What's Really Going On Here?
Recently, a weight loss company came up with a brilliant advertising
campaign. Maybe you've seen some of their ads. A little orange monster
chases a woman around, tempting and taunting her with foods that
obviously aren't a part of her healthy eating plan. The ads perfectly
capture what it feels like to be harassed by cravings all day long.
While I've never seen this orange monster chasing me, I've felt its
presence. My resolve feels strong until the next time I get hungry. And
unhealthy choices are always so convenient. They are packaged and
preserved and sing of salty and sugary highs tailor made for a hungry
stomach. You don't find fresh fruits and veggies conveniently located in
a nearby vending machine. So, I give in to that bag of chips or a candy
bar because I am so hungry and it will only be for this time. These
empty calories do nothing but taste good in the moment and then set me
up for more unhealthy choices just a short time later.
We crave what we eat. So, the cycle continues day after day. Hunger pang
after hunger pang. Craving after craving. The orange monster is there
reminding me of all the delicious choices that would satisfy in ways
healthy choices never would.
So, while the orange monster is a great way to visualize cravings, the
ads fall short in their promise to really help a woman. The weight loss
company's theory is to teach what foods are more filling and encourage
consumption of those. But does that really help overcome cravings?
For me, it does not. The answer will never be found in only learning to
modify my choices. Choosing better foods is certainly a part of this
journey. However, simply telling me to eat healthier foods that will
help me feel full longer doesn't address the heart of the matter. I can
feel full after a meal and still crave chocolate pie for dessert. Just
feeling full isn't the answer to sticking with a healthy eating plan.
If feeling full were the answer, then gastric bypass surgery should be
100 percent successful. This surgery shrinks the size of a person's
stomach, thus shrinking the amount of food necessary to give them a full
feeling. However, one study showed the failure rate for patients who
were followed for at least ten years was 20.4 percent for morbidly obese
patients and 34.9 percent for super obese patients. Even a significant
number of those whose lives are at stakeand who have drastic
surgery to help themcan't always stop their cravings by simply
So, what's really going on here?
I believe God made us to crave. Now before you think this is some sort
of cruel joke by God, let me assure you that the object of our craving
was never supposed to be food or other things people find themselves
consumed by, such as sex or money or chasing after significance.
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. Now consider this
expression of craving: "How lovely is your dwelling place, O LORD
Almighty! My soul yearns, event faints, for the courts of the LORD; my
heart and my flesh cry out for the living God" (Psalm 84:1-2).
Yes, we were made to cravelong for, want greatly, desire eagerly,
and beg forGod. Only God. But Satan wants to do everything
possible to replace our craving for God with something else. Here's what
the Bible says about this: "Do not love the world or anything in the
world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.
For everything in the worldthe cravings of sinful man, the lust of
his eyes and the boasting of what he has and doescomes not from
the Father but from the world" (1 John 2:15-16). The passage details
three ways Satan tries to lure us away from loving God:
The cravings of the sinful man
The lust of his eyes
The boasting of what he has or does
Let's define these things. According to the commentary in my Life
Application Study Bible (NIV), the cravings of the sinful man are
misplaced physical desiresissues with our food or sex outside of
marriage. In other words trying to get our physical needs met outside
the will of God. The lust of the eyes is being enamored by material
things. The New Living Translation actually equates the lust of the eyes
as "a craving for everything we see." And lastly, the boasting of what
one has or does describes the actions of someone chasing what she thinks
will make her feel significant.
Cravings = trying to get our physical desires met outside the
will of God
Lust of eyes = trying to get our material desires met outside the
will of God
Boasting = trying to get our need for significance met outside
the will of God
Remember in the introduction when we briefly talked about Eve? She was
lured by the serpent into eating the forbidden fruit. As I was studying
this story I realized how intentionally Satan chooses his tactics. He
knows where we are weak. He desires to lure us away from God. And he
knows what works ... the cravings of the sinful man, the lust of his
eyes, and the boasting of what he has or does.
Satan used all three tactics with Eve. "When the woman saw that the
fruit of the tree was good for food [cravings of the sinful man] and
pleasing to the eye [lust of the eyes], and also desirable for gaining
wisdom [boasting of what she has or does], she took some and ate it"
(Genesis 3:6). Eve was tempted in precisely the same three ways the 1
John passage warns us not to be lured away from loving God.
But it doesn't stop there. Look at how Jesus was tempted:
Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the
devil. After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. The
tempter came to him and said, "If you are the Son of God, tell these
stones to become bread."
Jesus answered, "It is written: 'Man does not live on bread alone, but
on every word that comes from the mouth of God.'"
Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the
highest point of the temple. "If you are the Son of God," he said,
"throw yourself down. For it is written: 'He will command his angels
concerning you, and they will lift you up in their hands, so that you
will not strike your foot against a stone.'"
Jesus answered him, "It is also written: 'Do not put the Lord your God
to the test.'"
Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the
kingdoms of the world and their splendor. "All this I will give you," he
said, "if you will bow down and worship me."
Jesus said to him, "Away from me, Satan! For it is written: 'Worship the
Lord your God, and serve him only.'"
Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him. (Matthew
Again, the pattern of temptation is the same:
Cravings: Satan appealed to Jesus' physical cravings for food.
Lust of the eyes: The devil promised Jesus entire kingdoms if He
would bow down to the god of materialism.
Boasting: The enemy enticed Jesus to prove His significance by
forcing God to command angels to save Him.
But here's the significant difference between Eve and Jesus. Eve was
saturated in the object of her desire. Jesus was saturated in God's
I obviously wasn't in the garden with Eve, but based on three phrases
from Genesis 3:6, I can only infer she never took her eyes off the fruit
as she: saw that the food was good, pleasing to the eye, and
desirable. She didn't walk away and give herself time to really
consider her choice. She didn't consult Adam. She didn't consider the
truth of what God had clearly instructed. She didn't talk to God. She
focused only on the object of her obsession.
Remember what I said at the beginning of this chapter ... we crave what
we eat. If I make healthy choices over a period of time, it seems to
reprogram my taste buds. The more veggies and fruit I eat, the more
veggies and fruit I crave. However, if I eat brownies and chips, I crave
brownies and chips in the worst kind of way. Eve craved what she focused
on. We consume what we think about. And what we think about can consume
us if we're not careful.
Jesus sets a beautiful example of breaking this vicious cycle of being
consumed by cravings. It's even more powerful when we understand that
Jesus, unlike Eve, was in a completely deprived state. Eve was in a
garden of paradise with her every need provided for. Jesus had been in a
desert, fasting for forty days. I can't imagine a more deprived state.
And yet, He held strong and set a powerful example of how to escape the
vicious grip of temptation. He quoted God's Word. And so can we. When we
feel deprived and frustrated and consumed with wanting unhealthy
choices, we too can rely on God's Word to help us.
With each temptation, Jesus, without hesitation, quoted Scripture that
refuted Satan's temptation. Truth is powerful. The more saturated we are
with truth, the more powerful we'll be in resisting our temptations. And
the more we'll naturally direct our cravings where they should be
directedto the Author of all truth.
Cravings. Are they a curse or a blessing? The answer to that depends on
what we're craving. And what we're craving will always depend on
whatever we're consuming ... the object of our desire or God and His
In the next chapter we'll talk about how to practically consume God's
truth in a way that truly satisfies. For now, consider what it means to
the success of your journey to quote Scripture in the midst of a craving
attack. One of the most meaningful Scriptures I used in this process is
"'Everything is permissible'but not everything is beneficial" (1
Corinthians 10:23). We'll talk about this Scripture more in a later
chapter, but I quoted it over and over to remind myself that I could
have that brownie or those chips, but they wouldn't benefit me in any
way. That thought empowered me to make a beneficial choice rather than
wallowing in being deprived of an unhealthy choice. For other helpful
Scriptures, check out the section starting on page 195. Make a point to
write out meaningful verses for this journey and quote them aloud each
time the orange monster tries to talk you into tarrying with him a
I know it's a battle, sister. But we aren't rendered powerless. The more
saturated we are with God's truth, the more powerfully resistant we
become. Stick with me herethis isn't a plastic Christian answer.
It's one that will change our lives if we let it.
1. One weight loss company personifies craving as a little orange
monster that chases us around, tempting us to eat unhealthy foods. Take
a moment to reflect on your own experience of craving, recently and over
If you could personify craving based on your experience of it, what form
might it take? Would it be like the little orange monster or would it
take a different shape? Describe what your craving looks like and how it
If you could sit down and have a conversation with this imaginary
craving, what do you think it might say to you? What questions would you
want to ask it? How do you imagine it might respond?
2. How do you respond to the idea that God made us to crave (page
20)? Have you ever pursued a cravinga longing, passion, or
desirethat made a positive contribution to your life? What do you
think distinguishes that kind of craving from the craving that leads you
to eat in unhealthy ways?
3. If it's true that we are made to crave, how might it change
the way you understand your cravings? Do you believe there could be any
benefits to listening to your cravings rather than trying to silence
them? If so, what might those benefits be? If not, why not?
4. The Bible describes three ways Satan tries to lure us away
from loving God: cravings, lust of the eyes, and boasting (1 John
2:15-16). Lysa explains how Satan used these tactics with both Eve and
Jesus (pages 22-23). Using the list below, think back over the last
twenty-four hours or the last few days to see if you recognize how you
may have been tempted in similar ways.
Cravings: meeting physical desires outside the will of God. In
what ways were you tempted by desires for things such as food, alcohol,
drugs, or sex?
Lust of the eyes: meeting material desires outside the will of
God. In what ways were you tempted by desires for material
thingsclothing, financial portfolio, appliances, vacation plans,
cosmetics, home dicor, electronics, etc.?
Boasting: meeting needs for significance outside the will of God.
In what ways were you tempted by desires to prop up your
significanceperhaps by name dropping, exaggerating, feigning
humility or other virtues, doing something just because you knew it
would been observed by others, etc.?
Of the three kinds of temptations, which is the most difficult for you
to resist? Which is the easiest to resist? Why?
5. Jesus quotes the truth of Scripture to defeat temptation (page
22). Have you ever used Scripture in this way? What was the result? How
do you feel about the idea of using this approach to address your
unhealthy eating patterns?
Excerpted from "Made to Crave: Satisfying Your Deepest Desire with God, Not Food" by Lysa TerKeurst. Copyright © 0 by Lysa TerKeurst. Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher. Excerpts are provided solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.