What does it mean to “crave” something?

When we are talking about the topic of likes, wants, needs, and desires — craving is at the extreme end of the spectrum.

When speaking of “craving” something and I look over my own life — I can see times when I “craved” a lot of things that weren’t necessarily good or healthy for me, but that I was drawn to them so powerfully that I might accept unnecessary risks in order to enjoy those things that I was craving. Cravings for things like sex, food, partying — even professional and social recognition — have at times had me chasing cheap, short term comforts and satisfactions at the risk of more costly long term consequences.

I don’t say this to self denigrate or deprecate — but so that we might consider and agree to the “intensity” that is understood in the word “crave”. And I believe that even a small child watching Sesame Street can appreciate this shared experience of what it means to “crave” something, as they watch Cookie Monster saying, “Me want cookie! Me eat cookie!” and lose control of himself attacking the cookies with a voracious “Nom, nom, nom.”

Now you might believe that from what I’ve written so far, that I’m going to tell you about the “dangers of excess” and that “craving” is bad — as if the key to self improvement is to learn to cage your inner cookie monster and become a good (miserable on the inside, but smiling on the outside) vegan instead. But no, there is a lot of impetus and power and motion that “craving” can bring to our lives. We aren’t just looking for a blandly extended lifeline in this discussion — or encouraging a life built around “no, no, no”, “don’t do that”, “don’t eat that”, etc.

What if we could crave things that were good and healthy and best for our lives instead of craving those other things?

Madness, you say? How can one change his basest and oldest desires and cravings, and trade them in, like an old book at the library, for another?

Haven’t we felt like those innermost desires, needs, “cravings” almost defined “who we really are”, even if we’ve been self controlled enough to “hide them from the world around us” — don’t we know ourselves and who we would be “unchecked, wild, running free”?

—–

At this point, I have to share something ultimately important with you. That yes, those deep down cravings are part of what defines “you” — whether you have those current cravings as a result of your nature, your nurture, or consequences of your own decisions, you only have two options for addressing those cravings. Either you alone have to attempt to control them, or you need help from something outside yourself. And self-control of lower intensity items that are likes, wants, even needs is not quite the same as trying to put out the roaring fire of something that truly is a “craving”.

For me, there were “cravings” that went beyond mere self help books and beyond simply rationally arguing between an angel on one shoulder and devil on the other. Have you ever truly experienced the power and intensity of an unhealthy craving? It seems to have a life and power and influence of its own, beyond your own policing powers, and smarter and more wily than your best prison warden efforts can keep caged.

For me, it would have been nice for many of my unhealthy likes, wants, and desires to be changed to something healthy — but my unhealthy “cravings”, it seems that they HAD TO BE, or it seems that I might have eventually destroyed myself through risks and consequences far too costly to bear.

Luckily for me, I met this man who told me that I could be “born again”, that I could become a “new creation”, that I could be given “a new heart” with”new desires” and in a leap of faith, I said “Yes, I would rather have that. Take that old me, and give me something that looks more like you, Jesus.”

This has to be shared, because without that newness of life being explained and offered to you as well, how could I share this next information without it seeming like I’m telling you to police, cage, and hide the real you to just hypocritically act on the outside as if your “cravings” aware healthy instead of unhealthy?

If you know my Jesus, if you have truly given up on who you were to wholeheartedly abandon the old to see the new revealed in you — please continue reading in the midst of that understanding, that call, to be like little children at His feet.

Like newborn babies, you must crave pure spiritual milk so that you will grow into a full experience of salvation. Cry out for this nourishment, now that you have had a taste of the Lord’s kindness.
1 Peter 2:2‭-‬3 NLT

Life Application Study Bible
One characteristic all children share is that they want to grow up-to be like big brother or like sister or like their parents. When we are born again, we become spiritual newborn babies. If we are healthy, we will yearn to grow. How sad it is that some people never grow up. The need for milk is a natural instinct for a baby, and it signals the desire for nourishment that will lead to growth. Once we see our need for God’s Word and begin to find nourishment in Christ, our spiritual appetite will increase, and we will start to mature. How strong is your desire for God’s Word?