Why are the unhealthy foods the ones we desire most? We know any thing with partially dehydrogenated oil is horrible, but this doesn’t eradicate our urge. To make us feel better we call donuts, fried chicken, french fries, and mocha frappuccinos comfort foods. But the comfort is short lived. As my dad used to say, “Ten years on the lips is ten years on the hips.”
Recently, I’ve battled with heart burn. At the top of the “heartburn producing foods” list is my beloved coffee. While the benefits of coffee are many, its highly acidic.
Several weeks into it I’m beginning to realize I’ll have to make some lifestyle changes. Coffee has been my number one go to beverage since college. Here’s what’s happened for me. While taking over the counter medications for heartburn, I’ve not fully let go of my caffeine addiction. So, I’m paying for medication so I can continue to drink a beverage that’s causing me problems.
Wouldn’t it be amazing if our appetites could have a rebirth? What if we could go back to when mushed up veggies and fruits brought a smile to our faces?
Let’s take this analogy from the physical to the spiritual. As we have physical appetites we have spiritual ones. On our own, we have a natural hunger for harmful things, things that distance us from God and damage our most important relationships. We’re selfish, proud, impatient, angry, jealous, insecure, and afraid. We want to be better. We set resolutions and goals. But as hard as we try we can’t find the strength to stay the course and turn things around. As the saying goes, you can wash a pig, dress him in a tux, and even brush his teeth. But inside he’s still a pig.
Here’s the amazing news. Your spiritual appetites can have a new beginning, a rebirth. The Bible calls this experience being born again. The theological term is regeneration. While the old self never fully goes away, new desires begin to grow and blossom. Inside you begin to hunger for the things of God. There’s a new appetite to feed on his word and spend time in prayer. You enjoy coming together with the people of God for worship and mutual encouragement. The more these new desires are fed the stronger they become.
Back to the donuts, coffee, and fried chicken. It’s up to us to buckle down and chuck the foods causing problems. But on the spiritual side, the rebirth experience is nothing we work for or make resolutions to obtain. All of it is a gift of grace, made possible through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. When we place our faith in Christ alone, he comes and lives in us, giving us the power to do what we could never do on our own.
Ephesians 2:3-5 says, “All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.”
Read these words to the old hymn I Hear the Savior Say, and make it your prayer.
I hear the Savior say,
“They strength indeed is small,
Child of weakness, watch and pray,
Find in Me thine all in all.”
Lord now indeed I find
Thy power, and Thine alone,
Can change the leper’s spots,
And melt the heart of stone.
Jesus paid it all,
All to Him I owe,
Sin had left a crimson stain,
He washed it white as now.