Why is it challenging to feel strong in faith and content with life? What makes consistent joyfulness eluding to so many of us in everyday life?
Our spiritual health is not that different from our physical health. If we are inconsistent with or limit our sustenance for periods of time, it has a manifestation in how we feel. There is no denying it. It is a fact of biology.
It seems so easy to understand the science behind the consequences of malnourishment. No one would would argue against the absolute necessity of nourishment. Yet, spiritually speaking, Christians near and far are literally starving to death. It reminds me of an eating disorder, when some individuals are unable to see the root cause of their failing health and continually deny themselves what they need the most. Food! It is as if they are being robbed of the very conclusion that will save their life!
Why? What is happening to believers to rob them of what they need most for a vibrant, faith-filled life?
Jesus spoke to this dilemma, stressing the vital component necessary for our spiritual health. In Matthew 4:4, Jesus answers the temptation from the devil with clarity and truth for us all to cling to as if a life preserver. He says, ” It is written: Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.” This statement comes on the heels of 40 days of fasting for Jesus when the tempter suggested Jesus turn stone into bread. This context makes His perspective that much more important for us to heed and apply.
Jesus knew the tempter was after more than just satisfying His hunger. He was not out to give to Jesus, but to take from Him. John 10:10 tells of Jesus’ warning concerning this enemy of ours in the faith by saying, “The thief comes only to steal, and kill, and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” The Son of God knew the scheme of the tempter to rob believers of what they need most! Spiritual food!
This was what struck me as I was reading Leviticus 23 recently in my Chronological Bible. This chapter describes the numerous seasons and feasts commanded for the Israelites to observe yearly. When I researched the timetable of these sacred assemblies, I learned that they are spread throughout the Jewish calendar. One or more are happening every couple of months. This, along with the command of keeping the Sabbath on a weekly basis, showed me how God had integrated regular times for the Israelites to stop what they were doing and nourish themselves on what they needed the most…….time with God. This was achieved in several ways. They were to remember who their God was and all He had done, they were to worship and repent, they were to pray, they were to partake of the Word of God. It is as if God knew man’s tendency to neglect what was most vital to the well-being of their faith.
In Isaiah 55 1-3, we see additional instruction to aid in our establishing priorities, ” Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy, and eat! Come buy wine and milk without money and without cost. Why spend money on what is not bread, or labor on what does not satisfy? Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good, and your soul will delight in the richest of fare. Give ear and come to me; hear me, that your soul may live.”
This “thief” that comes to steal, kill and destroy is not easily recognized by believers today compared to Jesus readily perceiving the danger and temptation of what he intended. Too many of us are falling victim to the unforeseen thief and our faith and families are paying the price!! Whatever robs or weakens our faith will have inevitable, eternal consequences impacting our children!
What then is the tempter stealing from us? Our time with God that is to sustain and grow our faith. Through all the sports leagues that pull families from Sunday church time, and the numerous educational or artistic endeavors we let drive our family schedules, we are unable to nourish ourselves on what we were not meant to live without! Time with God!
It is not bad things that are robbing us of what God intends for us, good things are the culprit. David Jeremiah said several years ago something that had a profound impact on my time management decisions. He said, ” We all have as much of God as we want. Wow!!! That pretty much sums it up!!
So let me ask you dear sister in Christ, are you hungry and malnourished? Are you weak and weary from life lived contrary to what God intended for you? Do you long for the joy of the Lord that is rightfully yours as Jesus came so that you would have life to the full?! Then come to the table and feast on what NEVER, EVER fails to satisfy! Take control of your schedule and tell the neighbors and friends “no”, you will not be consumed and driven by what is starving you to death. The frivolities of this world are passing, but the Word of the Lord stands forever!