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In Romans 3:23 we read, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” What does it mean to “fall short” of God’s standard? John Piper describes it this way: “It means that none of us has trusted and treasured God the way we should. We have not been satisfied with His greatness and walked in His ways. We have sought our satisfaction in other things, and treated them as more valuable than God.”
A couple of chapters earlier in Romans, Paul tells us about an exchange that people make. They exchange a relationship with the eternal God for things which they can grab immediately. Sadly, these immediate things are only temporal things that fall short of God’s awesome glory and leave us perpetually unsatisfied (Romans 1:21-25).
We were created by God to crave. Craving is what gives us staying power and brings fulfillment. Think of it this way: Would you rather…
- …go to a job that is mundane, boring, and only focused on making money OR go to a job that is fascinating, using our talents, and trying to make a difference in the world?
- …eat food that tastes like cardboard OR eat savory food?
- …serve a god that is temporary, fickle, and unreliable OR serve a God that is eternal, faithful, strong, and loving?
Or think of it another way: Which of those jobs would you want to go to? Which job would call out your best effort? Which food would you want to eat? Which food would make you want to praise the chef? And which God would you want to spend eternity with? Which God would want to invite others to worship?
God gives us cravings that can only be satisfied in Him. The devil perverts these cravings to get us to go for quick, easy, self-made pleasures. Just think about how he tempted Adam and Eve (Genesis 3:1-6).
Both the Old Testament and New Testament tell us of the joys of eternal cravings being satisfied and the consequences of giving in to temporal cravings. For example:
- God gives a craving for future meat, but satisfies us with manna while we wait. The devil temps us to have our meat now (Deuteronomy 12:20; Psalm 106:12-14; Numbers 11:34).
- God gives a craving for satisfying relationships. The devil tempts us to indulge our passions now by grabbing the most alluring relationship (Proverbs 5:18-19; Deuteronomy 5:21; Romans 1:24, 26).
- God gives a craving for success and significance in His timeframe. The devil tempts us to get ahead now (1 Kings 11:37-38; Genesis 3:6).
(Check out all of these passages by clicking here.)
It’s a terrible exchange when we give up the glorious eternal for the fading temporal! Romans 1 describes the results as sinful, degrading, shameful, unnatural. That’s because the things of earth are temporary; only God is eternal.
For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh—craving for sensual gratification—and the lust of the eyes—greedy longings of the mind—and the pride of life—assurance in one’s own resources or in the stability of earthly things—these do not come from the Father but are from the world itself. And the world passes away and disappears, and with it the forbidden cravings (the passionate desires, the lust) of it; but he who does the will of God and carries out His purposes in his life abides (remains) forever. (1 John 2:16-17 AMP)
We have to trust the One who gave us His unshakable promises—Be delighted with the Lord. Then He will give you all your heart’s desires (Psalm 37:4 TLB). Be delighted with Him and He will—not “may” or “hopefully He will” but He will—give you ALL your heart’s desires!
There is an ultimate reward in Heaven but there are incredibly satisfying rewards along the journey to Heaven as well. Rewards like happiness, security, insight, and divine counsel from the Holy Spirit (2 Timothy 4:8; Psalm 119:2, 10, 16, 18, 24).
If we will resist the temptation to satisfy our cravings by exchanging the eternal for the temporal, we will be rewarded with divine satisfaction here and rewards beyond imaging forever in God’s presence!
If you’ve missed any of the message in our series called Craving, you can find all of them by clicking here.
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