Sunday, July 15, 2018

Sunday Praise and Worship Message - Eating Right Spiritually

Each time you visit your doctor even for a routine check, there is one thing that you can be certain of. The nurse will ask you to step on a weight scale and record your weight. If you are overweight or underweight, your doctor will most assuredly have a conversation with you about your diet. Your spiritual health also depends on what you eat spiritually. If you are not feeding daily on the Word or you are consuming empty spiritual calories, your spirit will suffer and your faith will surely weaken. Once you are spiritually weak, Satan and his minions will chase after you like a “roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” Lions and other predators do not go after the strong and able. They seek out the slow, weak and frail. For them as well as Satan, the weak are easier to catch and devour. Given that, it is important for each of us as Christians to feed on the Word of God and the bread of life.

In John 6, Jesus tells us quite clearly about the bread of life. “35 Jesus replied, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry again. Whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.” Jesus is that bread of life. He is not talking about your physical life. He is that spiritual bread that will sustain us so that we will never be hungry again. It is vital to understand the importance of bread during that period in time. Bread was the staple of every diet. It was something that every home had and was part of every meal. Jesus should always be a part of every aspect of our life. He fills us up and, like the food we eat, gives us the energy to work in the kingdom to serve and love the Father as well as love and help one another. 

Jesus, later in John 6, provides us with more information of how we can achieve a healthy spiritual life and life everlasting by eating and drinking what he has to provide. Jesus tells the Jews, “47 I tell you the truth, anyone who believes has eternal life. 48 Yes, I am the bread of life! 49 Your ancestors ate manna in the wilderness, but they all died. 50 Anyone who eats the bread from heaven, however, will never die. 51 I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Anyone who eats this bread will live forever; and this bread, which I will offer so the world may live, is my flesh.

Jesus, in this passage, refers to the bread sent down from heaven when the children of Israel wandered the wilderness. Since they were hungry, they asked God to provide them with food. God sent manna down from heaven to feed them. However, this food was only for feeding their bodies. Because it was only meant for that, they all died. The living bread that God sent is Jesus and it is by eating of this living bread that we have eternal life. The living bread is free to all and will sustain a person forever. 

It is only through Jesus’ sacrifice that we are able to receive this living bread. Anything else is fake and will not sustain us at all spiritually. Let us look at a grocery store. In the grocery store, you will find all sorts of food. You will see fresh meat, vegetables, dairy and seafood. In that same grocery store, you will also find items that are not nutritious and are empty calories. They will try to fill your stomach, but they will only leave you hungry and empty. Cookies, cakes, pies, ice cream and other things look good and taste great, but they will leave you hungry and only wanting more. They provide no nutritional value and, if you eat too much of them, they will lead you to poor health. When your doctor talks with you about your weight, he or she will ask you about what you are eating. This is an opportunity for you to be honest. You need to be honest with the doctor and with yourself.

The same holds true with your spiritual health. Are you eating the right things daily or are you simply consuming empty spiritual calories? Peter, in his first epistle, tells us in chapter 2, “2 Like newborn babies, you must crave pure spiritual milk so that you will grow into a full experience of salvation. Cry out for this nourishment, 3 now that you have had a taste of the Lord’s kindness.” God provides us that wholesome spiritual milk that we need to help us grow strong in our faith. We need to cry out for this nourishment just as the children of Israel cried out in the wilderness for food. God will hear our prayers and, through His son, Christ Jesus, will provide us with that living bread. 

Like the Israelites, we need to be fed physically in order to be sustained, but we also must realize that we need more than just manna. That bread from heaven sustained the children of Israel physically, but they needed more. Let us look at Deuteronomy 8. Here we see how we should live and how we should eat of that spiritual food that will sustain us and help us grow stronger spiritually. “3 Yes, he humbled you by letting you go hungry and then feeding you with manna, a food previously unknown to you and your ancestors. He did it to teach you that people do not live by bread alone; rather, we live by every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord.

How many times have you heard this expression, “We do not live to eat; we eat to live”? Let us look at it from a spiritual perspective. If we just live to eat, we are indulging ourselves by just eating for the sake of eating and enjoyment. We are more interested in the act of consuming whatever is set before us. If we eat to live, we only eat those things that are healthy for us. Using Peter’s example of spiritual milk, we can easily see that something wholesome can be polluted or changed into something unhealthy. In the case of milk, we can add chocolate syrup to milk and turn it into chocolate milk. The wholesome milk is now something that is unhealthy. Oh, it tastes good, but is it spiritually feeding us so that we are stronger in our faith? Or, is it just empty calories that just fills us only to be hungry for more spiritual junk food?

We should be seeking those things that are straight from God and that are good and wholesome for us. We should not be seeking out those spiritual foods created by the words of men that are peddled in slick colorful boxes like some sugary breakfast cereal. In the 1970’s, breakfast cereals were filled with more and more sugar and had very little nutritional value. Children loved to eat these cereals and wanted nothing else but those sugary nuggets of nutritional nothingness. Finally, parents had enough and began to move away from the sugary breakfast cereals. Manufacturers began to see a drop in their sales and they changed their ways. They lowered the sugar in their cereals and began to compete for the title of “most healthy” breakfast cereal. 

As Christians, we must look for the spiritually complete, wholesome food that comes directly from God’s word. When Jesus was in the desert fasting, Satan tempted him and told him that he should turn the stones into bread. Jesus’ response in Matthew 4 is often quoted by many. “4 But Jesus told him, ‘No! The Scriptures say, ‘People do not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” Notice the use of a very important phrase, “every word that comes from the mouth of God.” Every word and all that comes from the Lord is good and wholesome. The word builds our spirits. It strengthens us so that we are able to fight off the infection of sin. It sustains us when we are dealing with the trials and tribulations of this life. God’s grocery store is fully stocked with good food that, to paraphrase an old milk commercial, “does a spiritual body good.”

So, dear brothers and sisters in Christ, do not settle for the sugary words and the repackaging of God’s word into convenient, bite-sized snacks. Look only for the true, whole word of God and the living bread that will strengthen, build and sustain you through some very tough times in your life. Once you take a trip down the aisles of God’s grocery store, you can be assured that you will be nourished and be able to stand firm in His grace.

May the Lord bless you and protect you. May the Lord smile on you and be gracious to you. May the Lord show you his favor and give you his peace. 
~ Numbers 6:24-26 New Living Translation (NLT)

No comments:

Post a Comment