Years ago, I was sitting in a restaurant with my mother after Church service and we hear two women at the table beside us talking about Jesus and ministering to each other. They were the sweetest lil ladies, who clearly had just gotten out of their own service. They were dressed to the nines in fancy pastel skirt and jacket ensembles accented by hats. Yes, hats! They were loud but didn’t mind that people overheard their conversation.
Because they were talking about my Lord, my ears perked up and before long, we were all chatting about Jesus. Before we left, one of the ladies, bold albeit, but one of the sweet ladies asked me… “sweetheart, what about your health? Do you want to lose weight?” I must admit, that there was a part of me that wanted to punch her sweet face! After all if there’s one thing heavy people know, is that, it’s EVERYONE’S business that your fat! Everyone has an opinion, idea, diet trick, or technique for you. And you MUST hear about it.
I’m not bitter. Haha. No really, my pride immediately felt angered, but I knew the Lord meant for this conversation and He calmed my anger and pride and I was honest with her. “Yes ma’am, I do.” She looks at me with the sweetest smile and says, “then you ask Him.” I look at her searching the deepest recesses of my theology and understanding of God wondering if I ever truly have asked and I’m trying to rationalize the idea of having asked for realsies and with pretty mediocre certainty I say, “I have.” She walks over to me and lays hands on me and says, “Ask again, there’s nothing our God can’t do!” And she began to pray for me! In that restaurant, surrounded by food plates, and loud dinners. Her dainty hands on my shoulders, and her eyes closed, she spoke with firm authority as only a saint who has been sitting at a table sipping tea and sharing intimate stories with the Lord of heaven and earth for decades could.
I don’t remember what the sweet woman prayed or even what happened after that. All I remember is ONE request she made to God on my behalf. The one thing NO ONE had ever prayed for me, the one thing I had never prayed for myself! The one thing I didn’t know to pray! Not even in my years of discipleship with the greatest women on earth had this prayer occurred to me! She prayed a lot over me but the one sentence I remember, and the reason I know she was a God send, was this prayer, “Lord Jesus, heal my sisters appetite.”
Woah!!! What!? Her what!? My what!? YES! Yes, Lord!! Do that! Why hadn’t I prayed for that!?! To this day, I can’t remember her face, or the rest of the conversation. I just remember what He meant for me to remember. I wouldn’t doubt that that day I entertained some angels.
That day occurred about a month before I got sick in 2014. Yes man, the Lord IS sovereign! I have been praying that prayer since then. I’ve always been the kind of person who looks at a situation and bypasses the minutiae and gets to the heart. I still wonder why I never prayed that prayer, when really that’s the heart of it all! The crux of the whole food issue! My appetite.
One of my young brothers in our fellowship recently called me to talk about recovery. As a “12 stepper” (one who has been in 12 step recovery programs) one of the things you learn is that we are all interdependent, in and out of the church. We need each other. So when one person reaches out and calls you, it’s usually because they’re on the edge, facing temptation and in need of some hope you could share. We’ve all made these calls and we are all used to them. In sharing my experience, strength and hope with him I was reminded of the beginning moments that God gripped my heart in the face of addiction.
It was 1 Peter 4 that changed my perspective! See in 12 steps, when dealing with food addiction we had a saying, “I’ll eat that tomorrow.” When craving some trigger food (food that triggers a binge), the thing we would say to ourselves is “oh I can have anything I want, so I’ll have that tomorrow.” Meaning that we were putting off something we really wanted today and comforting our own hearts by saying “I’ll just have that tomorrow.” It’s one of the first things new people [to the 12 steps] have issues with, the idea of “forever” is overwhelming. Thinking “I will never have drugs or alcohol or this particular food ever again,” that’s an overwhelming thought. That’s why the idea of one moment at a time is so important because you learn that you can only handle one moment at a time. Literally. This is a principle that I see in Scripture as well. I see it in Proverbs 30 when the author asked the Lord to give him what he needs for the day, just for the day. I see it in Deuteronomy 29 when Moses writes how the secret things belong to the Lord but the things revealed belong to us. We don’t know what the future holds those are secret things that only the Lord knows. Today, what is revealed is the very moment you are living in. One of my biggest pet peeve’s in our culture is our cell phone obsession. One of my young sisters always says “be here,” whenever she sees people on their phones in her presence. It’s such a good principle for recovery too. Be where your feet are. You can only handle this moment.
All this to say, using the recovery tool of “I’ll have that tomorrow” was super affective, till I read 1 Peter 4.
“Since therefore Christ suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves with the same way of thinking, for whoever has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, so as to live for the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for human passions but for the will of God. For the time that is past suffices for doing what the Gentiles want to do, living in sensuality, passions, drunkenness, orgies, drinking parties, and lawless idolatry. With respect to this they are surprised when you do not join them in the same flood of debauchery, and they malign you; but they will give account to him who is ready to judge the living and the dead. For this is why the gospel was preached even to those who are dead, that though judged in the flesh the way people are, they might live in the spirit the way God does. The end of all things is at hand; therefore be self-controlled and sober-minded for the sake of your prayers.” – 1 Peter 4:1-7
There is nothing new under the sun. To this day, I have tasted every piece of pizza, every chip, every ice cream flavor, every piece of chocolate and then some. Sure there will forever be variations of all of these things, but there really is nothing new under the sun. This applies to beer, vodka, tequila, pot, coke, heroine, love, romance, etc etc. Add any drug you’d like to that list. There is nothing new under the sun. Thus, 1 Peter 4:3, the time that has past SUFFICES for all of this idolatry! We’ve tasted! We’ve seen!! We’ve experienced the death and empty promises of each of these things! Yes, in my opinion, that applies to love addiction too. When love is used contrary to Gods design it most certainly leads to death too.
These things are all rooted in broken appetites. Absolutely our adversary knows our insecurities and weaknesses. Absolutely he knows what our hearts long after most, and he knows what to introduce us to in order to grip us in bondage. If you’ve never listened to Tim Keller’s sermon, “Spiritual Warfare” you must!! It’s life changing. (The link will be in the references section.) in this sermon he teaches very clear principles about who the devil really is. I strongly encourage you listen.
After the fall everything was broken! Everything. So of course that would mean our appetites. Appetite for drugs to fill the void of love, or to escape, to repress, to deny, to deal with boredom, sorrow, envy, to deal with guilt, to run from the past, to deceive ourselves that we’re actually okay, when really, we recognize that we’re broken and it scares us. Yet, the only One who can heal our brokenness is the One who let His body be broken to redeem us.
There is nothing new under the sun. The time that is past suffices for all of this idolatry. Let’s remove these idols from the place of worship and put in their place the only person to ever love us to death (and then some), King Jesus Christ.
I seriously know nothing. This is a fact, but the one thing I know is that a stranger prayed that the Lord would heal my appetite. And since that day, it has been the hardest and rockiest walk, but I believe with all my heart that my Savior, my Yahweh, my Adonai, my Abba, my King, Jesus is at work doing this very thing. It’s hard, messy and a long process. Some days, it’s the hardest and worst process. But other days, like today, I get to share the reason for my hope, Jesus The Christ.
Do you know Him?