Growing up in church I have heard my fair share of sermons on idols. To be honest I have preached a tremendous amount about them. It is easy to preach on and easy to dodge, as long as you keep idols as wooden figures and antiquated gods. Idols, though, are not just figurines — they are the things in this world that tear our attention and affections from God to serve them. Idolatry can be the love of money, the love of your job, the love of the acceptance of others, or even the love of your kids. Don’t get me wrong — there is nothing intrinsically wrong with any of these things. All of them are profitable for man if kept in submission to the love and adoration of God. Anything can become an idol when it replaces
part of your affections for God.
It is easy to preach on idols as long as I keep them general. It is much harder to deal with idols when I have to take a serious look at my life and find my own.
As I write today, I guess this is a bit of a confession. I want to get this out there because I am tired of being subject to this idol. I know clearly that I struggle daily in my affections to the Bible Belt idol, food. I am not that overweight, but I am overweight. The last thing I want to do in this post is somehow turn a heart issue into a weight loss issue. I am not trying to Christianize a diet.
Here are my struggles — I crave food. I get excited and will dwell on food especially if I have a night out with my wife or a good meal cooked at home. I have a hard time saying no. When there is food around the office, I crave it to the point where I give in and eat. I have a hard time stopping. I know the feeling of being full, and yet the taste of food compels me to continue often after I am stuffed.
You may be reading and think… Wes, this is just part of being human. We all crave and are satisfied by our food. What’s the big deal? I have pondered recently the passage where Jesus calls himself the bread of life. The truth in my life is that I do not in the slightest crave Jesus like I crave a plate of fajitas from Chili’s (it’s the best Mexican food we have in Oklahoma). I do crave Jesus, but not in the same way that I crave fajitas. I don’t know if I can say I hunger for God after missing a day in his word like I hunger for a meal when I miss it.
Here is my suspicion; I don’t think I am the only one. We all live in a culture that feasts at every meal. As you’re reading this, you may yourself be panged by the hunger of your favorite restaurant. Have you ever had that burning inside for the word of God or time in prayer with him? Friends, our fight with food is not just a health issue or weight issue. Our fight with food is a heart issue. If our hunger for food is greater than our hunger for God then it has it has become our idol.
My hope and my desire is that we put our devotion to food under subjection to God. My hope is that we can find that satisfaction in God is greater than any food which will leave us hungry.