Thursday, July 24, 2014

Bread of Life

I LOVE bread.  One of my favorite smells in the world is the scent of freshly-baked bread.  I like biscuits and jelly, blueberry bagels, chocolate chip muffins, dinner rolls, and banana bread.  I can easily find a place for bread on my plate at every meal.  The taste of bread satisfies a deep craving that I have. 

However, nowadays bread has become a very controversial food.  I’ve heard it said that the bread we eat now is nothing like the bread of the past, because we have changed the way we grow and produce our grains.  This genetic modification makes a number of people want to avoid bread altogether.  In addition, many people in today’s world have developed a gluten intolerance, which actually makes bread dangerous for them to eat. 

In spite of all the negativity surrounding bread in today’s world, there’s no denying that bread has been a staple food for centuries.  The Bible mentions bread numerous times, and it is an essential element in the traditions of Passover and Communion.  But in Deuteronomy 8:3 (and again in Matthew 4:4 and Luke 4:4), God tells us, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.”  Notice how this scripture is found more than once in the Bible?  I think our Heavenly Father wants to make a point here… FOOD is not our only source of life.  He wants us to actually draw sustenance from His Word. 

This is something I have been experiencing personally over the last several months.  But it hasn’t always been this way.  When I first took up my cross to follow Jesus, I couldn’t put the Bible down.  I was like a hungry newborn baby sucking on a bottle – I couldn’t get enough!  I remember studying the Bible on my own, devouring Bible study workbooks, and journaling like crazy.  It was a wonderful growing season in my life.  But over time, I began to get comfortable and self-confident in my walk.  On a subconscious level I thought I knew everything there was to know.  I had to go through some deep valleys and vast wildernesses before I recognized once again that what I’m hungering for deep down is the nourishment that only God’s Word gives.

Jesus tells us in John 6:48 (and several other places in the same chapter), “I am the bread of life.”  We also see in John 1:14 that Jesus is the Word that became flesh and made His dwelling among us.  So… if Jesus is the bread of life, AND He is the Word of God… it’s clear that the spiritual sustenance we are all craving can be fully and completely satisfied by feasting on God’s Word.  And by doing so, we will come to know Jesus better.

There are several things that are helping me get more of God’s Word into my heart these days.  First of all, I make it a goal to get up early every morning and spend some time reading the Bible (often guided by a Bible study book or devotional).  This is the best time for me to do it, because no one else is awake yet (so it’s quiet), and I’ve found that it really helps me have a better day when I begin sitting quietly before the Lord.  Another unique way I am spending time in God’s Word is through PraiseMoves.  In this Christian alternative to yoga, each posture has a corresponding scripture verse or passage.  And by incorporating this into my fitness routine, I am finding that I’m not just memorizing scripture verses, but that I can recall them easier and for longer periods of time.

What works for me may not work for you.  But I encourage you to find a way to get more of God’s Word written on your heart.  Even if the desire to do so is not very strong right now, I believe that once you get started you will find that your desire is growing stronger all the time.

“Every word of God is pure; He is a shield to those who put their trust in Him.” ~ Proverbs 30:5