So much is spoken by us during this time of year about changing our eating habits or dieting that I feel compelled to speak about our spiritual diets. We all know that maintaining a proper diet is much more difficult than starting one. So here at the beginning of 2012, let us ask the Holy Spirit to give us His spiritual diet recommendations.
I think the statement, “we are what we eat,” supremely applies in the realms of the Spirit. I believe it is obvious in both the natural and the spiritual that there is no change without giving our bodies or our spirits the right amounts and types of food. Health benefits come by feeding both our bodies and our spirits on that which gives us the proper nutrients and vitamins. It is very possible to gorge ourselves daily and yet have our body’s health suffer from the lack of necessary proteins, vitamins, and minerals. This gravely affects our body’s resistance to outside attacks because our immune system is compromised. All of this parallels our spiritual lives as well. If our spiritual inward man is to be strong, then it is a matter of not what, but whom we eat.
In John 6:48-65 our Lord made it very clear to His disciples that true life, eternal life, life in the Spirit, was by one means and one alone: the eating of the Lord Himself.
I am the bread of life. Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. This is the bread which comes down out of heaven, so that one may eat of it and not die. I am the living bread that came down out of heaven; if anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread also which I will give for the life of the world is My flesh.”
Then the Jews began to argue with one another, saying, “How can this man give us His flesh to eat?” So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in yourselves. He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. For My flesh is true food, and My blood is true drink. He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him. As the living Father sent Me, and I live because of the Father, so he who eats Me, he also will live because of Me. This is the bread which came down out of heaven; not as the fathers ate and died; he who eats this bread will live forever.” These things He said in the synagogue as He taught in Capernaum.
Therefore many of His disciples, when they heard this said, “This is a difficult statement; who can listen to it?” But Jesus, conscious that His disciples grumbled at this, said to them, “Does this cause you to stumble? What then if you see the Son of Man ascending to where He was before? It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing; the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and are life. But there are some of you who do not believe.” For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were who did not believe, and who it was that would betray Him. And He was saying, “For this reason I have said to you, that no one can come to Me unless it has been granted him from the Father.”
The immediate comparison was the type of the manna which God gave to Israel in the wilderness. This bread from Heaven was a type foreshadowing the True Bread that the Father would give, His Son. The fathers ate the natural bread in the wilderness and there died, but the true bread, who came out of heaven, gives eternal life. In fact, Christ declared Himself to be the Living Bread who gives life. However, lest we miss the primary emphasis, the Lord must be eaten.
In verse 53, the Lord declares that unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in yourself. This should have reminded them and us of the Exodus 12 passage as well, but they were struggling with His analogy: “Many considering this a difficult statement stopped following Him.” The Lord was giving them spiritual truth at its best, but they were unable to receive it because of their lack of spiritual understanding and revelation. Christianity has never been about dogma, doctrines, theology, or certain teachings. It is an experience if it is anything. That experience is being a partaker, an eater of Christ Who is the divine nature.
We will stay with this for the next several sharings, but let me suggest to us that eating is superior to all other types of encounters, visions, dreams, voices, reading, studying, researching, and learning of languages. If we will not eat, we face spiritual decline. Christ is the true food given and He causes true growth, understanding, and revelation, and brings His own increase.