We are a family of sweet tooth’s. Sugary cereals live in my pantry because my husband helps with grocery shopping (so do the kids) and it seems like a reasonable trade off. We have pop in our house on the weekend, and family movie night wouldn’t be complete without popcorn and licorice. The kids’ friends know we are the treat house (sorry parents) because their dad always asks what everyone’s favourite candy is and goes out to procure it in order to kick start any sleepover.
My husband is a “treat” bestower – it must be one of the ways he expresses love, because everyone in his family of origin arrives on a scene with candy in hand. Every time he goes to run an errand, he expectantly asks whether I’d like a treat. Friends, I am a middle aged woman struggling with my cravings and my waist-line, and one who can’t imagine giving up my sweetened coffee because then I’d likely have to give up coffee entirely.
I’m in a bit of a predicament.
Having said this all in fun, as grown ups and parents, we know the value of eating a healthy, well-balance diet. When I provide meals for my family, I am thinking about supplying required nutrients along with pleasant aroma and tastefulness. It is my desire that we would all come together as a family to enjoy the taste of good food and to leave the table with satisfied bellies and palates.
While the majority of us at the table can appreciate and even enjoy a variety of “good-for-you” meals that even include salad or veggies, I have one kiddo in particular who struggles with eating things that don’t appeal to his palate. He would rather walk away dissatisfied, than persevere through the agony of eating something that apparently makes him want to barf. You see my predicament here, a loving mother wanting to provide nourishment for my child, while at the same time running the risk that I am the reason for his gagging and potential barfing episode (my tongue is in my cheek). Why ever would I expect such a thing from him?! Because I do love him I am willing to run the risk for his ultimate benefit (not unaccompanied by threats and cajoling – I only know of one miracle maker and that I am not).
He and I had an interesting conversation about all of this a while back. He told me that his carrots tasted like chemicals to him. I expressed my shock, how would he even know what chemicals tasted like? I asked him about the things he does like to eat (I won’t bore you with the list of processed junk choices put forth) and informed him that he had a taste bud problem because his favourite choices were in fact made of chemicals. I suggested to him that he was in danger of believing that eating the chemicals over the non-chemicals were better for him simply because he preferred the taste.
This is precisely how the enemy works, appealing to our senses, luring us in with immediate but temporary gratification while ultimately malnourishing and silently killing us. The enemy chooses to tempt with candy over carrots for a reason. We have messed up taste-buds and determine that what is bad for us must actually be good and that what is good for us is actually bad.
Another predicament. What’s to be done?
It’s time to retrain our taste-buds.
Aren’t we all in this predicament? Culture tells us that the good things God puts forth for our ultimate good are really bad and that the temporary and counterfeit means of satisfying our appetites and deepest desires are in fact good and worthy of our pursuit. We need to retrain our palates, to retrain our thinking patterns and to find order for our dis-ordered hearts.
How do we begin the process?
In Psalm 37:4, David tells us to take delight in the LORD and he will give us our heart’s desires. This doesn’t mean that like a genie, God will give us what we want when we want it. He would not be a loving Father if He did. Rather, as we look to Him to satisfy our souls, and seek Him as our highest delight, He will place within us through His Holy Spirit, His right and perfectly ordered inclinations. In a sense, our palates become refined to desire His goodness as well as to call it “good”.
Run to Jesus and allow him to fill you with desire and passion for more of himself. Taste his goodness and be satisfied.