Can You Survive On Just One Food?
Man cannot live on bread alone – not least because man would develop scurvy about a month or so into that little experiment.
The best diets have plenty of variety in them, making sure you get everything from vitamin C to iron to linoleic acid without even having to think. Even fad diets that focus on just a few foods or on eliminating certain things are usually varied enough to be reasonably nutritious. Still, in the extremely unlikely scenario that you had to live on just one food, are some nutritionally more complete than others? Could you get what you need from, say, just potatoes, or just bananas, or just avocados?
One thing is for sure, the candidates would not include meat or most fruits and vegetables. Meat doesn't have fiber, nor does it have key vitamins and nutrients. Fruits and vegetables may have vitamins, but they don't have anywhere close to enough fat or protein, even eaten in quantity. The body does not need as much as you might think to stay alive, but you omit them at your peril.
It Is The Same With Our Spiritual Food.
Man can not live on the Eucharist alone. Others say, Man can not live on the Bible alone. But God has given us a “two course meal” to satisfy that hunger and thirst for righteousness that all of us as Christians should have, (Matthew 5:6) and it is important that we partake in all of it to be a healthy and vibrant Christian. For the next two lessons, over a two week period, I would like to look over Gods heavenly menu. And describe the “courses” God has prepared for us for our daily lives. Remember one is not as important as the other. To be a well balanced Christian we must partake in both spiritual courses on the menu.
The Word of God (whether spoken or written)
It is written, Not in bread alone doth man live, but in every word that proceedeth from the mouth of God. (Matthew 4:4)
As newborn babes, desire the rational milk without guile, that thereby you may grow unto salvation: (1 Peter 2:2)
Thy words were found, and I did eat them, and thy word was to me a joy and gladness of my heart: for thy name is called upon me, O Lord God of hosts. (Jeremiah 15:16)
Jesus Christ through the Eucharist
Jesus took bread; and blessing, broke, and gave to them, and said: Take ye. This is my body. And having taken the chalice, giving thanks, he gave it to them. And they all drank of it. And he said to them: This is my blood of the new testament, which shall be shed for many. (Mark 14:22-24, Matthew 26:26-28 also see Luke 22:19-20)
And Jesus said to them: I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall not hunger: and he that believeth in me shall never thirst. (John 6:35)
I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever; and the bread that I will give, is my flesh, for the life of the world. (John 6:35)
First, let us consider the Word of God, which gives us power to be overcomers in our battle against Satan, and which gives us strength to face every situation in the future.
The Bible is the Word of God . It was written by men under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.
It is the food for the soul for a Christian who has come to faith in Christ and been born again in the waters of baptism. Just like a baby cries out for milk as soon as it is born, a true Christian, if he is to grow spiritually, he needs this food of the Word of God. I want to show you to a verse where it speaks of what the Word of God does, initially. We read 1 Peter 1:23, "Being born again not of corruptible seed, but incorruptible, by the word of God who liveth and remaineth for ever." Many people feel, when they have made a mess of their life, they wish they could live their lives all over again. And that is exactly the opportunity God offers you when He says, 'You can be born again.'
Think if you could start your life all over again, as a little baby, and with no record of your past failures; it is all wiped out. That is what it means to be born again. Your past is wiped out and you are born a second time. That wish that you had, 'oh, I wish I could start my life all over again' - God says, 'I can fulfill it for you.' That is what happens when we receive Christ as our Saviour and Lord of our life, and when we repent of our sins and are baptized into his life and raised in newness of life. In the verse we just saw it says that this new birth takes place through a seed, just like your physical birth also began with the seed of your father. In the same way here, spiritually, the Word of God is like a seed which brings you to new birth, in what way? You believed that Word, you responded to that Word of God which said that Christ died for your sins. You accepted the Word of God which said that you are a sinner. You believed the Word of God when it says that Christ rose again from the dead, and you were born again by the Word of God by acting upon the command to repent and be baptized for the remission of sins. You received His Holy Spirit by faith, because that was God's promise given in His Word. And through that Word, you have come into a new relationship with God.
Then it goes on to say, now that you are a new born baby, the same Word of God - which is like a seed which fell into your heart and brought you to life - now becomes like milk for the new born baby. In 1 Peter 2:2, it says, "As newborn babes, desire the rational milk without guile, that thereby you may grow unto salvation:" A new born baby needs to grow. God has not forgiven us our sins in order that He might just take us to heaven. He wants us to grow, like it says in this verse, with respect to salvation, to be increasingly saved from all the corruption that is in our nature that we have inherited from Adam, our first father; selfishness, pride, arrogance, bitterness, jealousy, wickedness, and the like. We have to be saved from all these things. They don't disappear the moment we are born again. When we are born again it is like a new life that is come into us, and that life has been given the grace to overcome all these evil habits. But that grace must be used to grow.
You know, like a little baby, when it is born, it has the potential to become a muscular giant. But it is not going to grow into that if it doesn't eat its food or drink its milk. It has to be fed and it has to eat its food in order to grow. And this is the mistake that many Catholics make. They think that once their sins are forgiven, and they have received the Holy Spirit, at their baptism that is it. There is nothing more. Well, there is a lot more. You are just born. Can you say once a baby is born into the world, that is it? There is nothing more for the baby? Well, that baby will die, if you just leave it like that. In fact, one of the first things that a baby does, as soon as it is born, is it cries. From the very first day, it longs for milk. There is a tremendous cry. You have heard babies screaming for milk. That is how a true Christian cries out for the Word of God, for God to feed him through His Word. Now if a baby does not cry out like that, we could say the baby is sick, or it is about to die. Healthy babies will always cry out for milk, all the time. Healthy Christian is one who cries out for God's Word to feed him, as it says like new born babes. There must be a tremendous longing in us for the milk of the Word of God. The Word of God is milk that helps us grow in our salvation.
In the beginning of the Bible, we see a beautiful picture of this. In Genesis chapter one we read of the earth being in a chaotic state. The Bible says the earth was formless, empty, and dark. And that is the condition of humanity away from God also; formless, empty and dark. That is what we were before being born again. How did God change this chaotic, formless, empty, dark world and make it into such a beautiful world, that at the end of Genesis 1, God says, "This is very good?" How did God do it?
You see, two things are very important for us to see here. First of all, "The Spirit of God moved upon the waters" All of God's work begins with the Holy Spirit moving upon a chaotic situation and trying to redeem it, trying to solve the problem. But that was not all. We read a second thing: the Word of God went forth. The Spirit of God moved, and the Word of God went forth. These two always work together - the Spirit of God and the Word of God. What did the Word of God say? "Let there be light." That was the Word. And as soon as that Word went forth from God's mouth, light came. Again, we read the Word of God saying, "Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters ," and the heavens were created. And then God said, "Let the waters be gathered together and let the dry land appear" and the earth was made. And so we find that every time the Word of God went forth on the first day, on the second day, on the third day, something happened. Something of the chaos was changed.
The whole earth was not changed in one day. It took six days, not because God takes time. God could have changed it in a moment. He could have made the whole earth beautiful in one moment, with one Word. But He is trying to teach us something in the first page of the Bible and that is, that God works in our lives slowly, day by day by day. Each day, He wants to do something in us to remove the chaos, to remove the darkness, to remove the shapelessness, the un-Christ likeness in our life. In The New Testament, in 2 Corinthians 4:16 we read, "Our inward man is renewed day by day." On the first day, there should be a change, on the second day, there should be a change, on the third day...and, throughout our lifetime, God wants to change us little by little by little, till a day comes, at the end of our life, when God can say, 'Very good, I have been able to complete My work in this man.'
Now the sad thing is, with many Christians, that doesn't happen, because they don't respond to God. You see, in Genesis 1, when the Word of God went forth, the earth responded, and something happened. So, if you respond to the Word of God, as it comes to your heart, something will definitely happen in your life. If you accept that Word, if you believe that Word, if you obey that Word, something will definitely happen. Just like you read in Genesis 1, every day something happened, and God said it was good. God's will for you is that every day, you should receive some Word of God into your heart that is going to produce some change in your life. That is why one of the most important thing for you to receive every day is the Word of God, more than your food.
You remember in the first temptation that Jesus faced in the wilderness. He had fasted for forty days, and the devil came to Jesus and said, 'Why don't you turn these stones to bread. You are hungry; you will die if you don't eat.' It is true. If you have not eaten food forty days and you continue like that, there is a possibility that you will die. But Jesus replied to Satan, it is more important to receive the Word of God than to eat food. I have paraphrased Matthew 4:4 here. Have you read that Word? 'Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from God's mouth.' What He was saying is: it is more important to receive the Word of God than it is to even eat food.
Now how many Christians are there who believe that it is more important every day to receive the Word of God for their soul, for their spirit, than it is to receive food for their body? We all know the value of food for the body; we know that we will not grow without food. And we enjoy food, we enjoy good food. Why is it that many Christians don't enjoy the Word of God like that? It is because they have not understood its value, just like little children, sometimes. Little children don't understand the value of food. You tell them to eat, they don't eat. You tell them to drink milk, they don't drink milk. And sometimes father and mother have to force them. It is like that with many Christians. But once you understand that the Word of God can make you grow; can make you strong; can make you overcome Satan, if you submit to it, your life will be transformed from chaos to beauty. It can change your whole life if you begin that habit from today. Make a decision today, to read the Word of God, to believe it, to meditate on it, and to obey it every day.
Next week we will discuss the second course on Gods menu...The Eucharist.