I woke up this morning and started reading a new book I bought called, Made to Crave, it’s about craving God more than food. I am not really reading it for the food part because that isn’t my biggest struggle, smoking is, but it doesn’t matter about the food so much as the point of craving God.
In this book she refers to Matthew 19:21 and how this young rich man came to Jesus and asked Him what he lacks, he follows all the laws yet he is still missing something. Jesus told him to sell his stuff, give to the poor and follow Jesus. In this way you receive a relationship with Jesus which is what we are all lacking, He is the missing piece. I have read this story before and thought, Wow, I would give up all material items to follow Him, how foolish of this man to want to keep his stuff and miss out on a relationship with Jesus. Thing is that is easy for me to say because I don’t have much in material items.
God showed me today that although this story is about riches, I can still relate it to my life in the form of what I do have coming between us. I struggle with smoking. I quit for a month and go back for a week, quit for a month and go back for 2 weeks. I guess I am on the road at least to repentance, but I am still choosing to go to smoking when I get stressed at times instead of Jesus. I am choosing to crave cigs instead of Him. I am not willing at those times to give those up and follow Him. I am that rich man.
It also says in Mark 8:34 that we need to pick up our crosses daily and follow Him. Our crosses are our addictions, sins. We are supposed to deny ourselves to become more like Him. I have used this scripture during the multiple times I quit, the first few days is hard and I feel like I am shedding some blood in the process. But I saw it even more clear today because I have some choices to make. I have the opportunity to finally have something I have wanted since I was 18. It would be so easy to just take it and justify it by saying “I am entitled to it” or “I deserve it”, but I know it’s not the right time. I am not saying God won’t let me have it in the future but not now. I have to deny myself this pleasure today to be filled more in my relationship with God and obey Him. I know He is right, His timing is perfect and this is going to turn out great either way, but I need to have self control, not make my decision with my feelings, but make them with the Wisdom God has given me.
If we want to gain, we have to give up. Sounds weird but it is so true. To gain true Joy and peace we have to give up the quick fix or gratification that will backfire on us eventually anyway. So no matter what your cross is, no matter what you put before God (money, career, education, drugs,relationships, alcohol etc) you need to see it as that, WHAT YOU ARE PUTTING BEFORE GOD, what you are using to make yourself feel valuable, to feel happy.