“If anyone teaches a different doctrine and does not agree with the sound words of our Lord Jesus Christ and the teaching that accords with godliness, he is puffed up with conceit and understands nothing. He has an unhealthy craving for controversy and for quarrels about words, which produce envy, dissension, slander, evil suspicions, and constant friction among people who are depraved in mind and deprived of the truth, imagining that godliness is a means of gain. But godliness with contentment is great gain, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content. But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs.
“But as for you, O man of God, flee these things. Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, gentleness. Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called and about which you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses…
“As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy. They are to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, thus storing up treasure for themselves as a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is truly life.” 1 Timothy 6:3-12,17-19
Cravings come in many shapes, sizes, and proclivities. Paul had known well the fleshly satisfaction of impeccable credentials, a good argument, winning for his cause, and the heft of throwing around his authoritative weight. But God interrupted his life bent, and every craving that was stoked by conceit, competition, or a hunger to be recognized was transformed. His energy and passion did not wane, but were supernaturally redirected. All that was once driven by self was now enveloped in an insatiable craving for his God, and for proclaiming and living out His gospel. (Acts 8:3; Philippians 3:3-8; 1 Timothy 1:12-14)
Using falsehood to support our position, fomenting controversies, friction, and dissension, and indulging empty, harmful desires are signs of disordered affections. It’s vital we recognize our unhealthy cravings and name their root: pride, shame, self-will, the pleasurable embrace of false teaching. The God who convicts is able to correct us from the inside out, to curb fleshly appetites by reordering our physical, social, and spiritual propensities.
Fleeing such cravings that distance us from God brings us into a wide place where faith can grow and contentment can flourish. Eschewing jealousy and argument to pursue righteousness and godliness reorients our joys, and we learn to take delight in our heavenly hope and our unseen Savior.
Where have we wandered away from our first love of Jesus? Would we deliberately avoid those places, in conversation or recreation, that stoke anger, friction, or untoward cravings, and pursue a more constructive, eternally meaningful path? (Revelation 2:4-5)
Lord, help me let loose of everything that corrupts, and run steadfastly after You. Correct my cravings toward godliness, eternal treasure, contentment in You, and all that is truly life.