Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God. – Matthew 4:4
I want to talk about some of my favorite scriptures – you know the types I mean – the ones you cling to when the you-know-what hits the fan and your life feels like it’s spiraling out of control. But I’m not going to today, actually. Today, I am going to talk to you about scriptures that make your stomach clench when you read them. The ones where you think “Is He talking to me?” with a feeling of dread because you know you have been doing your own thing and the hammer is about to fall.
And of course, God could pound me to a pulp, but He doesn’t. Thankfully. Or perhaps un-thankfully? Because sometimes I feel like maybe I would rather be pounded than have to be a grown up and make my own decisions. He allows us free will after all – freedom to turn to Him or freedom to keep wallowing in the muck of our own poor decisions.
Today’s scripture is one I read last night in the book of Matthew. It was part of my 3×5 reading, a program I am participating in thru our church in order to read the entire bible in a year. It’s Jesus’ response to the devil who was tempting Him to conjure up some food during his fast in the wilderness. I can’t even make it thru a Dairy Queen commercial on a full stomach so I can’t imagine being in Jesus’ sandals. Jesus responds with “Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God”. Ugh! Gut jab! I quickly kept reading, but that nagging niggle of scripture kept me from being able to concentrate on the rest.
I love food, you see. Ice cream, cake, chips, fries, hamburgers, steak, tacos, peanuts, popcorn, grapes, chocolate, hot fudge, mashed potatoes and gravy, breakfast food, dinner food, snack food, wedding food. I. Love. Food. And sometimes, Lord knows (truly), I love food more than spending time with God. More than spending time with my family. I would rather curl up with my jar of peanuts and a good book and turn off the rest of the world. I would choose this hands down over ANYTHING else, almost all of the time, if I thought I could get away with it. God knows. Oh, He knows.
It’s a form of idolatry, and it’s a type of addiction, and this I know. And yet, I find myself slipping into it time and time again. Remember Paul, talking about the thorn in his side? The one thing he had to fight all the time? This is my thorn. I have fought it my entire life. Okay, possible exaggeration, but a good part of my life. At least from the time I was pre-teen.
So every now and then, God gives me a “gut” check…pun intended. When food begins to infiltrate my lifestyle and undermine my goals (not to mention HIS goals), it’s time to take a look and make some tough decisions…again. He reminds me that if I spent as much time and energy focusing on Him that I spend focusing on food, our relationship would be bordering on the fantastic. Which is, of course, a mutual goal between God and I – to have a closer relationship. Kinda hard to do with an ice cream sundae the size of the Empire State Building between us.
Not by the pure force of my own will can this thorn be removed either. I can’t do it alone, nor on my own, nor under my own strength. I need God. As Paul says, “…for when I am weak, then I am strong.”, in reference to God being glorified thru Paul’s weakness. I only hope I can glorify God in mine as well. I’ll keep you posted on the progress.
Do you have a ‘thorn’ in your life, that pulls your focus off of God or your goals? How do you handle it?