by CVC Founding Pastor Rick Duncan
Last Sunday, I spoke about coming to Christ to get food for the famished. I had to cut big chunks out of my sermon prep. So, for those of you who might have wanted to hear a little more, here you go!
We are living in a world surrounded by people who are seeking to satisfy themselves in a million ways apart from Christ. And it will never work. So, Jesus wants us to come to Him and get bread to take to them.
God’s goal is not to get us to simply stop sinning and obey a bunch of religious rules. It’s to help us find our heart hungers satisfied in Him. Coming to Him as Bread is what satisfies. So, the work of God’s Spirit is to turn our appetites away from trying to feed ourselves.
Satan is always trying to get us to turn to something created – a person, a job, an accomplishment, money, sex, power – into bread. But none of this will satisfy. We were made to be satisfied by Jesus.
And Jesus alone.
Some of us think, “I’m too busy to be involved in trying to feed somebody else spiritually. Jesus is just asking me to do too much.” But remember that He said that His workload is light (Matthew 11:28-30). He’s not a “do more, try harder” Savior.
He will encourage you to stop eating Twinkies – to stop filling up your life with what can never satisfy.
Just keep coming to Him for bread for your own soul and for bread that you can share with somebody else. As you do this, you’ll find the pace of your life getting, more meaningful, and maybe even slower.
When we feast on Jesus…
He satisfies us.
He gratifies us.
He beautifies us.
He fortifies us.
He sanctifies us.
So, when we encourage you to read your Bible, it’s not so you can get some brownie points with God. It’s not even primarily so you can get some moral or ethical lesson on how to live your life. It’s so you can find and then feed on Jesus as your Bread – as sustenance for your soul. And then, as you go about your day, you can share out of the overflow – out of your breadbasket – extra bread for the folks around you who are famished!
You might be thinking, “I’m a follower of Jesus. But I’m not satisfied. I’m still trying to feed my soul with things that leave me empty. Honestly, I’m busy, but empty. I live with a low-grade emptiness that rarely goes away. And, truth be told, I’m burned out a little by my church-going and volunteering. What gives? Am I missing something?”
Yes! You are missing something. Sometimes, I miss it, too!
You know Jesus as the Bread of life? Check! But we can know about Him as the Bread and still miss the “secret of the satisfied life.”
The secret is not merely to do things FOR Jesus. But to feed ON Jesus!
We think that this Christian life is about going to church, singing songs, saying prayers, serving others, loving enemies, turning the other cheek, rejoicing in suffering – all good things. But focusing on DOING is a strategy bound to fail to give you satisfaction in your life.
We need a lifestyle of coming to Jesus as our Bread of life.
If you’re not finding satisfaction in Jesus, you have to know this:
Every strategy in your life is perfectly designed to get the results it gets. If you aren’t experiencing a deeper and deeper level of satisfaction in your life – if you are chronically stressed and burned out with little sense of the presence of God and unable to find joy in the little things of life, odds are good that something in your life is off. Something is out of whack.
Now, what is our sin? It’s not so much the lying, cheating, and stealing. Or the greed, the gluttony, and the gambling. They are not good things. But they are symptoms of something deeper. Our deeper sin is that we have tried to satisfy our hunger in places apart from Jesus!
Our problem is that, left on our own, we won’t ever really want to be satisfied by Jesus. Naturally, we have no appetite for Him. That’s why we go for the Twinkies! Our only hope is that the Spirit of God will create in us a hunger for Jesus.
In order for the disciples to continue to get food for the multitudes, they had to keep going back to Jesus over and over. What does that look like for you? And me?
Unhurried time with God.
- A Bible Reading Plan.
- Great worship music.
- Silence and solitude.
- A slower pace of life.
- Memorization and meditation on large chunks of Scripture.
- Holy noticing/Christian Mindfulness.
- Reading great books.
Take a look at that list. Ask God which one He is drawing you to most. Pick one. Write it down. Figure out a way to add that opportunity to your life.
If we don’t change our lives so we have time for these kinds of things, then Jesus will never truly satisfy our souls. He won’t be our Bread. And we won’t have food to share with anyone else.