Growing up in the South meant southern food was a staple. If you didn’t like sweet tea, grits, cantaloupe, tomato sandwiches, fried squash or biscuits then something was very wrong with you.
In my family, food was a very important focus of family time. Quality time we spent together always meant food was involved. Gathered around the table enjoying a southern feast was how our family connected. It was in those moments we shared life together.
Looking back on those times, I realize that absolutely every single meal ALWAYS had bread; buttered toast, orange rolls, loaf bread, dinner rolls, cornbread or biscuits- bread was never absent from the table!
What I find interesting in looking back on the days of bread…no one in my family was overweight, no one had any serious health issues and diet and body image wasn’t a main focus of our thoughts and attention.
Historically, bread has been a stable with archeological evidence dating back 30,000 years and to this day, for much of the world’s poor, bread/grains are life sustaining without them starvation is inevitable.
Now in our society, bread or grains have become taboo. I will not dispute that an unbalanced diet that is high in carbohydrates isn’t healthy. However, our culture has become obsessed with devoting our time, thoughts, talk and energies on our diet and body image.
What happened to cause such a drastic shift in our focus?
Could it be that we have become so obsessed with the physical
that we have completely neglected the spiritual?
Did you know that Jesus talked very specifically about bread and even declared that he was “the bread of life?”
"Very truly I tell you, the one who believes has eternal life. I am the bread of life. Your ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness, yet they died. But here is the bread that comes down from heaven, which anyone may eat and not die. I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats this bread will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world." – John 6:47-51
Jesus is the BREAD OF LIFE.
Jesus is the nourishment of our souls like bread is for our bodies.
So, how do you know if you really are more focused on the physical than the spiritual?
A good place to start is to look at your prayers.
First, do you pray? (If not, then you already have your answer.)
Second, if you do pray what do you pray for?
Are your prayers focused on the physical? Do your prayers pursue physical things like safety, provision, finances, a job, a house, a spouse, or even health/physical healing? All physical.
I’ve recently had to reflect hard on my own prayer life. For over 8 months now, I’ve been suffering with unexplained foot pain. It happened last year on vacation and my foot has never been the same. I’ve been to three different doctors and yet to have a real diagnosis other than ruling out possibilities. I’m now fighting bitterness, frustration and questions on why God isn’t answering my prayers for healing. I realized today that I’m becoming consumed with my focus on my physical pain.
I need to pause and consider that one of the greatest believers of Christ- the Apostle Paul, suffered much physical pain during his ministry to include beatings, stoning, imprisonment, poisonous snake bite and a “thorn in his flesh.”
Paul writes: “Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” – 2 Corinthians 12:7-10
The physical was never supposed to be our focus and trump the spiritual!
Therefore, may we concentrate on nourishing our souls wherein our pursuits and prayers are focused on God, His word, and what He wants to accomplish in our lives, despite what may be happening in our physical.
Let’s face it-we all know the physical will come to an end.
Yet, it is the spiritual that is everlasting.
If we shift our focus from the physical to the spiritual, could it be that everything else would fall into place and what God wants to accomplish will be fulfilled?
So, pass the bread of real nourishment that can be found only in Christ
and let’s start focusing on the spiritual, which is everlasting!
Father, when we are weak you are strong. May we focus our thoughts, concerns and attention on you and the things that are everlasting instead of the physical things of this life that are temporary. May we always have faith that you provide everything that we truly need and that we acknowledge that Jesus is the ultimate bread of life that sustains us in this lifetime and the next.
“Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. For on him God the Father has placed his seal of approval."– John 6:27