing short-term gain at the expense of long-term, lasting reward?
I do it every day when I choose to look at Facebook when I know I need to spend time with the Lord or my family. Stew.
Or when I pass up an opportunity to share my faith because I’m nervous about what that person might think. Stew.
Or when I care about the things the world applauds instead of staying on the narrow road that leads back to God. Stew.
We all have areas where we compromise what’s best for what looks good at the moment. You know, like when you come in from a day of hunting in the field and just want some stew (even if it costs you your birthright)—where we compromise our greater ministry for a fleeting desire. But it’s especially easy to do this when we are worn down and weak, and when we aren’t in the Word and aren’t living in fellowship and accountability with our fellow believers.
I have a middle-schooler and a high-schooler, and I’m reminded of how important this thought is for our kids, especially teenagers. What may be appealing at the moment is very often not the best decision in the long run. They will so often be tempted to give up their “birthright” by making fleeting decisions that seem innocuous at the moment.
- Turning your back on true friendships for popularity – stew (1 Corinthians 15:33)
- A quick glance at pornography – stew (1 John 2:16)
- Compromising physically because you “love” him/her – stew (Galatians 5:19)
- A quick text while driving because it can’t wait – stew (Matthew 22:37–40)
- Drinking and driving – stew (1 Peter 4:3)
Don’t give up your birthright
Satan knows us well and has very tactical ways to tempt us to give up our birthright, so to speak. If you know Christ, your eternity is secure. But how we live life before we go to heaven matters, and we can do better than compromising his best for something as meaningless as some lame soup that sounds great at the moment.
And this is also worth considering: the areas where we compromise are not only impacting us but also those around us and our witness. Sin rarely stays private.
Whatever you’re facing, stop and take a minute to consult the Lord before you act. Model discipline and intentionality for your kids. And when you show up to the healthy-eating class with a french fry in your scarf—laugh real hard for a minute with your friends and then be determined to choose better next time.
The lasting, eternal value of godly decision making is far worth the sacrifice of a fleeting desire.
Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world.—1 Peter 5:8–9