Fads come and fads go, and that is especially true of diets. Remember the Atkins’s diet? The general idea was that you could lose weight and feel better by just eating a lot of protein. Eat all the steak and bacon you want! Who wouldn’t be attracted to that? It was created back in the 1970s, but today we also have the South Beach diet, the Mediterranean diet, the Paleo diet, and the Macrobiotic diet, just to name a few.
Lately, I’ve been trying to follow an intermittent fasting diet. The goal is to not eat for at least 16 hours straight out of every 24 hours, and then avoid simple carbohydrates when I do eat. Not only have I dropped a few pounds, but I have also noticed some other advantages, too.
For example, when I do get to eat, I’m so hungry that healthy foods actually taste better than they used to.
That got me to thinking about our relationship with our Maker. Let me explain.
We do not “… hunger and thirst for righteousness….” (Matthew 5:6) when we are snacking on what the world around us is serving up. Solomon put it this way, “A person who is full refuses honey, but even bitter food tastes sweet to the hungry” (Proverbs 27:7). The point is that when our lives are full of our own empty desires that we all tend to follow, we don’t have a longing for God. The Bible calls our selfish desires sin, and we will never see the need to repent of our sins if we are hoping that those sins will somehow satisfy our cravings.
We are craving the wrong things! We can only have an appetite for knowing God after we admit that we have been filling ourselves with the empty, worthless sin of this world. “Therefore, repent and return, so that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord” (Acts 3:19).
Just like we all tend to crave sugar and junk food more than we want healthy, raw, fresh vegetables, neither are we born with a natural appetite for God. “…There is none who does good, there is not even one” (Romans 3:12). We enthrone ourselves as kings and queens of our own lives and go after what we want, instead of seeking what God wants.
Intermittent fasting has also shown me that the foods my body naturally desires and what is best for my body isn’t necessarily the same thing.
The truth is that God’s way is always better than our way. God promised that those who “… seek Me day by day and delight to know My ways… [will] delight in the nearness of God” (Isaiah 58:2).
When we love God, then we love what He has to say. “How sweet are Your words to my taste! Yes, sweeter than honey to my mouth!” (Psalm 119:103).
Why is there so much happiness (blessing) when we give our hearts to the Lord? It’s because when we surrender ourselves to God, He implants a desire in us to do what He originally created us to do. You see, you and I were made to love and follow God. “Everyone who is called by My name, and whom I have created for My glory….” (Isaiah 43:7).
Jesus has pointed us to our greatest joy, which springs from His joy! “These things I have spoken to you so that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full” (John 15:11). Even from a Roman dungeon, Paul tells us that it’s possible to “Rejoice in the Lord always…” (Philippians 4:4). That is the joy God wants all of us to have by delighting in a loving relationship with Him.
Just as our bodies were primarily made to consume natural foods, rather than candy bars and junk food, so our souls are meant to feast on the glory of the One who made us. By following the enticements of sinful pleasures, though, we are missing out on a pleasure that is much, much greater. “O taste and see that the Lord is good; how blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him!” (Psalm 34:8).