When we sit down to eat a meal our senses become engaged. We look at the food, we smell it and finally we taste it. Any of these three senses can help us identify if something might be wrong with what we are about to eat.
None of us would want to eat anything that looked, smelled or tasted as if it was rotten. Even if these three senses failed us, our body is still capable of dealing with something bad that we’ve swallowed, although it can be quite an unpleasant experience and of course we might still get quite ill for a time. Of course we can be fooled by bad food dressed up as good. Junk food may pass the three senses test but our bodies ultimately don’t benefit from it.
This all might seem very obvious but when it comes to spiritual food i.e. things that sustain our spiritual life or enhance our well-being, why is it sometimes harder to discern what is going to be healthy for us to consume? Perhaps it is because we are living in a very liberal world where there is often an attitude of “If it feels good, do it”. We are also a “fast food” society where people want a quick fix for their problems. Neither of these attitudes is helpful as the first is usually about instant gratification and involves very little consideration for long term consequences, while the second avoids the need for the process involved in real change or healing and keeps people running to the next new thing.
It is true that we can become what we think and we are what we eat. We are the product of our choices and fixations.
Therefore it must be understood that good spiritual food is just as essential to our well-being as good physical food that enters our mouths. Both can have a profound effect on us, and so making sure we are feeding ourselves well, for our mind, body and spirit is very important.
The Bible refers to our need for spiritual food. In the Old Testament, God fed His people with manna, a food that He miraculously provided for them. In reference to this it says, “Man shall not live by bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD.” In other words, physical food is not enough. We are not merely flesh and blood but also spiritual creatures who need more than the physical world provides. We need God as He is not only our creator but also our Sustainer.
In the New Testament, Jesus is described as The Word (God the Son) who became flesh. He stated clearly that He was the true spiritual food we needed for fulfillment. He said, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty…” John 6:35.
When we feast upon good, enriching, spiritual food which is The Word of Jesus Christ it is our heart that benefits. An inward change begins to take place. A change that is a work of God our Father to mold us into the likeness of Jesus, so that our heart reflects His.
Jesus shows us the heart of The Father in all that He did and said while on earth. When he fed the crowd of 5,000 people, what did He do first? He met their spiritual needs. At midday at the well of Jacob, after Jesus met the Samaritan woman and His disciples returned urging Him to eat some food, what did He reply? John 4: 32;34, But he said to them, “I have food to eat that you know nothing about.”…“My food,” said Jesus, “is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work.” Again we see the heart of The Father for our spiritual well-being for true spiritual food and to be in His will above earthy matters.
Jesus taught His disciples that it wasn’t what went in someone’s mouth that truly mattered, as this goes out the other end into the sewer, but rather what comes out of one’s mouth…for this reveals the person’s heart! (Mark 7:14-23)
The Lord is always concerned first and foremost with our spiritual health as this is the deepest part of our own well within. The upper layer may seem clear and fine, but deep within often lies the murkiness.
We do well to heed Paul’s wise advice to Timothy, reminding him that while physical health is important it is limited, but godliness is beneficial in every way. (1 Timothy 4:8)
Further reading, John 6. (This chapter begins with Jesus feeding the crowd of 5,000, He then walks on water before declaring He is The Bread of Life).
After reading, take some time now to consider the following questions.
Q1. God cares so much about your spiritual health, how much of a priority is it to you?
Q2. What ways do you feel you could improve your intake of the Words of Jesus for your own well-being?
Q3. What other tables does the world offer for us to ‘eat’ from? How are these tables designed to entice and keep us lethargic, enslaved and complacent?
Q4. How careful are you to not eat from another table?
The next post in this series is, ‘Taste and See’. We hope you keep following along and grow from this series, Richard & Mel!