Living as a person who is hungry
I've seen this phrase on T-shirts and art prints everywhere, "I'm sorry for what I said when I was hungry." And it's funny, because most of us can relate. Who hasn't been in a situation when they were ready to eat a meal, feeling hungry, and then felt like they couldn't focus or be nice to anyone until they ate? I have experienced this at wedding receptions without appetizers, on long car rides, and even at parties when I've had to wait and wait for the food to finally be served (wishing I would have snuck a granola bar in my purse). Of course I was physically present, but my mind was focused on one thing, "When is the food coming? I'm hungry!" This state can lead to distraction and irritability...hence needing to apologize after you've eaten for what you said.
- Can be irritable and easily angered
- Can have a difficult time focusing on anything but meeting their own needs
- Can be more likely to consume unhealthy food because they just want to feel full
We know this about ourselves physically, that when we let ourselves get too hungry, there is no telling what we will do! Similar things can happen when we hunger spiritually, and interestingly the bible draws many parallels to this pop culture recognition of huger and the heart.
As the Israelites were journeying through the wilderness after the Exodus from Egypt, they started to get hungry. The desert didn't provide much (if any) opportunities for food, so they grumbled at Moses and Aaron, but really, they grumbled at God. Without having their physical need for food met, they had a hard time focusing on or accomplishing much else. So God, being merciful and patient, provided for their needs by sending daily manna (bread) from heaven. Each day they were to gather this bread, eating just what they needed to sustain them that day, and trusting God to bring manna again the next day. The only exception being the Sabbath day, where they were to rest and eat that which God had provided to them the day before.
While this manna was significant to the Israelites at the time, as God tested their faith, it was even more importantly a sign pointing to a greater form of manna (bread) that God would send over a thousand years later.
Jesus says, "I am the bread of life." and "I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread he will live forever." (John 6:48, 51)
Just as God gave the Israelites manna so that they could daily humble themselves and trust in God's provision for them, God gives us Jesus so that we can daily 'eat of him' and live. It is telling that God didn't just give the Israelites manna once a month, once a week, or once a year. He didn't say, "just go gather this occasionally and save a bunch to live off of for a long time." The Israelites had to wake up each day hungry, and then have faith for their bread that day. In the same way, Jesus isn't something we partake of occasionally, hoping we can live off of a little truth for weeks or months, but someone we need to connect with daily to be filled.
Jesus says, "If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me." (Luke 9:23)
We see from the symbolism of the manna and from Jesus' own words that there is significance in eating of the true bread of life each and every day so we can be filled spiritually.
Living as a person who is full
Just like a person who is hungry can't really focus on anything except for their stomach, we have a difficult time truly serving God and others when we are spiritually hungry. We might be able to fake it on the outside for a while, but eventually we will break our cover and reveal the starving nature of our heart. This might come across as anger, irritability, a word spoken harshly, or even a failure to notice what someone really needs. It's hard to truly love others when you are hungry.
But on the contrary, a person who is full can just rest and pay attention to other things. They are at peace and are less likely to fill themselves up with meaningless and temporal things in order to sustain them for a time. Full people can start to think about things other than themselves. Eating of the true bread of life, Jesus, is not something we do daily so we can check it off of our to-do list, but it's as crucial to our existence as eating food. We don't wake up in the morning thinking that we can just survive on what we ate last week, we recognize our need for food to sustain us that very day.
Only in a relationship with Jesus Christ can we function as we should with God and others. First we have to be filled by the true bread of life, and then that overflows, reaching every aspect of our lives. Full people can be a blessing!
*The journal pictured above was purchased through Life Lived Beautifully on ETSY. This is an amazing tool, and I would definitely recommend one to anyone who prefers a 'guided' journal for quiet time instead of just blank pages.