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 our bodies. In order to stay healthy and strong, we need to eat nutritious food every day. Where I live here in the U.S.A. there is an abundance food. Most of us eat three meals a day and snacks in-between. The problem for a lot of us is that we eat the wrong kinds of food. We love foods that are filled with saturated fat, cholesterol, salt and carbohydrates. These ingredients are all good for us when eaten in moderation, but we tend to overdo it and we become fat, lazy and lethargic.
Many people in our country are overweight due to eating too much food or the wrong kinds of food. Because of our busy lifestyles and sometimes simply because we are lazy, Americans love fast food. We love McDonalds, Burger King, Taco Bell and Arby’s just to mention a few. We love our French Fries and deep fried fish. We love our hamburgers, ice cream and donuts.
Fast food is okay on occasion, but when it becomes an everyday thing it is bad for my health. It fills my stomach, but doesn’t necessarily give my body what it truly needs to remain healthy and strong. But no matter what kind of food I eat, within a matter hours my stomach will begin to growl and gurgle at me letting me know that I need to eat again.
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 and forget that I need Him. I will begin to trust in my own abilities and think I can get through life on my own. My focus will be on my own agenda and I will get caught up in the material things of this life – my job, money, a beautiful home, computers, iPods, smart phones, cars, vacations etc. I won’t take time for God. I will be too tired to get up and go to church on Sunday and I won’t make time for daily devotion, prayer and Bible Study.
Before I know it my soul begins to suffer. Unlike my body, my empty soul doesn’t cause me to have physical “hunger” pains. As it begins to feel the need for food, I may just feel a little down in the dumps or sad. In order to lift my spirits I might go out and buy something new – maybe a TV for example. That fills the void for awhile, but when the newness wears off I become sad again. Okay so maybe I will give my house a face lift – a new kitchen and new bathrooms or maybe I will paint the bedrooms, add on a great room and put in new floors throughout. I’ll build a deck in my back yard and put in a pool and hot tub. I’ll buy a new car. What more could I possibly want? I should be happy now right? But eventually the sadness and emptiness resurfaces again.
I still don’t quite get it though. Something is missing in my life, but what could it be. I have everything I could possibly need, but yet I want more – Maybe I’ll move! A new house and new surroundings will lift my spirits! I’ll find a new and bigger home in a nicer neighborhood. That will make me happy for sure…
As God observes my actions from His throne on high, He shakes His head in sadness. He loves me deeply and doesn’t want to see me in pain, but the time has come for Him to take action. I need to be shocked back into reality because I have forgotten what is most important in life. I have lost my focus on 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. All of a sudden my “stuff” doesn’t matter anymore. I can’t take my TV, new car, or hot tub 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 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, the hot tub, pool 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.
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 us the opportunity to praise and thank God for the many blessings He showers upon us daily and along with “food” for our souls, it offers us “rest” for our souls. Jesus instructs us; 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).
How about at home? Do you feed your soul at home 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 run out the door to 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 study of His precious word. I need to take God with me every day.
What a comfort it is to know that even though I may forget to feed my soul, God will never leave me. 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 according to His good and perfect will, 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).