Commonly we associate "cravings" with eating. To "crave" something is to yearn for it with such inward desire that the desire seems undeniable.

Years ago when I taught in Africa I remember a specific moment when I "craved" something sweet. My desire for something sweet was beyond merely wanting it. It was not, "It would be nice to have something sweet." It screamed, "You must have something sweet!"

We had nothing sweet in our house. At that time in those circumstances, buying something sweet was not an option. Sweets were not available. The fact that sweets were unavailable intensified my "craving."

I walked to a nearby fellow missionary's home and asked, "Do you have anything sweet?" I suspect the thirty-year-old memory lingers in their minds of the day when David had to have something sweet.

Did you ever crave chocolate? a steak? a particular meal? a particular fruit? homemade ice cream? Did you satisfy your craving? What is your most unreasonable act to satisfy a craving for a specific food? What is the most unreasonable price you paid for a food you craved?

"Cravings" are associated with appetites, but those appetites are not always for food. A craving of itself is neither good nor bad. What determines if a craving is good or bad is the focus of the appetite.

The gospel of Matthew records a sermon Jesus gave on a mount (chapters 5-7). He spoke to Jewish people. Common religious interests were seldom based on a personal desire to be close to God. Too many reduced God's will to systematic procedures. In the majority, the personal hunger for righteousness had died.

Jesus began the sermon with the beatitudes, the "blessed are's." A common way to study the beatitudes is to focus on each individually (which should be done). Often that focus is so consuming that we fail to note the overall description of the beatitudes. Collectively they describe Jesus' and God's concept of a righteous person. That picture stood in distinct contrast to the commonly accepted description of a righteous person.

In Jesus' description of a righteous person, he noted that person hungers and thirsts for righteousness. Only the person who "craves" God is promised his or her appetite for righteousness will be satisfied. Today a key problem in and out of the church is this: many people have little or no craving for God.

Can God through Jesus Christ enable us to be righteous? Certainly! He can and will--when our appetite craves righteousness.

David Chadwell

West-Ark Church of Christ, Fort Smith, AR
Bulletin Article, 13 May 2001

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