I’m wondering right now if Little Shop of Horrors isn’t some kind of biblical metaphor. (Classic flick. Brief synopsis: plant named Audrey II likes to eat blood. At first he’s satisfied with just a drop of blood, but as he grows, so does his appetite.)
So, this month I have been mentally fasting from some stuff in an attempt to starve some of my sin through the Spirit. It’s day 4 of consciously trying not to feed it in any way, even in the harmless details that aren’t ‘sin’ in and of themselves. (failed like 80 billion times already).
And I realized last night that I’ve been mistaken. I think I somehow thought I was dealing with little new born Audrey II plant – who was weak and frail and could be starved just for a moment and die. Instead, I’m dealing with big fat Audrey II. I’ve been feeding this sin for so long in the tiny details of the day, in the intimate corners of my mind and heart – in the thoughts and feelings I can justify and explain away. And even though I don’t feel like I’ve been giving the sin too much substantial food, it’s grown big and fat and healthy on the scraps of my soul.
In each moment that we yield to lust, uncertainty, anxiety, dreams of power or comfort, coveting a husband or a child, jealousy, bitterness we feed the Audrey II deep inside of us. And the problem is that when we stop feeding our Audrey II, it doesn’t just die over night – it’s too strong. It takes time. And if we are to starve the sin to death we must be willing to be hungry ourselves. We would have to let our hunger happen without trying to stuff something in to make it go away. But when we become hungry we panic and feed our sin because we just don’t believe that there is true bread that will sustain us that is on its way. When our sin growls, we feed it because we don’t trust God to provide for us.
I’m loving Psalm 107 this morning. Cause it involves a bunch of hungry people running around calling on the name of the Lord and then a nice fat promise that ‘he satisfies the longing soul, and the hungry soul he fills with good things’.
Sounds wonderful. The only catch of course, is that I before I can learn to be satisfied by Him, I must learn to be hungry for Him. That’s hard to do when I’m used to feeding my desires in the moment they present themselves. I’m not even sure I know how to let my appetite arise without trying to fill it with something.
God seems to be in the business of cultivating hunger in us so that He can satisfy us. And sin seems to be in the business of throwing out opportunities to satisfy that hunger momentarily with the things of the world; it’s a bait and switch because the things of the world don’t really ever satisfy (hence the greater and deeper hunger that my sin has in common with Audrey II).
Hmm. God wants us hungry so that He alone can satisfy us. Satan wants to offer us a short cut to ‘satisfaction’. This reminds me of a story I read somewhere about a guy in a desert who was really hungry and got offered some food by some weird guy…(Jesus and Satan for those of you who aren’t picking up what I’m putting down)
So, if I want to starve my sin I’m going to have to learn to endure and cultivate a new hunger; a hunger for God. And the only way that can happen is if I really believe Him. The only way I can pass up a snack is if I truly believe that I have a great lunch at Fogo* planned. No matter how hungry I get, I must believe that only God can satisfy me and I must wait on the bread of life.
Oh goodness. It’s such a hopeless exercise. Apart from Jesus. Once again – He is my only hope.
Make me hungry today. Sustain me on promises of the bread of life that will finally satisfy all my longings. I don’t want less food, I want to wait for better food.
*Sorry for all the cultural references this AM. Fogo is like…a shadow of a heavenly reality. with lots of meat.