Everything that is in the world—the craving for whatever the body feels, the craving for whatever the eyes see and the arrogant pride in one’s possessions—is not of the Father but is of the world.
1 John 2:16
Craving is a strong word, tied closely to the idea of consuming. Consuming has taken on a new meaning for me after reading A Place at the Table by Chris Seay. What we crave, we tend to consume or devour when we are able to get our hands on it.
Craving for whatever the body feels conjures up so many images for me—food, leisure, exercise, and sex to name a few. Pleasure-seeking is huge in our culture, even if we have different ideas of what it is for us. For some, gluttony toward food is how they meet their craving. Alcohol or drugs attract others. Some are obsessed with fitness, while others are addicted to TV or the internet. Still others crave beauty, and may be fixated with the latest fashions or with constant redecorating of their homes.
It is not sinful to enjoy one’s food. In fact, it would be sinful to fail to appreciate what we eat (which, I am afraid, we often do). Both exercise and rest are good. Beauty, music, and pleasant surroundings are all portals to God when one is God-aware and uses them as acts of worship.
And that is the key. When physical gratification is self-directed, it is self-indulgent. When it becomes an act of worship, a way to glorify God, then it is a path to a deeper awareness of the presence of God in the world. Attentive and loving meal preparation, with gratitude for the blessings of abundant and healthy food, is worship. Taking the time to notice beauty, both in nature and in created objects, can call forth praise to God. Exercise can be a recognition that our bodies are “fearfully and wonderfully made.” Rest can be the heeding of the instruction to be still and know that God is God.
Maybe worship is the opposite of craving, or maybe worship could be defined as a craving for God. What is the object of my praise, adoration and desire? What do I crave? In our pleasure-seeking, consumer culture, these questions are important ones to ask.