It is written: Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God. (Matthew 4: 4)
We all know how important it is to have food for the body. In order to stay healthy and strong, we need to eat nutritious food every day. Here in the U.S.A. there is an abundance food. Most of us eat three meals a day and snacks in-between. When our body needs food, we may feel our stomach growl, or even get a headache. Once we refresh our body with the food it needs, we immediately feel better.
Just as my body needs good nutritious food to stay healthy and strong, my soul needs to be fed also. My soul needs to be fed daily with the life-giving Word of God. Without “soul” food I will lose my focus on what is important in life. I will wander away from God, trusting my own abilities and forget that I need Him. With my focus on my own agenda, I will get caught up in the material things of this life (job, money, home, computers, iPods, smart phones, cars, vacations etc.), and fail to take time for God.
Soon my soul will begin to suffer. Unlike my body, my empty soul doesn’t cause me to have physical “hunger” pains. My soul’s hunger pains are more subtle. I may at first just feel a little down in the dumps or sad. Not realizing the root of my problem, I try to fill it with material possessions. I might go out and buy something new – a new TV for example or a new car. That fills the void for a while, but when the newness wears off, I become sad again. Okay, so maybe I will give my house a face life – remodel the kitchen and bathrooms, apply new paint, and add new accessories to the bedrooms. I should be happy now right? But eventually the sadness and emptiness resurface again. I ask myself, what is missing in my life? Why can’t I just be happy?
As God observes my actions, He shakes His head in sadness. He loves me deeply and doesn’t want to see me in pain. The time has come for Him to act. I need to be shocked back into reality because I have forgotten what is important in life and what is best for my eternal good.
My yearly visit to the Doctor reveals a serious problem. The cancer is terminal. I have been given 6 months to live. Suddenly my “stuff” doesn’t matter anymore. I can’t take a TV, a new car, or my newly remodeled home with me when I leave this life. Naked I came from my mother’s womb and naked I will depart (Job 1:21). My possessions no longer have meaning. They will be left here for others when I am called from this earth.
God now has my undivided attention. Where I will spend eternity has suddenly become a reality to me. I sit up and take notice of what is truly important in life. I finally realize that the new car, the new house, and all the electronic devices didn’t bring me any lasting happiness. I open my Bible to John 6: 27, 35, 41 where Jesus reminds me, Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life…He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty …I am the bread that came down from heaven.
A light bulb flashes on in my mind! I have finally become aware that it is my soul that is hungry and not my body. All this time I have been trying to feed my soul with physical food (material possessions) and all I found was emptiness. My soul needs Jesus. He is my eternal food.
Have you been feeding your soul? Have you been present on Sunday for worship lately? The writer to the Hebrews reminds us that we need the support and love of fellow Christians to help keep our faith strong and focused. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another – and all the more as you see the Day approaching (Hebrews 10:25).
Aside from fellowship, worship also offers me the opportunity to praise and thank God for the many blessings He showers upon me daily. And along with “food” for my soul, it also offers “rest” for my soul. Jesus says, come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls (Matthew 11:28, 29).
It is important for me to feed my soul at home also by spending time in prayer and God’s word. But in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4: 6, 7).
Take the time to say a short prayer before you start your day. Ask God to be present with you and lead you to make good decisions and choices throughout the day – decisions and choices which reflect His love and allow the people you meet to see and know that you belong to Him.
Yes, I need food for my body while here on this earth. My body is a gift from God. It is the “tent” He has given me to live in while I am here. I seldom forget to feed it because it tells me when it needs food and water and it tells me when it needs sleep. I will care for it and remember that it is His temple. But more importantly, I need to remember to feed my soul. I need to feed it with eternal food and not the junk food of this life. I need to feed it through prayer and worship. I need to feed it through the study of His precious word. I need to take God with me every day, knowing that when I put Him first, He will provide for my physical needs also.
It isn’t wrong to have nice things, material possessions which make my life easier and more enjoyable, but God should always be my priority. When God gets put on the “back burner” my soul will suffer. It will starve without the food of His Word. When I put Him first, all the material things I need for this life will fall into place. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well (Matthew 6:33).
And should I forget to feed my soul, I have the comfort of God’s promise to never leave me. And surely, I am with you always, to the very end of the age (Matthew 28: 20). He will keep me from wandering away from Him and getting lost in the things of this world. When I walk away from Him and begin to fill my soul with junk food, He will in some way, and according to His perfect plan, remind me of what is important for my eternal good.
My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand (John 10:27, 28).