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Archive for March, 2011

My Food

Meanwhile the disciples were urging him, saying, “Rabbi, eat.” But he said to them, “I have food to eat that you do not know about.” So the disciples said to one another, “Has anyone brought him something to eat?” Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to accomplish his work. Do you not say, ‘There are yet four months, then comes the harvest’? Look, I tell you, lift up your eyes, and see that the fields are white for harvest. John 4:31-35

This passage is just teeming with excellent preaching material. First, we need to recognize that Jesus just ministered to a woman who “got saved” (as much as this was possible before the cross and the resurrection). Without question this woman had an encounter with the Son of God that changed her. Jesus confronted her deepest need, a thirst for love, which she had attempted to slake through relationship after relationship after relationship. Jesus drew her by saying, “whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again.” And so the woman responded by leaving her water pots and returning to the city, only to tell everyone she could find about the amazing Savior who changed her life.

It’s cool to think that Jesus was on a spiritual high from this. We experience it too when we know we’ve been used by God to touch someone’s life. There is nothing more fulfilling, or more satisfying, than knowing that you were able to effect someone on a deep, spiritual and eternal level. And so it was with Jesus. His disciples returned offering Jesus food, but He declined it saying, “I have food to eat that you don’t know about.” What was Jesus communicating here? You see, food meets our most basic and primal need – survival. Without sustenance, our body quickly begins to break down and will eventually die. As it is in the natural, so it is in the spiritual. There is a spiritual sustenance that we need. So many of us spiritually weak and frail, emaciated from lack of spiritual nourishment. When in need of spiritual nourishment, we tend to immediately focus on our need to engage in the spiritual disciplines of prayer, worship and bible study. However, Jesus says, “My food is to do the will of Him who sent me.” Spiritual sustenance comes more from giving than from receiving. As we obey God, as we pour out to those in need around us, so we are filled. Most of us have experienced this at least once. The thrill, the joy of knowing that we have been used of God can keep us on a spiritual high for days or weeks. Let me put it another way…

Have you ever noticed how your Pastor, or some other spiritual leader is constantly encouraging you to live out your faith? Why are they so intent on this? Why not just feed you the Word, and send you on your way? It is solely because they know that the day you begin to obey is the day you learn how to sustain yourself spiritually. As strange as it may sound, every good Pastor hopes and prays for the day when he is no longer needed by his people because they are all sustaining themselves.

The strange, but invariable, side-effect of actually doing the will of God, is that you will naturally seek out those times of “filling” or “receiving.” You will read your Bible more. You will pray more. You will actually enjoy and look forward to church and to times of worship with God’s people. It is precisely in those moments in which you are doing little or nothing for the Kingdom that you feel the most spiritually lethargic – those spiritual disciplines seem pointless (and frankly, they are, if you refuse to live for God).

Lastly, allow me to say something so obvious it shouldn’t need to be said – if this is how it worked for Jesus, it is how it will work for us. In fact, it is impossible that it could work any other way. If Jesus received His spiritual nourishment by doing the will of God, that is the only way you will be spiritually sustained.

So how do we ensure that we are doing God’s will? Here’s a few things to think about…

  1. Are you knowingly doing something against God’s will, or are you avoiding doing what you know you should? If this is you, then the answer is obvious. If you are knowingly disobedient, then it is foolishness to think that you are going to experience spiritual fulfillment or blessing. Start doing what you know you should.
  2. If you are experiencing that spiritual laziness, or if you are feeling apathy toward the things of God, it is likely because you have stopped truly walking out your faith. What’s the last thing God told you to do? Have you done it?
  3. If you are diligent in continuing in the spiritual disciplines (prayer, Bible reading, worship, etc.) yet you are still feeling that dryness, it may be because you are needing some sort of outlet for ministry. You need to be serving somewhere. Personal prayer and bible study are essential, but if your relationship with God is all inward, never outward, then you will soon become weak.
  4. The easiest and best thing you can do to give your spiritual life a boost, is to start sharing your faith with others. Friends, family, strangers in the mall – it doesn’t matter! It was precisely after “witnessing” that Jesus made the statement, “My food is to do the will of God.” I guarantee that if you start winning souls, you will feel completely full of the Spirit.

Blessings.

Categories: Bible, Life