UCAN sharing: Feast or famine
Scripture: Jn 6:53-58
The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you—they are full of the Spirit and life. Jn 6:63
Satisfy: to fulfill the desires, expectations, needs, or demands of (a person, the mind, etc.); give full contentment to:
A person is hungry so they decide to stop and eat at their favorite fast food place. They enjoy the meal and believe that they have eaten but they have not. Our bodies need certain things to function well. It also needs to avoid certain things so as not to become toxic. Fast food fails in both of these. We consume it and it has bad stuff in it that we don’t need like excess sugar and fat. It lacks what we really need like nutrients to build us up yet daily millions of people eat and leave starving. In a similar way, Jesus points out that only He can provide the stuff upon which we can receive and really live. Then just like those people present with Him we too have the choice to either feast with God or starve with the world.
In 1965 the rock band the Rolling Stones released a song entitled “I can’t get no satisfaction”. In it they sang about the dissatisfaction and frustration of life. This is an amazing statement coming from a group that has enjoyed the pleasures and fame of the world for so long. But sadly what many still don’t see is that no matter what this world gives us it will never satisfy. This truth has been echoed throughout all time even King Solomon who had riches and pleasures in large quantity found it all “meaningless, meaningless, a chasing after the wind.” (Ecc 1:14).
Yet despite this, millions of people today still pursue satisfaction through worldly things only to gain an emptiness that leaves a person far worse than when they started. Like the fast food which is not true food we consume the world’s lies believing and wanting it to be good and thus we suffer from spiritual malnutrition and become toxic in our spirit because we are taking in all the lies and filth of this world. All this we do this with an appetite for more and more, telling ourselves how great it is and how wonderful our lives are when we have it. People run to feast on the things of this world. Willingly sacrificing to gain what is perceived to be good. Whether it is standing in a long line to get the latest mobile phone or spending a lot of money to go to a concert to worship false idols or consuming endless amounts of bad food, people have no lack of motivation to feast on what starves them.
Christians must come to see that what the world offers comes at a price and never gives what lasts or is best for us. Much of what is sold is done through careful and clever marketing. Designed to present a useless and even harmful thing as necessary and beneficial. We believe in the deceptions because they appeal to our sense of desire. It is all made to look wonderful before our eyes thus stirring up the flames of desire so that we are easily led astray. There is a story from several years ago when iPhones were really popular that a young man desiring the phone sold a kidney (we have two) to purchase the phone. Whether this is true or not it doesn’t matter but it reflects who we are in the face of worldly desires. We can’t get enough because there is no satisfaction.
Jesus drives home the idea that the world has nothing to offer us by pointing out how those who are rich are so hindered in finding Him. Jesus makes a powerful statement of impossibility for those who pursue worldly satisfaction by stating that it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter heaven (Lk. 18:24-25). The reason for this is that once we have been consuming worldly tastes, good things, money, pleasures, comfort and enjoying life our way, turning to a selfless life in Christ seems unappealing. Our spiritual appetite is for worldly things and we find it difficult to desire spiritual things. This is why so many Christians struggle to pray, attend church in a meaningful way and read their bibles. It isn’t that we are too busy or can’t but rather it is we don’t want to. We are addicted to the taste of this world and find the taste of God uninviting. Jesus makes it very clear that if we are not in Him we have no life in us. Yet many Christians remain chained to their love for the tastes of this world. Jesus came to offer us something greater.
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. Jn. 10:10
There is a life feast waiting for those who are truly hungry for truth and life and are willing to go after Him with all they have. In the same way a person may pay hundreds of dollars to change the way they look or wear designer clothes we Christians are called to pursue the feast that God has for us with zeal and willingness. There must be no boundaries or restriction on what God can ask or do in our lives. Just as people sit in the freezing cold to support their favorite team we should be willing to be changed to be more like Christ and then go and love and touch other lives wherever and whenever. God makes it clear that unless we give our all to Christ and make Him our first love than we have no life at all. As Jesus said we can gain the world but lose our souls so what is the profit in this? (Lk 9:25).
When we make the decision to give our entire life to Christ from our heart something powerful happens, God responds. He pours out His Spirit on us to enable us to see and experience Him. When we put Him first God gives His word to remain in us (V56). We are intimately connected to the very source of all life. God is all light and love and in Him there is no shadow or darkness (James 1:17, Jn 1:4). There is never a moment of lack, lust, brokenness or any kind of evil. God is pure joy and life and this can be hard to accept but if we are willing and surrender all to Him, He will give us revelations that lead us to experience His person and this is life (Jn 17:3).
Throughout Christian history millions of people have done radical turnarounds simply because they chose to meet and follow Jesus. It must be the whole heart (Matt. 22:37). For if we love the world even a little it will war on what God puts in us and the flesh which is like a fire will demand more and more of what kills us (Gal. 5:9). So God calls us to let go of this world for Him. The life we receive from Jesus must be passed from Christ to us by the Holy Spirit daily. Daily we eat physical food to sustain our bodies but we must also eat of spiritual food that comes only by being with God intimately. So as we feast at God’s table, saying no to our fleshly desires we grow to love the taste of God. We begin to experience freedoms from the lusts that bind us and bring us down (Heb. 12:1). What we thought was good doesn’t appeal to us anymore. Our taste for godly things increases and this leads us to draw closer to God and seek Him intimately not because we must or even because of need but simply because we want to be with Him. In this way we become one with Him and He with us.
Many of the people who heard this teaching from Jesus abandoned him (Jn 6:66). What Jesus said had offend them though it is truth. They would rather eat at the world’s table than God’s. We all have to make a choice. Often Christians make partial choices, giving in some areas but holding out in others. Take some time to search your heart and honestly ask yourself are there areas of your life that God can’t ask you to give up? Be diligent to observe your motivations and the fruit of your life. If you are feast with Christ then the fruits of the Spirit should be clearly seen. You can’t remain in sin or the same way you use to live (Eph 2:1-10) and enjoy the presence of God. Sin separates us from God (Isa. 59:2). As you willingly seek and yield more of your life to God he will become more real to you and show Himself to you. God’s table is set for you to enjoy and be filled with His peace, joy and love but it requires you leave your old life behind. All of it has to go to feast with Christ.
Do we love God enough to make Him first in our lives above all else?
If so then enter in to Christ’s presence and partake of His goodness.
If you are willing and obedient, You shall eat the good of the land; Isa. 1:19