Jesus said “I am the bread of life” (John, 6:35). He said that whoever comes to him will not go hungry and will never be thirsty. So why do we so often find ourselves in a famine or drought? Let me tell you a little about my story, maybe you can relate.
I grew up striving
It seemed impossible to please my mother, and as any child’s logic would understand, if I am not loved, its because I am not lovable. Good grades did not make me lovable. Obedience did not make me lovable. Hard work did not make me lovable. Yet here I am striving for even a glimpse of change, that she might see me as someone she was proud of and could bear to be around. While it was not her fault, nor mine, these are things beyond my understanding as a 4, 5, 6 year old child.
…through rebellion, rock bottom, salvation, and now the Christian life. I am a child of God – that is what the song says, right? Yes, and while God re-raised me from the ground up, this is still earth, and sin still has consequences. The sin that caused the hurt, the hurt that caused mistreatment, the mistreatment that caused rejection, and the rejection that caused this broken identity all lead me to occasionally question: Jesus, if I am a “new creation” as you say I am (2 Corinthians, 5:17), why am I still in this place of famine? Why am I still striving?
Stop for a second. Did you catch that? Jesus did not sin, hurt, mistreat, or reject me, yet he is who I question when I feel unsatisfied. That is good, that I address all my worries, fears, doubts to Him, but….
Can I challenge you (and myself) a little?
Maybe a lot. Is it possible that you and I are unconsciously accusing Jesus of not doing what he said he would? Are we trusting fully, or do we have doubts? There is an underlying belief there, as our hearts ask the question, that Jesus is withholding something from us.
And so, subtly yet predictably, the serpent strikes again. Subtle because we do not realize we are doubting Jesus (no condemnation here, more of a heart check). Predictable because its the same old trick: “Did God really say…?”
I encourage you, my sister in Christ
We know Jesus is without fault, and while the enemy and sin are at the true center of the hurtful experiences you may have had in your past, I encourage you, sister in Christ, to seek out the root of this self-imposed hunger strike. Not that this lack of satisfaction is any kind of punishment for not working hard enough, nor to imply that this is our own fault and we “get what we deserve”. Not at all. That would result in ungodly shame and guilt, and in striving yet again. We seek out the root because when we identify the reasons why we continue to find ourselves unsatisfied – the reason why we seek satisfaction in things other than Jesus – we find the antidote and we find our way back to Him.
For me, the root was my childhood striving for my mother’s affection. If I can be real, becoming a Christian does not change my experience. But placing Jesus above my hurt (meditating on His word more than on my feelings and wrong thoughts) does change my heart, my response, and my perception. I can stop looking to what I can do to bring myself satisfaction, and instead focus on the power of Jesus Christ to fill every longing in my heart, one solitary hour at a time.
In other words, as we try to fill our lives with what we think will satisfy us, according to the Word, even – work as if for The Lord, marry a good husband, have godly friendships, engage in ministry each week – we may be finding we have left little room for the One who made it all possible, and for His love that ultimately satisfies us.
Jesus said “I am the Bread of Life”.John 6:35
The Israelites, a few verses prior to his statement in the book of John, asked for a sign, “such as the manna” God sent from heaven in the old testament (John 6:30-31). The were following Jesus for the signs and wonders, and for the provision, not to be in relationship with Him. What they (and we) need to realize is that manna is a blessing, that comes from God. It’s just a piece of bread. One of many. Here today and gone tomorrow. But Jesus is The Bread, not generic, not replaceable. Everlasting and infinite; abundant and inexhaustible. He is the source of all satisfaction, Our creator and the only one who can fill the need He placed for Himself in our hearts.
Finding Our Way Back to Him
I have learned this week, sister, and hope that this might help you as well, that I will never be fully satisfied through the blessings God gives me. Even children, a true and lovely blessing, cannot satisfy your deepest need. Only Jesus, the Bread of Life can satisfy you. Everything else is a blessing to color our lives with beauty, and with which we can impact the world around us. I pray we put our hope in Jesus, so we don’t lean on the blessings he’s given us and the work he’s called us to as if these were God himself. In the Name of Jesus, pray with me that we place Him back on the alter, where only He can fully satisfy our hearts.