Last Wednesday, I shared that 20+ years of binge eating caused kidney disease. Some Christians would blame the devil for that, but long before “Truth or Consequences” became a radio and television game show, it appeared in the Bible:
Ron Carpenter drew my attention to the latter passage after church yesterday when I flopped in front of my TV with a bag of Heavenly Light Popcorn and a bottle of Tabasco. I’d picked up the popcorn at CVS and walked home proud of myself for buying something that wouldn’t further damage my kidneys, but I was supposed to be fasting (i.e., starving). Knowing I was about to get a lecture, I grabbed my remote and hit “record” so I could share what was said with anyone else struggling with eating disorders and addictions.
Honing in on verse 5, Carpenter said the following.
“[God] said, ‘Now, so that you don’t continue in [sin], I am charging you with removing the things, the places, the activities, the people, and the environment … that energizes them.’ … Because every craving [or] passion that you’ve ever dealt with has something or someone that inspires it. … Now, he starts by saying, ‘Put your mind in a different place.’ Why? Because my desires follow my thoughts.
“[F]or those of you who have a hard time with faith, and you need science, data, and clinical evidence, it is clinically proven … that you have 30 seconds to deal with a thought. After 30 seconds, that thought will be accompanied by a feeling. Now you’re no longer wrestling with the thought … you’re wrestling with the thought and the feeling, and the feeling is a thousand times more powerful than the thought. So now you’re wrestling the thought and the taste it’s put in your mouth. … So he says you’ve got to move your mind and he says put it to death. He said don’t feed — don’t energize that stuff — once I’ve saved you — that’s trying to pull you back into that craziness. …
“These are the kind of scriptures we don’t like because we don’t want to serve a mean God,” Carpenter said. But Colossians 3:5 clearly states, regardless of translation:
“Evil desires, evil lust, evil cravings. The word lust gets a bad rap because, in American culture, we equate it to sex,” Carpenter said. “[But] lust is just a craving. You can lust for In-N-Out Burger. … Lust has to do with having a passion. And look what he says. He said, ‘Because of these passions, the wrath of God is being poured out.’
“Those are scriptures we don’t read no more because we don’t want to serve a God with wrath. We don’t like that kind of God. [But] notice what he said. He didn’t say, ‘I’m gonna get you.’ He said, ‘Because of the thing in you that you won’t kill.’ You’re sabotaging yourself. There’s some of you [who] don’t need a devil. You have a self-destruct button, and you hit it about the time you take one step forward, and it knocks you two steps back. In fact, you’re so good at it [that] the devil sits in a recliner and says, ‘Watch this. This is a pro right here.’ … Let me tell you something. … I could destroy my life by supper. I don’t need no devil.
“The wrath of God — if I took you to Romans chapter 1 — three times — three times, God tells his people how to walk in blessing, and they ignore him. And three times it says, ‘And God gave them over.’ ‘And God gave them over.’ And God tried, and they won’t listen. … You know what the wrath of God is? The wrath of God is God turning you over to yourself. The wrath of God is saying, ‘Well, hey. I tried. You will not listen. I’ve told you he’s trouble. You will not get away from him. You’ll have to find out yourself.’
“He blamed the wrath of God on the stuff inside of them that they wouldn’t put to death. [He’s] not a fire-breathing-dragon God. … Your God’s good. But he knows there’s something in you that wants to take you down. And he’s saying it’s energized by your thought life. And he says if you’ll control what you’re thinking, that by itself will take care of what you’re feeling.”