Many pregnant women crave unusual food combinations such as pickles and ice cream. But many also suffer from pica, the desire to eat nonfood substances like ice, chalk, clay, or laundry powder. One Russian woman ate a box of chalk from the local elementary school every day; some 50 percent of Kenyan women eat clay; and many pregnant American women report overwhelming cravings for ice. Experts think pica likely stems from nutrient or mineral deficiencies like anemia.
Just as pica during pregnancy can reveal underlying health problems, so too our spiritual cravings reveal whether we are healthy spiritually. Are we “gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts” (v. 3)? Or are we living in a way that reflects the life we have in Christ?
Notice the description of people before conversion: dead, enslaved to the ways of the world, disobedient to God, and deserving of God’s wrath (vv. 1–3). And then notice how it is possible that we move from death to life: “Because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions” (vv. 4–5). God’s love, mercy, grace, and kindness have done this for us!
We could not make ourselves alive. It is the gift of God (v. 8). This life in Christ changes our cravings from worldly desires to “good works” that bring glory to God (v. 10). Instead of desiring sin, we desire sanctification. Instead of pursuing disobedience, we pursue holiness. Instead of embracing death, we celebrate eternal life. Instead of pleasing ourselves, we want to extend God’s love, mercy, and kindness to others. God has made us alive in Christ, and that life permeates all the way down to the desires of our hearts.
Apply the Word
Following God is not joylessly obeying a set of rules. Our desire for holiness follows from the work He has already done in our hearts, and He gives us new life because He is loving, kind, gracious, and merciful. If your joy for Jesus has waned, ask Him to “restore the joy of your salvation” (Ps. 51:12) and renew your focus on His goodness in your life.