One of the things that often gets in the way of our pursuit of Christ is our cravings. This word — which the dictionary defines as a longing or an eager desire — has an interesting origin. The root word in both Latin and Old English means to lay claim to or to demand by right.
In other words, a craving is when something that was originally a want has now become a need in my mind. So I lay claim to it, saying that it’s something that is owed to me.
The Apostle Paul talks about cravings that we all had before we came to know Christ as Savior when he wrote, “All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts” (Ephesians 2:3).
This same Greek word shows up in Christ’s parable of the sower when He talks about the seed that falls among the weeds. These people, He explains, allow the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other things come in and choke the Word (Mark 4:19).
Gratifying my cravings = choking out the life of Christ.
The problem is that this craving or desire for things other than Christ is often an unconscious habit. We have allowed them to become cravings — laying our claim to them as needs — without even realizing it.
The antidote: fasting. When we give up something, the Holy Spirit can show us if that thing has created an I-Have-To-Have-It attitude in our hearts. This spiritual discipline is hard because our bodies will rebel against having to give up “a right.” But when we press through with this discipline of fasting, God describes the results —
Then your light will break forth like the dawn, and your healing will quickly appear; then your righteousness will go before you, and the glory of the LORD will be your rear guard. Then you will call, and the LORD will answer; you will cry for help, and He will say: Here am I. (Isaiah 58:8-9)
That’s how I want to live! So I must live dead to my cravings. I can only do this when I allow a time of fasting to open my heart to hear the Holy Spirit point out all my I-Have-To-Have-It attitudes.