Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me will not hunger, and he who believes in Me will never thirst.
We’re currently away with the family at Centre Parks. Its 5am and as usual I’m wide awake while everyone else is blissfully unaware and sound asleep. I’m in the final trimester now and have hunger pangs every few hours! I’ve tossed and turned for the past half an hour hoping my hunger will subside, but there’s food in the kitchen and it’s calling me! I can visualise the non-perishable food that’s available to eat in the kitchen; the cereals lined up along the counter, the chocolate bar we opened last night. I’ve made my mind up- ‘Cheerio’s’ stop I think! I don’t know what it is about cereals but they have been my most consistent craving over the past 7 months!
I ravishingly shovel a handful of Cheerio’s straight from the box into my mouth in an effort to put me on until breakfast. I climb back into bed and within seconds I’m hungry again.
Was I satisfied? No. I barely ate enough- just a handful and it wasn’t exactly the best choice of food to fill me up. Instead I was left feeling just as hungry as when I first woke.
Throughout this pregnancy I’ve been craving different foods at different trimesters. In the beginning, I craved anything savoury and protein filled. My body told me what I needed for my growing baby and I listened. Well, I didn’t really have a choice- anything else made me nauseous.
Do you ever crave the right/wrong foods depending on how you feel at the time? Let me ask you; are you filling your body with the right sustenance to get you through the day? Are you binging on the wrong things or not eating enough? Perhaps you’re ‘yo yo’ dieting?
Or perhaps you find yourself at the other extreme- an eating disorder (ED)? I did.
Anorexia left me feeling constantly energy less. The food I consumed had little or no nutritional value. I didn’t fill my body with the sustenance I needed or enough of it to keep me going throughout the day. I often ignored the signs of low energy, headaches and multiple other symptoms caused by living on limited portions. This consequently caused me to feel weak and worn out most days with the rare temporary spurt of energy.
Now, thankfully by the healing of mind, body and spirit from our heavenly Father, I can confidently say I am healthy and well. As I carry our baby I know that I have a responsibility. If I don’t feed my body and baby now, she wont grow strong and healthy enough in the womb to have a good start in life- simple! There’s no messing around. I need a consistent, well balanced and nutritional diet. I need to be alert to the times I grow hungry and prevent them by eating regularly, snacking on nutritious foods throughout the day before I get too hungry.
I’m reminded of how in life and particularly the culture we currently live in, that food is just one thing we hunger for amongst many others. What else do you feel hungry for; affection, money, a lifestyle you wish you had, possessions, body image?
“People need more than bread for their life; they must feed on every word of God” Matthew 4:4
Let me ask you this…do you feel hungry for God and His word?
Do you have him on a diet or are you listening to your spirit? Just like I do with my body, particularly in my pregnancy. Do you feed your soul with wisdom and knowledge from the one who can make you spiritually full? Give you food that’s everlasting, nutritious, full of sustenance and goodness?
Just like you need physical food for physical strength, you need spiritual food for spiritual strength. The Bible describes itself as spiritual food — the water, milk, bread, and meat of our spiritual lives. It’s everything you need for sustenance. The Bible says in Colossians 3:16, “Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly” (NIV). Paul is telling us to let the Bible take up residence in our lives in a rich, profound, and life-giving way. Pastor Rick Warren
Do you still feel hungry after you’ve slotted Him in? Or do you sit down for a good meal; spend time in His presence, fill yourself with the right word, spend time letting it digest and then using the energy its given you for the season you’re in?
“You’re blessed when you’ve worked up a good appetite for God. He’s food and drink in the best meal you’ll ever eat” Matthew 5:6 MSG
Ever find you complete small snippets of His word? Perhaps a daily dose of Word of the Day (WOD) and a bible verse with a quick devotional plan thrown in there for extra credit? Doesn’t satisfy does it? I can honestly say I’ve done this on many occasion and at times slip back into this routine. It’s exhausting as I feel I’m trying to compensate by completing a spiritual tick list so God see’s that I’m at least attempting to read my bible. As if he’d love me any less if I didn’t or loves me anymore by ticking off a list of good deeds and completing scriptural devotionals each day! Consequently, I haven’t grown much in those times. In those small snippets and rushing around where I practically skim over the words, there isn’t enough nutritional value, its not everlasting and I’m left feeling hungry for His word and an intimate relationship with Him.
Like with all food, it’s nutritional value not only benefits us in the immediate moment but in the longevity of a good functioning body. We are taught from an early age that calcium will help build strong bones and teeth, keep hydrated by drinking lots of water, eat less sugar and more fruit & veg, whole grains and fibre are good for our digestion…the list goes on.
The food we eat over a period of time is not only good for supplying us with energy each day but helps prepare and grow our body to withstand illness; hardwearing, develop a strong physical physique and ability etc. We don’t gain that strength and development in one sitting of protein, veg and carbohydrate!
The same goes for His word. If you drift in and out (and as I said earlier, something I still do at times) you can feel pumped for an hour, maybe a day. If I go to a conference, wow! I’m spiritually fed for the week! Do you know what I mean? Like when you go to a good church service one Sunday; you have good intentions to come again and you feel fully fed on His word but you crave other things in the week and slip back? Before you know it your struggling, weak and spiritually hunger for God, always feeling like there’s a hole that needs to be filled- you’re not satisfied.
But slowly & surely, my anxiety creeps in, personal hang ups take over; worry, uncertainty, comparison, feeling weak and weary – and I cave in!! It’s at that point I feed on all the wrong stuff! For some of you it may be eating all the wrong foods, overspending on materialistic things which give you a temporary moment of happiness or perhaps alcohol, gambling, drugs? Trying to fill a whole with anything but His word.
Those of you who diet- the healthy way- don’t you feel better when you’ve maintained your routine for a week or two along with a healthy and nutritious food plan, as oppose to one good dosing of fruit in the morning? You may feel good at the time and have the best intentions but it’s not substantial enough to give you lasting fullness till lunch, causing you to crave the wrong things & feel rubbish again.
You are what you eat?!
Not sure how much I agree with this but I feel there is some truth in it when it comes to His word.
When we feed ourselves on His word, we can experience feeling spiritually full. It provides everlasting and substantial energy to withstand trials and tribulations. We store up knowledge and wisdom just like calcium and healthy organs that can be used to keep us strong when life throws us a curve ball because I believe everything written in His word is relevant to today! We can also experience fruits of the spirit, enabling us to enjoy the life God has for us.
If we spend time in His word and in His presence, undivided time where we gain nutrition, perhaps we won’t be tempted so quickly to crave other things in an attempt to fill a gap?
It’s good to be hungry for His word- but feed on it! I wouldn’t ignore my body when I become hungry, signalling my baby needs food. As she’s growing week by week, she needs even more food and relies on me totally to feed her a varied and nutritional diet.
So why do we only fill ourselves with the bible as if it’s a snack? Something we quickly nibble on when we need a quick word or something to keep us going? This is fine too I feel- sometimes a word or verse is what we need that day- but it’s not going to be everlasting if we live by this routine. I know because I’ve done it; both spiritually and physically. In those times I couldn’t feel further away from our father and that’s not because He’s not there, it’s simply because I’m not investing in developing an intimate relationship with Him, where I can feel his love, embrace, guidance, strength and stand firm on His promises. I can’t hear Gods voice or recognise it, quickly becoming confused and burdened with the weight of the world on my shoulders instead of lifted up in the love and light of our God!
So I ask you to consider this. Do you snack on God’s word just when you need a bit of strength and then tend to carry on in your own strength? Do you feel like you’re ‘yo yo’ dieting with God and only come to Him when things have gone pear-shaped or as a last resort? Do you feel like you’re not satisfied- not full? There’s a gap that needs to be filled?
I encourage you (myself included) to feed and fill up on His word. It is good and spiritually nutritional. If we only take small snippets we will always feel like there is a hole to be filled, crave comfort and reassurance from what the world has to offer or things that give us a temporary high, we will always strive and struggle to do things in our own strength instead of drawing strength from Him.
“For He satisfies the longing soul, and fills the hungry soul with goodness.” Psalm 107:9