True story: There are a handful of women who, when they’re pregnant, crave dirt.

You’ve probably heard jokes about the foods pregnant women crave: pickles, ice cream, peanut butter and banana sandwiches.  But dirt?

There’s a disorder, called “pica,” that people can get when their bodies lack vital minerals like iron.  They need them so badly that things like sand and soil start to look yummy.

But pregnant women aren’t the only people who crave.  A philosopher, Blaise Pascal, observed, “There is a God-shaped vacuum in the heart of every man which cannot be filled by any created thing, but only by God, the Creator, made known through Jesus.”

Every single person you’ll ever meet has one common craving.  Whether they know it or not, they crave God.

It may not seem obvious. If people crave God, why are churches not stuffed with people? Why are Bibles not flying off the shelves like the latest novel?

Well, God created us with lots of desires to point us to Him, like hunger and thirst (He calls Himself the “Bread of Life” and “Living Water”).  But even if we filled every other desire in our lives—the desire for friends, for family, the desire to feel liked and accepted, and every other desire—we would still find ourselves completely unsatisfied.  Pascal had it right.  We were made with a big, God-shaped vacuum inside of us that keeps pulling things in to try to fill it, like someone with pica eyeing a pile of dirt.  If you don’t start with God, nothing satisfies.  He is what we need first and most.  He made us that way.
God says in Isaiah 55:

Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread, and your labor for that which does not satisfy? Listen diligently to me, and eat what is good, and delight yourselves in rich food. Incline your ear, and come to me; hear, that your soul may live. (verses 2-3a)

When it comes to purity, this is important to understand.  One of the reasons we’re tempted toward impurity goes back to our not getting satisfied by God.  Cravings push us into risking the great things God has for our future by compromising our purity now.  We’d rather eat dirt than wait for the incredible meal God has for us in marriage.  We don’t really believe that He wants what’s best—or that He’ll sustain us while we wait for it.

Most times our cravings look like selfishness.  We want what we want more than we love other people.  Rather than caring for people, we might want to satisfy our desire to feel good or to relieve our fear of being alone.

When you’re longing to be liked or loved, crossing the line of purity or giving in to peer pressure becomes a lot more tempting.  You start to think your aching hunger could be filled, even just a little.  You aren’t trusting what God says—about how loved you are, how perfectly accepted you are apart from anything you do (because of Jesus), how completely known you are—so you look to have your “craving” met outside of God-honoring relationships.

What do you crave?

Satisfaction in God takes time.  You can’t just go down to the Spiritual Gas Station and get your God-tank filled.  But being with Him, getting to truly know Him, and most of all, believing what He says, can be some of the best purity protection.

“Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.  Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.” (Philippians 2:3-4)

Excerpted from the Passport2Purity Travel Journal devotional, ©2012 Dennis and Barbara Rainey. Used by permission of FamilyLife. All rights reserved.