Wednesday, October 01, 2014

The scriptures are our bread

For forty days, Jesus had been alone fasting in the desert, being in great hunger, the Devil came to tempt Him saying, "If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread." (Matthew 4:3) but Jesus replied, "It is written, 'Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.'" (Matthew 4:4) There is a bread that feeds our souls and sustains us through our life on this Earth. The Word of God, and the scriptures which are a written history of God's revelation to mankind, is such bread. Many of us have prayed Jesus' words, "Give us this day our daily bread." (Matthew 6:11) and, most specifically, this verse speaks of physical bread to nourish and strengthen our physical bodies, but we must also come to God to receive His Spiritual bread that we might nourish and strengthen our souls as well. The scriptures are the bread that feeds our souls. Without them we are malnourished and lacking in the strength of soul that's needed to face our daily lives.

Primarily, the scriptures feed our souls because they reveal Jesus to us. Jesus said of Himself, "it is My Father who gives you the true bread out of heaven. For the bread of God is that which comes down out of heaven, and gives life to the world... I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me will not hunger, and he who believes in Me will never thirst." (John 6:32-35) Jesus is the bread of life and it is of Him that the scriptures reveal. When we read and understand the scriptures, we read and understand Christ and our heart and souls are feed. Furthermore, Jesus said, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in yourselves. He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. For My flesh is true food, and My blood is true drink. He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him." (John 6:53-56) It is by eating and drinking of Christ that we abide in Him. Participation in the scriptures is one of the most important ways we abide in Christ. Just like prayer, discipline, and service, the scriptures provide a way of abiding, or dwelling, in the very presence of Jesus and, if we abide in Him, we will "bear much fruit." (John 15:5)

Similarly, the scriptures feed us by giving us hope and encouragement. Paul said, "For whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction, so that through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope." (Romans 15:4) and again, "Yes, for our sake it was written, because the plowman ought to plow in hope, and the thresher to thresh in hope of sharing the crops." (1 Corinthians 9:10) Life can be hard and our journey long, but God has left behind a written record where we can read what He says about us and remind ourselves of His many and great promises He has made towards us. We can also examine the lives of those who, in the scriptures, lived well and see the rewards granted to them by God that we too might find encouragement and strength to live and finish well. The writer of Hebrews reminds us of those who have gone before us saying, "Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith." (Hebrews 12:1-2) It is the stories of this "great cloud of witnesses" that the scriptures tell us, exhorting us to follow their example and encouraging us with the same hope and faith they found to endure to the end.

Finally, we must remember that it is not enough to merely read and understand the scriptures, but abiding in Christ also takes action. We must put what we have read and learned into practice, to make it part of our daily lives. One day, after the disciples returned from buying groceries, the found Jesus alone but not hungry. His reply was, "I have food to eat that you do not know about.... My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me and to accomplish His work." (John 4:32-34) The scriptures reveal the will of God but its not enough to know His will, we must do His will. This truly is our food, to take in the Word of God, make it a part of our life, to live the truths is reveals, and to abide in Christ. This is true food, food that sustains the soul.

David R Robison

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