“Their god is their stomach.” – Philippians 3:19
I really, really like peanut butter. However, my body does not. When I eat peanut butter, I feel lethargic and can’t think clearly. My stomach is bloated, and I suffer from abdominal discomfort. It makes me miserable for days.
Just the other night, I had an intense craving for one of my favorite treats, peanut butter and banana. Normally, I would have substituted almond butter or sunflower seed butter and been fine. However, we were out of both. What I should have done is had something else to eat, or simply prayed for strength to resist the temptation. But I did neither. Instead, I walked over to the fridge as if in a trance, opened the jar of all-natural peanut butter, and feasted.
Why do I continue to eat peanut butter, knowing how terrible it will make me feel? Because it tastes good, and I want it.
For me, indulging in this food is wrong. However, it’s not about as much about what I’m putting in my mouth, but rather what is in my heart. Just like the Israelites complained about God’s provision of manna when they longed for the meat in Egypt, my decision to partake is like saying to the Lord, “I don’t care that you’ve given me all these other foods to enjoy. I want peanut butter, and I’m not happy that you’ve taken it away from me. I’m going to eat it! So, there!”
When confronted with any temptation, whether it’s to have peanut butter or tell a lie or commit adultery, we’re usually aware of the fact that it’s going to hurt if we give in. We realize there will be difficult and sometimes devastating consequences. Yet, when we weigh the momentary pleasure versus the pain that will inevitably follow, we decide that it’s worth it. We jump headfirst into the sin, saying “Yes!” to our flesh and “No!” to our God.
This is rebellion at its worst. Anytime we choose something over God, we are stepping into the realm of idolatry, which is a dangerous place to be.
God says that we will show our love for Him by obeying His commands (John 14:15). No act of rebellion is minor or insignificant. For just as one bite of peanut butter can cause all kinds of physical problems for a person, so can one taste of sin set off a chain of events that will destroy you. Refuse to give in to the desires of your flesh. Your god is not your stomach. Your God is the Lord. Choose to follow Him.