Indulging in God
Chocolate, shoes, coffee, clothes, purses…..these are some of the most common indulgences among women. Some of us—yes, me too—regard these flavors and fashions as guilty pleasures, looking only briefly for ways to justify partaking of these sacraments. Furthermore, Christendom has found a way to harness the power of these little demons, to use them as a way to draw women into a closer relationship with Jesus. We are probably only weeks away from Purpose Driven Gucci or the Prayer of Godiva. I beg you to pardon my sarcasm. No matter your perspective on this issue, it’s raised an important matter for myself—and hopefully for you as well.
Far from being a guilty pleasure, how can we conceive of God with a desire greater than our desires for the smooth, sharp flavor of dark chocolate or the stylish luxury of a Coach bag? As those things meet some self-perceived need for personal gratification, can we arrive at the point of desiring God with a greater passion than we do those things? My assertion is that getting to God through the fashionable and flavorful sacraments is an over-contextualization. At the risk of sounding legalistic, I suggest that to focus on God through these indulgences is to give more power to the indulgences and less to God.
The Bible engages our minds with food-related metaphor and stories that aid us in how we think about God and what it means to be a Christian. We are told that Jesus is the bread of life, that those who hunger and thirst after righteousness will be satisfied, and Paul compared the nature of his teachings to milk and meat (1 Cor 3:2). Even our remembrance of the redemptive work of Christ is located in the partaking of communion….the sharing of the bread and the cup. But this way of orienting our minds to God can not to be likened to the power of creamy double-shots and trendy department store labels.
How much sway does God hold within each of us, or do we need more than a metaphor to relate to Him? If finding as much joy in our Lord as we do in our favorite shoes or desserts is a challenge, is it God in whom you really want to indulge?
We connect with God through prayer, corporate worship, fellowship, bible study, and in our thoughts as we walk through each day. It is through the study of Scripture that we come to know who he is and what he has done for us. It is what we know of Him, what he has done on our behalf that causes us to love him. He created us, he died for us. Does this knowledge—this relationship with God—function as your ultimate indulgence? Do you crave more of God as you continue to know him?
As we look at examples in Scripture, we see women who indulged in God. I think Eve indulged in the idea of God, but missed the boat. Ruth indulged in God as she desired to know the God of Naomi. Esther indulged in God as she sacrificed herself for her people. Two excellent examples of women in the New Testament are Pricilla and Mary. Pricilla indulged in God as she demonstrated an ability to know doctrine and correct others in their understanding of it. Mary of Bethany indulged in Jesus at his feet, first in the role of student and then in an act worship, anointing his feet with oil with the locks of her hair.