It’s slightly ironic that I’m sitting here at Panera, with the heavenly smells of fresh baked bread wafting over me, finally admitting to what God has been convicting me of these past few weeks. After searching my heart for the idols that have been taking God’s rightful place, God showed me a huge idol in my life. It’s food.
If this isn’t your particular item of worship, it might not sound like a big deal to you. But if you, like me, get a lot of comfort from a carb fix or a chocolate bar, you’ll know how this revelation might hit pretty hard.
When I was sitting in church, answering Pastor Mark’s questions about the idols in our life, it became immediately clear that food fit many of the criteria.
- Who/what makes you happiest? Why?
When I started thinking about what I looked forward to the most, it typically equalled something gooey and sweet.
- Who/what makes you saddest? Why?
I’m at my crankiest when I haven’t eaten in awhile or when I’m feeling “deprived.”
- On earth, where do you run for your safety or comfort as your hiding place (e.g. the fridge, alcohol, the television, a person, a place, a hobby)?
Of all the questions, this one really got to the heart of the issue. Food is my number one place for comfort. When I’m feeling down or lonely, I don’t run to God. I run to the cupboard, where my functional god is prepackaged for my immediate satisfaction.
- Who or what do you use to save you from what you fear (e.g. a relationship, children, money, shopping, sex, etc.)?
It’s amazing how a bowl of ice cream drowns out all my worries, at least for awhile.
- Which idols are in your life that when appreciated and/or stewarded correctly are means of worship but have become objects of worship (e.g. work, family, health, friendship, pleasure, leisure, hobby, etc.)?
I know food is a good thing, given by God for our enjoyment and our health and well being. But, when that good thing becomes a god thing, something I worship, it’s a problem. Instead, I can imagine that I could worship God with my use of food, but that’s something I have to learn how to do.
- What idols am I selling to others?
It’s amazing how easy it is for me to praise amazing food to my friends and even strangers. I was blessed to have a friend stop at Panera and join me for lunch, and I can hear myself singing the praises of various items on the menu. When do I talk about Jesus like that, so freely, without shame?
Stay tuned for more on this topic, as I seek God’s help for my sanctification in this area. I’m learning a lot, but it’s a hard process, when one’s primary source of comfort gets challenged.