I don’t believe that craving is necessarily evil. I believe that God made us as beings of desire. Without desire, what type of life would this be? Without desire, how would we know what we have need of? It is through desire that we find out the difference between what we want and what we need. Desire needs to be sanctified just as all things in our life must be. But, craving is not evil of itself. God, through His own desire,in some way “craved” to see us free from sin and death. Desire can lead to delight just as it can lead to death.
At one important point in my life, the Holy Spirit asked me this question:
What do you want more than anything else?
This was a turning point in my life because it helped me to identify my Spirit led desire to be like Christ.
But, desire can also lead us away from God.
In Numbers, chapter 11, we find the story of the Israelite’s trek through the wilderness after their release from Egyptian slavery.The Israelis possessed a huge problem at this point: they had not successfully answered the question posed to me by the Holy Spirit. They were still looking to temporary things to make them happy so they craved for those things.
“Who will give us meat to eat? We remember the fish which we ate freely in Egypt, the cucumbers, the melons, the leeks, the onions, and the garlic; but now our whole being is dried up; for there is nothing at all except this manna before our eyes!” 11:4-6
Other than the obvious bad breath, this craving also led to what the Israelis described as being “dried up.” They forgot that while they did eat things other than manna in Egypt, they also were slaves there. They lived a life of bondage and complained to God under the cruelty of their situation. Now, they were free from slavery but still complained. They had not yet become “big picture” people. They were still looking to temporary things to bring lasting peace. While we all need food and shelter in life, seeking to pull your worth and value from what you posses is a frustrating pursuit.
As a matter of fact, I believe that those who still seek possessions as their security in life do not yet know who God really is.
Once you see God for who He really is, your search to find meaning in other things ceases.
The love and power of God provides security for us in this life and the next. Unless you really know that, craving for “things” dominates your energy and thinking, causing a general lack of peace. Most people want to get to the place in which they will never experience lack again but does such a place truly exist?
Let’s see what the apostle Paul said about this:
“Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” Philippians 4:11-13
Paul stated that he had been in states of abounding and states of abasing. He had learned to be content. This contentment came through Christ. But, Paul said that he had learned to be content and to crave at the same time. He craved for what made Him content: Jesus Christ.
In Numbers 11, God answered the Israelis prayer by giving them meat to eat in a miraculous fashion. After eating, the wrath of God was upon them and many of them died. They named the place that they buried the “cravers of meat” Kibroth Hattaavah, which means, “graves of craving.”
Don’t let your craving dig a grave for you! Do you know the difference between what you “want” and what you “need?” Have you answered the question, “What do I want more than anything else?”
If Christ is not the answer to these questions, you will live outside of the “big picture” of true contentment. What you obtain will never be enough for you.
You can get what you want and not want what you got!
Craving and contentment find their meaning and satisfaction in Christ alone.