Tarts for insecurity, Internet for restlessness, cheeses for depression, soap operas for loneliness, tacos with simulated cheese sauce for boredom, chocolate for broken-heartedness, pornography for hopelessness, cream-filled eclairs for emptiness. A suffering soul can escape into its inner appetites, dark warm places sheltered like a mother’s womb.
Forging the power of technology within the ever-burning flames of human desire, the Western world has refined a global industry, highly specialized in feeding man’s carnal appetite. The competition is fierce and, with media tools increasing in power by the day, the race drives ahead into new frontiers. The finish line: "Who can modify your perception of need with the greatest impact?" The prize is emotionally manipulated consumers, tied to offerings of gratification which, all too quickly, turn to an indispensable part of coping with daily life. I need. . . coffee, cigarette, chocolate, beer, TV, Internet, pornography, choose your poison. And even if we don’t say it out loud, our emotions whisper to us all the time, directing often down harmful paths.
Belly god guises itself behind the title, Need, yet Craving, Lust, Addiction, Pleasure, Obsession, Fear, Guilt, Gluttony—these are its real faces. Belly God squirms around diet programs, and is able to change form, becoming anorectic, gorging itself on fear and guilt. A god of extremes.
North America has created a brand new religion. A religion that has become as acceptable as grandma’s apple pie, and we will sacrifice anything for it. Pleasure. Her shrines are found all over the world. Crass neon signs beckoning for worship. There is a growing concern about the increased rise of powerful cults throughout the world, yet we seem oblivious to the cultic power of pleasure, leading its millions into the most obscene forms of obeisance. Twisted, contorted bodies of men, women and children fattened and sickened with years of worship to Belly god.
The Western World has become a culture of pleasure-seekers. People will even sacrifice priceless health for pleasure. The paradox is that when we seek pleasure it loses its value because God never created pleasure to be self-serving. It was created as a blessed byproduct of self-sacrifice.
A human life that is focused solely on self-fulfillment is a monstrosity. Beasts with brains, driven by an instinct to survive. But survival for most of us is getting to our next coffee and Danish and not missing that favorite TV show. We would kill for that coffee and tear the hearts out of our children if they got in the way of our beloved sitcom.
Addiction is an effective way to escape depression, loneliness, melancholy and fear because it allows for momentary pleasure. Pleasure allows the immediate feeling of well-being, whereas hunger can stir up painful, negative emotions.
You have been created with an eternal appetite as vast as God Himself. Man cannot live in a vacuum. If he does not experience God, fulfillment must be found somewhere else. Inside, your soul cries for the living God. A cry that can take the form of addiction, lust and twisted passions which are incapable of filling an eternal hunger. The body is then forced into a position in which it was never created to function. People with pancreases three times their size, arteries and veins clogged, a metabolism that cannot begin to consume the massive intake of fat and sugar-filled foods. Emotions numb with sexual images and a mind that gorges itself on human desire yet never finding fulfillment. Squeezing every ounce of life from it, the body becomes broken, sickly, and even separated physically from a vibrant world filled with the creativeness of God.
Although churches may not be filled with drunks and drug addicts, we have become fashionably gluttonous, a more acceptable form of idolatry. In spite of the growing carnality of the church there is a deep undercurrent of true hungering and thirsting after God that is rising to the surface. They know something is wrong. Everywhere we go we meet them. They feel a loss of control over their living.
Dear friend, we believe you want to be free or you wouldn’t be reading this book. What a glorious word, freedom, many of us have but tasted the pure pleasure of freedom. But it was for freedom’s sake that Christ shed His blood on the cross breaking the power of a fallen world and sinful nature. God invested everything to purchase your freedom. The question is, are you walking in it?
How much of your daily patterns of living are shaped and influenced by the patterns of this world? It’s a hard question because patterns, by their nature, become invisible, the controlling hidden backdrop to vast portions of time.
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