I ate this salad for dinner. I didn't want a salad. I mean, maybe that's what my body knew it needed, but the leftover pizza sounded so much better. But I ate the salad because I had just put a loaf of banana bread into the oven to bake, so I thought I should eat the salad first in order to justify eating quite a lot of the banana bread.
This brought to mind a conversation I had with some friends recently. We were talking about whether or not spending time in activities that aren't necessarily "wrong," but maybe not the wisest use of time, might eventually lead one to venture away from the Lord.
Like maybe if I keep eating this banana bread, I'll never want another salad.
Of course, the problem with this idea is that if I think Christ is salad, and the world is banana bread, then I've already lost that battle. Because we all know I'm only eating the salad out of guilt and duty. There's no real delight there.
And no matter how long I stare at the salad and try to muster up delight, it won't happen.
But here's the great news--Jesus isn't salad!!!
He isn't even banana bread!
He's even better than a magical tub of store-bought cookie dough that, when consumed in its entirety in one sitting, actually makes you super healthy and energetic and youthful (or replace cookie dough with your own craving...but if it's not cookie dough, I'm not sure we can be friends).
Psalm 34:8 says, "Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him!"
I'm convinced that in my own heart when I see the delights of the world as more pleasing than Christ, it's just because I'm not really seeing Him. I'm not truly tasting and seeing!
Theologian Richard Sibbes said, "What the heart liketh best, the mind studieth most." Basically, we follow our tastes--our heart-cravings.
And the beauty of this whole thing is that it's not about making something that doesn't taste good somehow less gross. It's about digging deep and maybe tasting truly for the first time. It's about returning again and again to the Living Water--Jesus, revealed to us in the Bible. When we truly taste and see that He is good, we don't want to taste anything else!
We can taste and see that the Lord is good because "God has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ" (2 Corinthians 4:6). Jesus reveals the Father to us, and the Holy Spirit reveals Jesus to us by awakening us to truly see Him in the Word.
As John Piper wrote in God is the Gospel,
"The work of the Holy Spirit in changing us is not to work directly on our bad habits but to make us admire Jesus Christ so much that sinful habits feel foreign and distasteful."
I love that so much.
So if you're planning a wedding and worried about giving up something you really want (a craving) in order to serve others, taste and see that Christ is better.
If you're doing another load of laundry because the sickness just keeps cycling through your house, taste and see that the Lord is good--He is sufficient to carry you through the weariness.
If you're facing another day of disappointment and longing for unfulfilled dreams, dig deep. Pray that the Holy Spirit might reveal to you just how good He is, and that even the most sanctified longings pale in comparison to what is already ours in Christ.
I have to remind myself to taste and see over and over again, because the lies are everywhere, and I'm quick to believe that something else will satisfy. But I don't really have to convince myself He is better.
I just have to taste. And see.