The Bible tells us we have a body and a soul. It isn’t difficult to answer who feeds our body. However, today’s text confronts us with the question, Who is feeding your soul?
The Lord Jesus Christ was talking to his followers when he said, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty.” What did Jesus mean when he talked about being the bread of life?
Certainly Jesus isn’t talking about meat, potatoes, vegetables, and dessert that feeds the body. He gives us those things from the bounty of the earth. Rather, he is talking about food for the soul.
In the first and second chapters of Genesis, it says that in the beginning the Lord God formed man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life. Man became a living soul. God created man’s soul by breathing the breath of life into his nostrils. Man then becomes a dichotomy Ð he is a body and a soul. Because of the fall into sin, the body will return to dust and be destroyed. However, we have an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands.
Our bodies remind us that our years on this earth are limited. The length of our days are generally somewhere between seventy and eighty years. The obituaries in our newspapers pretty much bear that out. During our time on this earth, our bodies are fed from some of the finest kitchens. Then we get the rest we need. We get along very well.
However, Jesus is talking today about being the bread of life. “He who comes to me will never hunger, and he who believes in me will never thirst.” Jesus is telling us that our souls must also be fed. I am afraid most people give little or no consideration to feeding their souls. They feel that we are just another part of the creation, and we’ll get along the best that we can. We have things on this earth to strengthen our life.
Jesus is telling us that there is more to it than that. In the first letter of John, he writes a passage of scripture that is truly food to change your life if you really understand its meaning. The Lord Jesus Christ is speaking to the people through his Apostle John, and he makes it very clear that He alone is the way of salvation. “But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin. If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness” (I John 1:7-9). What spiritual food this is!
Stop and think of the number of things we do that are contrary to the will of God and the will of man. But here is a great promise from the Lord Jesus Christ that if we will confess our sin, no matter what it is, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins, and purify us from all unrighteousness. When Jesus Christ lives in you Ð when you not only have a head knowledge of him, but he also lives in your heart and your soul Ð he will forgive you.
If you are living today with some unconfessed sins and don’t know what to do with your guilt, come to him. Confess your sin Ð no matter what it may be Ð and place your faith in Jesus Christ. His Word says he will forgive you. That is the bread of life.
Isn’t that something we need? Isn’t it more important than other things that play a big role in our lives, such as our financial statement?
Paul talks about relationships between people in his letter to the Ephesian church. Relationships even between a husband and wife, between children and parents can become quite stormy at times. You may live with this particular situation for awhile until it finally gets to you.
As you sit with your Bible, you find the bread of life to feed your soul. “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you” (Ephesians 4:29-34).
You’ve exchanged angry words with your brother over the settling of your parent’s estate. Those words turned to bitterness, and you’ve carried difficult thoughts toward one another for a long time. One Christmas after another went by and you did not do what you should have done Ð go to him and wish him well. You used to enjoy spending Christmas together, but no longer.
The years go by and eventually your brother dies. You go to the funeral but don’t want to sit with the family. You’d rather sit in the back row of the church, all because you didn’t let the bread of life really come to you and get rid of your bitterness.
Sometimes people talk about what God wants them to give him, financially speaking. We pondered that question many times in our church.
One day a man directed me to II Corinthians chapter 9 where he said is God’s plan for stewardship. This portion of the bread of life has been my solution to the problems of finance in my congregation for a long time. Paul writes, “Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work” (vs. 6-8).
We pondered those words for a long time and came up with the basis of our stewardship program, which served us for many years and caused us to have more than enough to do the work we had to do in the ministry. Our stewardship theme was this: Give out of love to Christ in relationship to your faith.
Another one. Sometimes you feel very lonely. You feel like everybody has left you. No one is there to lift your spirit. So, in the quietness of your study, you open your Bible and learn that Jesus is always there. “I will never leave you, I will never forsake you.”
Who is feeding your soul? We may have enough material blessings to take care of us for awhile, but those blessings can soon disappear. What then?
As we age, we miss those with whom we have shared so much. Sooner or later, a spouse or child can be taken. Do I stand alone then? No, not at all, for the Bread of Life has said, “I am with you. I will never leave you, I will never forsake you. Come to me.”
Who is feeding your soul? Do you spend some time alone with the Lord Jesus Christ? Spend some time with Him in his Word every day. Open your Bible and let him really speak. Speak to him when all have gone to bed and the house is quiet. I find that to be where I get the most strength. I know Jesus has just spoken to me in a very special way. This is what he meant when he said, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never hunger, and he who believes in me shall never thirst.”
We are concerned about our aging bodies, and so we take care of them while we are here on this earth. May God give us the grace to see how important it is to also care for our souls by letting him speak to us everyday through these blessed promises.