Thursday, December 15, 2011

When Cravings Collide

I started in ministry when I was only 18 years old. I have served as a children’s minister in a large church, a youth minister in a medium sized church, and as pastor of both small and medium sized congregations. In my 26 years in these various capacities, I have seen many families that were torn apart by internal struggles. Though they loved each other, they just could not overcome their negative feelings toward each other. Some families broke apart and no longer have any connection with each other at all. Other families remain connected, but tension lies just under the surface, ready to erupt at any moment. I have often pondered by people who love each other have so many struggles with each other.

In my devotional reading the other day I was reminded of James 4:1, “What is the source of the struggles and conflicts among you? Don't they come from the cravings that are at war within you?” This verse seeks to answer the question of why we have struggles and conflict with other people in our lives. This verse identifies the root of these conflicts as the cravings that are inside all of us.
What do we crave? We crave acceptance.We crave love. We crave control. We crave power. We crave recognition. We crave security. We crave both connection and independence, which makes us feel conflicted internally. Some of these cravings are normal and may not lead to conflict with others. But some of these cravings will cause conflict because the other people in our lives crave the same things.
While there should always be enough love to go around for all members of the family, it is impossible for everyone in the family to be in control. While every member of the family should be accepted for who they are, not everyone in the family will have equal power or independence. When we forget this important truth and our cravings collide with the cravings of others, the result is always conflict.
What is the solution? For non-Christian families, I am not sure there is a great solution. They will just have to negotiate the situation the best they can and hope it works out. But for Christian families, the solution is to deny ourselves, take up our cross and follow Jesus (Matthew16:24-27). As Christians our goal should not be our own power, our own control or our own agenda. As Christians our goal should be to lift up Jesus in every area of our lives. That can be hard in the midst of a heated discussion with those we love. But it is the only path to lasting happiness and peace. Any other path will lead to constant conflict with those we love.

The next time our cravings begin to collide with the cravings of someone else, we should take a deep breath and ask ourselves what response would glorify the Lord. Then, as hard as it may be, we should choose that response. Though it might not result in the instant gratification that our society has become known for, it will produce long term healthy results. And when it comes to family, we should be looking for better long term results. After all, we will be part of our family for the rest of lives. A future without constant conflict sure sounds better than one with constant conflict.

For more devotionals like this one, consider Touching the Footprints of Jesus


  1. A wonderful point of how every day we can take up our cross and glorify God. Not an easy task by any means yet so vital to our Christian growth. Those we are with shall be blessed that man alone cannot solve the calling of our hearts desires.