If you remember last time, we were looking at our ingredients. We looked at how we find and get ingredients.
So, what ingredients are we going to use? Let’s make a simple meal. Something balanced and palatable but accessible. Something with a few quality ingredients.
For a very simple meal, let’s use three basic ingredients:
- Real Food
First off, why do we include wine as an ingredient? And why is it first?
Wine is a digestive aid – helping us process parts of a meal. It is used in the Bible as a symbol of joy and the presence of the Holy Spirit. If you’re having difficulty swallowing something that you’ve begun to eat, a glass of wine (or water, for that matter) can help you wash it down.
But there’s another reason we’ve chosen wine – it has a tendency to help reveal who we are on the inside. That’s what the Holy Spirit does. The Spirit is a comforter, a teacher, a revealer of Christ, a revealer of what is in the hearts and minds of men, and convicts us (and the world) of sin. Regardless of your view of the ministry and manifestation of the Holy Spirit in the lives of believers today, do not leave the Spirit out of your spiritual life.
Bread is a symbol of the presence and the word of God. To steal and paraphrase from Tommy Tenney in God Chasers, how often do we find ourselves trying to entice believers and unbelievers with dry, stale, moldy bread?
We were not created to live on old bread (nor on bread alone – there’s another teaching in there) and it’s not what God wants for us or from us. In the tabernacle and temple, the priests were responsible for putting new bread in front of the Most Holy Place every day. How often do we sell ourselves and our God short by not putting the work into getting fresh bread?
The presence of God is real. The word of God is powerful. We must endeavor to make ourselves submitted to the word and presence of God.
We have bread and wine. They’re wonderful. They symbolize our brokenness and God’s completeness. They symbolize our communion with Him. They are symbols of our new life in Christ. But there’s more!
In the same way that our bodies need protein to live, so our spiritual bodies need protein. While it would be wonderful to live on a diet of nothing but the presence of God (bread) and the work of the Holy Spirit (wine), our lives would be unhealthy and short. We would be doing little more than eating spiritual carbs and washing them down with good feelings. We’d be fat, lazy, lethargic. That’s not the life that God has for us. No, no, no…there’s real food for our diet as well.
Real Food is often missing from our spiritual lives. What is it? Jesus told us that the meat he had was to do the will of the Father (John 4:32). Meat is putting hands and feet to our faith; saying to God “I believe you and I’ll do what you ask as best I can, trusting completely in you, knowing that I’m unable to please you without your help.”
In a word, obedience. It’s doing the will of the Father, which includes the presence of God and the ministry of the Holy Spirit.
But it’s so much more – when we are doing the will of God, we partner with God (come alongside to be part of what he’s doing) and experience his presence in more areas of our lives.
What should we obey? The word of God. How do we know the word of God, as we read, study, meditate, and go through our lives, the Holy Spirit reveals it to us.
Working with the food is sometimes difficult. It may be tough and need tenderizer. It may be stale and need to marinate. It may be undercooked and need to be heated up. It may be bland and need seasoning. But man, when we’re done with the hard parts, the food is excellent!
As we do our part to prepare spiritual food, we will discover that the greatest work is being done on us rather than by us and that the greatest difficulty is us in the hands of God. But as we submit ourselves to him, following in His will (to love God first, our neighbor as ourselves – and to express that love), all else will fall into his place.
Join me next time as we start preparing the food.