Want a Clove?

We didn’t eat sugar in our house growing up. But we did eat cloves. Okay—we didn’t eat cloves; I did.

It all started when my mom gave them to us in church (instead of  breath mints) to help us stay awake. She recommended that we suck on them, which my sisters did; but I found they were much more effective when chewed.

Years later, in college, I found I was often struggling to stay awake during class and even at work. With a very full schedule, sleep was at a premium. I remembered the value of cloves, and I filled a small container to keep on my person. It really helped—even if some people did make fun of my odd habit. I always offered they could try one, but they usually declined. At least I could stay awake—when I really needed to!

But the ultimate in clove-eating came this week when I ate them…because I was hungry! I was waiting on someone for lunch and experiencing starvation-like pains in the meantime. (Well, maybe not starvation-like, but pretty severe!)

In desperation, I searched my desk drawers for something…anything…to eat, and that is when I saw my old container of cloves. And, yes, I ate them—not just one or two, but probably fifteen or twenty. (Incidentally, I found that cloves have a way of warming your stomach on the inside—quite helpful for short-term hunger control!)

As I ate, I realized that I actually like cloves. I put another three or four in my mouth and wondered how I had come full circle in this strange appetite. And then I remembered my early beginnings of eating cloves in church.

Appetites are developed through repetition. In fact, I could help you like cloves, too!

Okay—so maybe you don’t want to like cloves. But what do you want to like? What is it that you want to develop an appetite for?

Perhaps you wish you loved reading God’s Word? Maybe you bemoan your lack of interest in prayer? Perhaps you would like to look forward to hearing and learning from God’s Word in church? Maybe you wish that you gravitated toward helpful and encouraging friendships rather than friends who pull you down?

Could I suggest that the problem may be one of appetites? Matthew 5:6 promises, “Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.”

The good thing about hungering after the Lord and His Word is that these are much “tastier” to begin with than cloves!

…the judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb. (Psalm 19:9–10)

How sweet are thy words unto my taste! yea, sweeter than honey to my mouth! (Psalm 119:103)

Thy words were found, and I did eat them; and thy word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of mine heart: for I am called by thy name, O LORD God of hosts. (Jeremiah 15:16)

Appetites are developed through repetition. Think through your week, your habits, your repeated activities. What appetites are you developing? What appetites do you want?

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