Spirit of Grace Ministries
Spirit of Grace Ministries
-- Feeding Jesus' sheep
-- Equipping His servants
-- Proclaiming His Gospel

God's Word - Our Food

The Bible

by Dennis Pollock

The Scriptures make a comparison between the word of God and food. In Jeremiah we read, "Your words were found, and I ate them, and Your word was to me the joy and rejoicing of my heart… (Jeremiah 15:16). When the Bible uses metaphors, often the parallels are much more detailed and precise than we may first think. We miss a lot when we consider the Scriptural metaphors simply a poetic way of illustrating a concept and don't dig a little more deeply into the specifics of the illustration.

Jesus tells us that man does not live by bread alone but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God. Just as food nourishes our bodies, the words of God nourish our spirits. We can no sooner be healthy and strong spiritually without the word of God than we could be in a physical sense if we chose to never eat another meal. Singing praise songs is uplifting, fellowshipping with other believers is vital, working in our local churches is important, but somehow, some way, we absolutely must make time for the word of God in our lives.

After Jesus' resurrection He was enjoying breakfast with His disciples when He asked Peter three different times if he loved Him. Peter replied each time that he did. And after each of Peter's affirmations of love for the Master, our Lord gave him a charge related to his future ministry. First He told Peter, "Feed My lambs." Secondly He told him, "Tend My sheep." And finally He said, "Feed My sheep." It seems Jesus was (and is) very much concerned that His sheep be well fed. Peter became many things: an apostle, an evangelist, he had an amazing healing ministry, but Jesus did not emphasize these at this time: His major concern was that Peter be sure to feed those who were called by His name.

More Than Compassion

The care and especially the feeding of Jesus' sheep is the foremost duty of all who serve in the church of Jesus Christ. This creates an absolute necessity for those who minister to have a thorough knowledge and understanding of God's word. Compassion is wonderful but it isn't enough. Good intentions are noble but they do not suffice. Imagine going to a doctor with a serious illness who begins to weep as he learns of your condition. He tells you through his tears, "I am so sorry for you. I want like anything to be able to help you. I really feel your pain. But you see, I paid little attention to my professors when I was in medical school. I wouldn't even have graduated, except that I bribed the school officials. I don't have the slightest idea of what to do for you." Knowledge is a powerful thing, and without it all our compassion doesn't mean much.

Peter writes, "…as newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby" (1 Peter 2:2). Here the word of God is called pure, which means unmixed, undiluted. God's word is pure and perfect. The minute a man or woman touches it, the perfection is lost. This is why sermons and Bible teachings can never replace your own personal time in the Scriptures. Listening to sermons and teachings can be very helpful, but it is not the same as reading the word for yourself. Coming straight from the pages of your Bible, the word is pure; when a man or woman stands behind a pulpit or in front of a microphone to elaborate on the Scriptures (myself included), dilution will always take place.

Notice that Peter commands new believers to desire the word. A baby's number one priority is to drink milk. We really don't expect much else in those early days. We don't ask him to get a job, we don't expect him to hold intelligent conversations with us, we don't require him to go to school – just eat and grow. And if he should show no interest in nursing and have little appetite, we are immediately concerned. A lack of appetite is always the indicator that something is wrong. So it is in the realm of the Spirit. If your new birth is genuine, if your relationship with Christ is the real thing, almost certainly you will have some kind of appetite for the word of God. And as you drink in the "pure milk of the word" you will grow. Your faith will increase, your zeal for the work of the Lord will grow from a small flame to a blazing fire, and you will begin to exercise self-control in areas where previously you were self-indulgent. Another word for this is sanctification, and it is the byproduct of our life in Christ. This is the sure consequence when new believers feed on the word of God.

Nourished by the Word

Paul writes to Timothy, "If you instruct the brethren in these things, you will be a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished in the words of faith and of the good doctrine which you have carefully followed" (1 Timothy 4:6). The word nourish is defined:  "to sustain with food or nutriment; supply with what is necessary for life, health, and growth." The word of God does this for us! This is more than just pretty language; this is literally true in the spiritual realm. When you sit down with your Bible, open it to the book of Philippians, and begin to read, "Paul and Timothy, bondservants of Jesus Christ, To all the saints in Christ Jesus who are in Philippi, with the bishops and deacons: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ," unseen and amazing things start to happen in your spirit. As you proceed through the four short chapters you are receiving a spiritual meal. Your spirit is drawing life and nourishment from these words, written so long ago by the apostle Paul under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. As you finish the fourth chapter with the words, "The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen," you have been provided a good healthy meal, with all kinds of spiritual spinach, green peppers, slices of grilled chicken, peaches, and melons that will refresh you, strengthen you, instruct you, build your faith, and increase your sensitivity to the Spirit of God.

meal timeAll over this world, in every culture and among every people, regardless of race, language, or ethnicity, families put aside whatever they have been doing, gather together, and have meals. Their meals may have different flavors, they may use different spices and cook their foods in slightly different ways, but we will all put food in our mouths, chew it, and receive nourishment from it. We make eating a priority; we structure our days around our meals. Even the most hard-driving corporate managers would never dare to deny their employees the time to have a lunch break. Regardless of how busy we are, whether we're on vacation, or in the midst of moving across the country, we will always make time for meals. Yet sadly, many professing Christians, can go days or weeks, or months, without ever opening their Bibles to drink in its life-giving truths.

What is it about the word of God that feeds and nourishes us? It is Jesus Christ Himself. Jesus declares, "I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst" (John 6:35). This is true initially when a man or a woman first receives Christ and is born again. There is a powerful infusion of divine life in the soul upon salvation. John writes, "He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life" (1 John 5:12). But we do not simply receive Jesus, receive life, and then forget about Him. We are to feed upon Jesus all of our days. Jesus tells us, "I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing" (John 15:5). To abide means to stay in place – to draw upon the life of Jesus continually and be continually nourished by Him.

Jesus, the Bread of God

So is the Bible our food or is Jesus our food? The answer is that the Bible feeds us by revealing Jesus Christ unto us. Jesus said to the Jews of His day, "You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me" (John 5:39). All of the Scriptures are saturated with Jesus Christ. Whether you are reading about God creating the world in the first chapter of Genesis, or the children of Israel building the tabernacle in the wilderness, or the proper means of offering sacrifices in the book of Leviticus, or the gospels or the epistles or the book of Revelation, you are reading about Jesus. You only need the eyes to see Him!

A Christ-based view of Bible reading is of the utmost importance. How you view your Bible reading times makes a huge difference. Are you sitting down to learn some historical facts about God's dealings with Israel? Are you opening the pages of your Bible because that's just what Christians are supposed to do? No, we must sit down with our Bibles and see our time in God's word as a good and healthy meal – a meal of Jesus Christ! We find a quiet place to meditate on the eternal words of God and draw nourishment and life from Jesus, whether we are reading in the Psalms or the Gospel of John, whether in the prophets or in the epistles. We will look for Christ and we will feed on the One who is the Bread of life. One thing to keep in mind is that almost nobody eats one meal a day. Just as food serves us better in smaller portions broken into several meals each day, so God's word does us the most good when we feed on it throughout the day, rather than in one long session in the morning.

Nutrient Dense

All foods provide nutrition, but some foods are more nutrient-dense. All of God's word is pure and perfect, but some is a richer source of Christ than others. The New Testament is more nutrient dense than the Old Testament. In the Old Testament Christ is found in symbols and shadows, but in the New Testament He is plainly and clearly revealed. The Old Testament may take many chapters or a long story, or an entire book to reveal one facet of Jesus, but in the New Testament you can see Him everywhere. This is why reading the Bible through once a year is really not the best Bible-reading plan. If you read the Bible through once each year, this means that 2/3 of the time you are in the Old Testament. Christ may be found there for sure, but only in hidden symbols and types. I love the Old Testament and have read it through many times, but I always make sure to spend more time in the New Testament than I do in the Old Testament.

The Gospels are the richest source of spiritual food to be found in the Bible. Sometimes people are tempted to ignore the gospels due to the repetition of certain accounts and the simplicity of the stories of Jesus' healings. This we must never do. To know Christ, to trust Him, and to continually abide in Him is the essence of Christian living and the guarantee of fruitfulness, and reading of our Lord in the gospels is the prime means by which we learn of Him. It is not possible for us to have the privilege of walking around Israel with the Savior, as those first disciples did. The next best thing is that we walk with Jesus through the pages of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, over and over again, until His words, deeds, attitudes, and ways become as familiar to us as any friend we have on earth.

As we will eat thousands and thousands of physical meals in our lifetime, let us determine to enjoy many thousands of spiritual meals as well: over and over again sitting down in our favorite chair to read the Bible, listening to CDs or watching DVDs of Bible teachers who faithful explain the word of God, going to home Bible studies, faithfully attending our local church, and giving Jesus Christ and His word first place in our lives. We will become healthy and strong, filled with rivers of divine life coursing through our spirits and equipping us for every task for which the Master has commissioned us.

For a full listing of all devos (written and audio) go to our Devos Catalog Page.


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