Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Living Bread

Hunger…we all experience that to a greater or lesser degree daily. God has designed our bodies such that we need to eat multiple times a day, and feeling hungry is usually the signal that it is time to refuel our bodies again.

Physical hunger is just a picture of our spiritual need. For our walk in this life we need spiritual food to give us the spiritual strength we need daily. We do not tend to think of food as an optional part of our life, and if we do for too long, our bodies will surely let us know about it. In the same way, spiritual food is not optional. Part of our problem is that we do not always recognize what spiritual hunger looks or feels like, so we may overlook our need. Most of us have learned in the physical realm to eat regularly scheduled meals, whether we always feel hungry or not, because we know our bodies need the nourishment to keep functioning optimally.

In the same way we need to have spiritual supply daily. In John 6 Jesus presents Himself as food – “I am the bread of Life”. In v. 57 He says that just as He lives because of the Father who sent Him, “so he who feeds on Me will live because of Me.” That’s a pretty amazing directive – how do we feed on, or eat Jesus? John starts off declaring in chapter 1 that in the beginning was the Word, and that this Word became flesh in the person of Jesus.

So, a good way to eat Jesus is to feed on His Word. Jeremiah 15:16 says, “Your words were found, and I ate them. And Your word was to me the joy and rejoicing of my heart”. God tells Ezekiel in chapter 3 to eat what He gives him – “As I opened my mouth He gave the scroll to me saying, ‘son of man, eat this book that I am giving you. Make a full meal of it!’ So I ate it. It tasted so goodjust like honey.” And Psalm 119:103 says, “How sweet are Your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth!”

The Word is for eating, for taking in daily for supply, and it is sweet and nourishing. Is eating different than just reading? In my experience and that of others, yes. When we think of how we eat, we put a small piece of food in our mouth, chew on it to break it down and savor the taste, then swallow. And we repeat that until the portion of food is gone. This takes some time of “intimate” interaction with our food.

Another way of thinking about eating the Word is to meditate on it, or pray with it. Psalm 1:2 says, “But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law he meditates (ponders by talking to himself; mutters, mumbles; chews like a cud) day and night.” Verses 2 & 3 in the Message read, “…you thrill to God’s Word, you chew on Scripture day and night. You’re a tree replanted in Eden, bearing fresh fruit every month, never dropping a leaf, always in blossom.” Eating the Word makes us living and healthy, a person who has what is needed inwardly to keep bearing fruit.

We all know that eating is much more enjoyable when done with someone else. And when we come to the Word in the way of seeking nourishment and taking time to eat, we find that Jesus is not only the bread on the table but also the One who is at the table with us. As we meet with Him He offers us Himself as food to fill our hungry souls, as drink to quench our thirst, as supply to carry us through our day.

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