The Stomach Lies

What does your gut tell you?

I hear the words and I cringe.  I’m a know-your-facts—ducks-in-a-row kind of guy.  When I ask someone for advice, it is because I respect their expertise.  

I had found the old guitar in the dark corner of a pawn shop in Dallas.  It said Gibson on the head stock.  It said Gibson on the label inside the sound hole.  But, I wanted to be certain that it really was the genuine article before I dropped four hundred dollars, so I phoned a friend.  

An expert.  With expertise.  Wisdom, even.  

I described the instrument to him in detail.  He asked several questions about construction and materials, as well as the labels.  Then he asked that other question.

What does your gut tell you?

I bought the guitar.  My gut said I should.

My gut was wrong.  The guitar was a fake.

I wanted it so badly I could taste it.  As it turned out, I didn’t need to know what my gut told me, I needed some expertise—and wisdom.

It wasn’t the first time in my life my stomach had let me down.

Your eyes are bigger than your stomach.  

The red-headed lady who raised me said the words, laughing a little as she spoke.  I was sitting at the old scarred-up dining table with a Melmac plate before me.  There was a good-sized portion of steak on the plate.

We didn’t really have a limit to how much food we could put on our plate at that table.  As long as there was enough to go around, we were welcome to serve up as large a portion as we wanted.  There was only one stipulation.  Just one.

We had to eat everything on our plate.  Everything.

We’ll move on from this uncomfortable scene without dwelling on it, shall we?

Our appetites are poor experts.  They get us into all kinds of trouble.  All kinds.

Only today, I sat at a traffic light in heavy traffic, thinking about nothing in particular and everything in general, when my eye was captured by a bright flashing beside the road.  It was an advertising sign that operated with light-emitting-diodes; LED‘s, we call them

The writing started out as a brilliant LED in the center of the screen, appearing as nothing more than a dot.  The dot expanded, taking the form of letters in a word.  Rapidly, the expanding words filled the screen completely, before disappearing, only to be replaced by a new one.

It didn’t take long to get the whole message.


Honk!  The driver behind me barely tapped his horn, but it was enough to make me aware that the traffic light had changed and the cars in front of me had moved on.  I was still thinking about the question.

I still am.

What do I want?  

The words, like the sign today, fill my sight.  Isn’t that always the way it is when one is hungry?  You can’t think about anything else, the desire for whatever it is you crave crowding out everything but itself.

soup-260238_640We are a people ruled by our appetites.  It’s not a new thing.  

Isaac gave his blessing to Jacob because his oldest son, Esau was hungry.  Really.  He was hungry, so  he gave up one of the most important rights a man in his culture could have—for a bowl of soup.  (Genesis 25:29-34)

Centuries later, we remain a greedy, gluttonous people, ready to sell our privileges for a paltry bowl of temporary enjoyment.  

We sell our marriages for a few moments of sexual pleasure with other partners, our children’s future for another drink of alcohol, our physical necessities for another turn at the roulette wheel.

We are so driven by our lust for satisfaction that we believe God will give us whatever we want.  Seriously!  (James 4:3)

He won’t.

And yet, He said through the psalmist that if we delight in Him, He will give us the desires of our heart.  (Psalm 37:4)  

He did.  He said that.

Based on this truth, many today teach that He will give us whatever we ask for. Cars, mansions, jewels—all of it to grasp and use in whatever way we choose.  He promised, right?

Desires of my heart!  Whatever I want!

As if we could delight in Him and have the desires of our heart not be molded to fit His will.  As if our worship and obedience of a holy God could result in the sinful lust and self-centeredness being touted by those who teach such lies.

As if.

What do I want?

I want to want what He wants.

What do I want? I want to want what He wants. Click To Tweet

I don’t need a gut-check on this one.

I just need to want Him.

Just Him.




The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach.
(Fanny Fern ~ American columnist ~ 1811-1872)



For, as I have often told you before and now tell you again even with tears, many live as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is set on earthly things. But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ
(Philippians 3:18-20 ~ NIV)




© Paul Phillips. He’s Taken Leave. 2016. All Rights Reserved. 

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