The Bread is Not Stale

I’ve been dealing with anxiety like I never have before in my life. My personal poetry and scribblings have sounded more like lyrics that might guo with the world’s smallest violin than anything you’d probably be interested in reading or hearing.

I realized something last night. Some of the things we ask and pine for are more hours in a day, more organization, more patience, more provision, more advancement in skills that will help us do well with what has been entrusted to us. Variables to an equation we think equals success. Things have not been adding up for a few months, and I’ll tell you the truth- the enemy has has been lurking. I have been tempted to quit- quit what, I don’t know. Quit everything. I have naturally fallen short in every area, and I’ve felt the burden of that heavily. I’ve been trying to do well with things I see that are mine, but it seems they turn to liquid when I finally touch them.

My friend was sharing about things in her life and confessed yesterday, “I need to believe that daily bread is enough. Do I have food? Thank you, Lord. Do I have clothes and a home? Thank you, Lord.”

She was referring to the prayer Jesus gave his disciples as a guide and framework to understand how to pray.

Our Father who is in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. Forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us. Lead us not into temptation, but delivers for evil. Yours is the kingdom, the power, the glory forever and ever.  Amen.

I have digested the Lord’s prayer, and I would typically claim to understand it. I probably would have even been able to teach on it if prompted- and I say that more confessing foolishness and ignorance that I was unaware of until last night. The transformative revelation of this “daily bread” hasn’t been realized to me until last night. (I hope you know the difference between knowing something, and it becoming a sovereign truth that become a part of who you are and how you do everything.)

When I was driving home from this meeting, it felt like someone had punched me in the stomach. My eyes burned as I confessed to the Lord that I don’t know that I have ever worked out the belief that daily bread is enough for me. I’ve struggled with impatience, a hot temper, and erratic mood swings induced by stress for as long as I can remember. My storehouse tends to always feel scarce. Recently I told someone “I literally don’t have anything to give anyone.” Isn’t it incredible when we start to ask the Lord to step into a space to heal it, He actually does it, first of all, and His ways of doing so are so much more gentle and precise than we could imagine?

I’ve been reading about this “bread” all day today, and if you’re like me and you feel like you read the Word, you pray basically without ceasing, you practice your faith, but you don’t seem to be FILLED- and you wonder “what is wrong with me?!”, just keep reading.

Many of us know the story of Moses and Aaron leading the people into the wilderness, and what happened there. There were thousands of hungry and thirsty folks wondering if they were leading them from slavery into slow and miserable death. Moses cried out to God, and God said, “Look, I am about to rain bread from heaven for you, and the people shall go out and gather a day’s portion every day, that I may test them, whether they will walk in my law or not. On the sixth day, when they prepare what they bring in, it will be twice as much as they gather daily.”

So the people were starving, grumbling, wondering if they’d been saved from heinous slavery or tricked into starvation, and God said, “I’m going to multiply what you gather.” Go read it for yourselves if you think I’m twisting it. Exodus 16

Thousands of years later, Jesus said, “I am the bread of life.” So I skipped over to John 6, right after Jesus feeds all the people by impossible means. (Sound familiar?) Thousands of people again, surrounded Him, hungry after journeying to see Him do miracles and signs. (They were also seeking deliverance from slavery in a way that they couldn’t quite identify.) There was a little boy who had five loaves of barley bread and some fish. Yeah, that’s what they were working with. One of his guys told him, “Two hundred denarii worth of bread would not be enough for each of them to eat a little.” So basically, it would cost roughly a gazillion dollars to feed these people. He told his disciples to have everyone sit down. I wonder if one of the disciples were scared that Jesus was going to delegate a bread runner to the closest village to see what the bakery had. What baker in that time would have that much bread on hand? I honestly don’t know, but I doubt they foresaw what was coming next.

“Jesus then took the loaves, and when he had given thanks, he distributed them to those who were seated. So also the fish, as much as they wanted. And when they had eaten their fill, he told his disciples, ‘Gather up the leftover fragments, that nothing may be lost.’“ John 6:11-12

The crowd pursued Jesus because they realized who He was and were ready to overthrow the government and make Him king, and he eluded them. (6:15) There was no way they could have understood then His plan for establishing His kingdom. No one understood what was coming. He went on to the next place after joining his disciples (walks on water, NBD), and the crowd followed him there. When they found Him, he said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you are seeking me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate your fill of loaves. Do not work for food that perishes, but for the food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you. For on him God the Father has set his seal.”

I hope this makes sense to Christians reading this, but I believe our  cultural “food” we believe will fill us and that we have an appetite for most of the time has nothing to do with having our fill of the Holy Spirit. We seek Jesus to be productive, to have enough to make it through the day, to be the gas we burn- “a little coffee and a whole lot of Jesus”. That’s what Jesus is talking about. Don’t come to me to get filled up like I could ever drain out of you, come to me and know me and understand me. Be filled, because I am in you and you are in me, and I am in the Father always. (John 17). We are called to live filled. Jesus is not the gas to our new Christian tanks. If we would look at our relationship with God less like a meter and more like life-source, we’d truly be rooted (unmoving) and established (sure and confident) in Truth and be compelled to learn from it in an ongoing fashion. We go to God because we love Him and we trust that He has something new for us each time in his infinite wisdom. We go to Him because we’re feeling dead/ tired to the marrow, and only He can revive us. He is our forever Teacher, our Father, and our Friend. Whoever eats of this bread, drinks of this body, will have their fill- and it will be more than enough. Jesus said in chapter 10, “the enemy comes to steal, kill, and destroy, but I’ve come to to give you abundant life.” Living in abundance is living with access to more than what we need.

Someone made a bunch of money writing a book about Jesus + nothing, because that’s the reality. We don’t need as much as we think we do, because He is more than enough. There’s no check list. As my friend says, “scarcity in God’s economy is a lie.”

Jesus later said, “Do you take offense to this? Then what if you were to see the Son of Man ascending to where he was before? It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh is no help at all. The words I have spoken to you are spirit and life. But there are some of you who do not believe.” (For Jesus knew from the beginning who those were who did not believe, and who it was who would betray him.) And he said, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by the Father.”

The flesh can’t help you. I’ve been walking with the Lord a while now- a short stint compared to some of my friends, but we know He shows us things we were blind to before as we seek Him. He connects dots that we didn’t know were dots to begin with, much less that they needed connecting to understand what we’re even looking at. He’s faithful to complete what He starts, and I believe He’s doing a new thing in me and in you.

Jesus is the bread of life. Nothing else will sustain you with longevity or satisfaction like Him. It has to be the Spirit of God. Jesus said it, “the flesh can’t help you” here or anywhere. In Christ, you’re enough. Without Him, you can rock the shirt, “I can’t even.” Cause you just can’t.

If you think that “the bread” is not enough, and you need other stuff, can I ask what gospel you’re believing? Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life, no one comes to the Father except through me.” Do you think you have another formula? There was no “especially when they are diligent in exercise, convert this many people to Christ, and have $x,xxx,xxx in their bank account.” The bread of life, who is Jesus, is enough. Seeking first the kingdom means a death to some other priorities. Is hitting the gym or serving the homeless more of a priority for you than living in the fullness of God’s presence? We have to live our life and make disciples, but do you think you can do that without being fed the good stuff?

The bread is not stale. Never. We all go through seasons where reading the Bible isn’t a romantic encounter of revelation and whimsy. Maturity is doing things because we know they’re the right thing to do. I take vitamins that taste disgusting. I whine a little every time my husband reminds me. (I love him for it. And it’s proof he wants me around. I’ll take it.) But seriously, I do it, because my body needs it. If I don’t take them for a day or two, I don’t notice a huge difference, but if I miss a week, things are starting to wobble off balance. It’s no different than our spirit and soul sustenance. When I start to think that the Bread of Life is stale, it’s really me who is stale, and I need refreshment that only God can give.

My prayer for you is that you’d experience the presence of God in a new way, the way He’s doing for me, that I’ve needed desperately. He doesn’t withhold pertinent things from us. Jesus came to give us the sweetest gift. Himself. In this is salvation, redemption, restoration, healing, power, authority over our enemy, tactics to thwart the schemes of the evil one, and supernatural insight to what’s happening around us, and all this comes only from the Holy Spirit of God, the spirit of Christ. The Helper. The Comforter. The Teacher of all the things that Jesus taught. Did you realize that? Every time you understand something of God, it is evidence that the Spirit of God is at work in your life. He wants our hearts to know fullness of joy and our minds to know full knowledge so crazy bad. Start noticing. Be open and listen. Train your appetite to be for what will keep you alive. Which is incredibly ironic because I’m doing Whole 30, which banishes anything close to bread from my life for 30+ days, but there’s one form of bread I can’t give up.

Love y’all.

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