Saturday, May 18, 2013

Water and Oil: What’s for Breakfast?

Nutritionists say that breakfast is the most important meal. If we eat a wholesome breakfast before we start our day, it kicks our metabolism into high gear, fueling our bodies and our minds for the challenges we will face. 

But if we run out the door on an empty stomach or grab a jelly donut as we go, we are sure to run out of gas before we accomplish anything worthwhile.

Our spiritual food is even more crucial to our wellbeing than what we eat. Yet too often we starve our soul by not starting each day with a healthy serving of our daily bread – God’s Word (Matthew 6:11; Luke 11:3).

As we have seen in recent posts, water and oil in Scripture symbolize The Living Waters (Jeremiah 2:13) and the Holy Spirit, our true source of spiritual as well as physical nourishment. Water and oil, along with other nutrients, combine in milk, bread and meat – basic food groups that sustain us.

The blend of water and oil (butterfat) in breast milk, along with protein and other nutrients, make it the perfect food for the newborn infant.  For those who are born again (John 3:5-8), the “sincere milk” of God’s Word is the best food to nurture their soul as they taste God’s grace (1 Peter 2:2-3). Babes in Christ first need to ingest basic Gospel truths – that Jesus, Son of God, died to pay our sin debt, was buried, and rose again, so that all who trust Him have eternal life (1 Corinthians 15:1-4;. John 3:16).

As the infant matures into a child and then an adult, milk continues to be a dietary staple. Each day in the mature believer’s life should begin with a refreshing, nourishing drink of Gospel milk. As His Word reminds us of His mercy, love, and grace, we can taste and see that the Lord is good (Psalm 34:8).

God in His provision blessed us with other foods to be introduced into the diet of the growing child. Bread is also made with water and oil, which bind together the wheat or other grain providing protein. The amino acids, or building blocks of protein, in bread complement those in milk, so that a diet of bread and milk contains all the protein needed for good health.  Milk and shredded wheat, oatmeal or other whole grain cereal, unadulterated with added sugars, make a complete breakfast.

God fed His people with manna – heavenly bread – that He provided fresh each day as they wandered through the wilderness on their way to the Promised Land (Exodus 16:4-35). In the spiritual desert of this world, believers continue to need the daily bread of God’s Word. Like the manna, we cannot gorge ourselves with it on Sunday and hoard the leftovers for the rest of the week – we must assimilate it daily.

Not only does His daily bread feed our own soul, but we need to digest it fully so that we can share it with others, witnessing as we cast our bread upon the waters (Ecclesiastes 11:1). We should never underestimate the power of God’s Word to impact others, for He can take even the smallest amount of daily bread that we are willing to give back to Him and multiply it beyond measure, as He did with the miracle of the loaves and fishes! (John 6 :5-14)

Jesus Himself is the Bread of Life, and we should start each day by turning to Him in prayer and reflection on His Word (John 6 :33-51). As we break bread at our first meal of the day, may we remember the Lord’s death until He comes again (1 Corinthians 11:24-26). Our Savior allowed His body to be broken for us, to take the punishment required for all our sins, to appease the wrath of perfectly holy and just God and to reconcile repentant sinners to Him (Romans 3:25; 1 John 2:2 ; 4:10).

Seasoned believers in Christ should not be content with milk alone, but to hunger for the “strong meat” of the Word (Hebrews 5:12-14). In terms of edible food, “meat” in Bible days could include a variety of solid foods: not only beef or lamb, but also fish (e.g. Luke 24:42). These foods are derived from animal muscle, which is mostly water with a rich store of protein and essential fats, or oils, such as omega-3-fatty acids in ocean fish. These dietary oils are vital for heart, joint and brain health. As some of us may remember, cod liver oil tastes terrible but builds strong bodies!

“Strong meat” of the Word may contain “hard sayings” (John 6:60) that are hard to swallow. Specifically, the Living Bread (John 6:51). told His disciples that if they ate His flesh and drank His blood, they would live forever (John 6:50-58). Clearly He was not referring to cannibalism, but to the need of each believer to consume His truths, Word, and lifestyle so completely that they became part of their very being. Only then would He dwell in them and they in Him (John 6:56).

When we have sinned, eating God’s Word is as necessary as strong medicine when we are sick, but it is not always pleasant. John found that eating the “little book” prophesying God’s judgment to be sweet on the lips, but bitter in his belly (Revelation 10:9-10). If we are to grow in His grace and become more conformed to His image, we must examine ourselves even in light of the hard sayings, and incorporate their truths in our very being.

As we grow in our Christian walk, we should not be content with only spiritual milk of basic Bible truths in the Gospels, but we should sink our teeth into the meatier passages in the Epistles, or letters, from Paul and other apostles, and even the prophetic passages in Revelation.

We are what we eat, and our first meal of the day prepares us to function at full capacity. A healthy breakfast fuels our body, and a satisfying helping of God’s Word energizes our spirit, to run the race He has set before us (1 Corinthians 9:24; Hebrews 12:1) and to fight the good fight as soldiers in His army (1 Timothy 6:12; 2 Timothy 4:7). No athlete should set out to run a marathon without nourishing his body properly, and no child of God should leap into the daily spiritual battle (Ephesians 6:10-18) without renewing their mind (Romans 12:2) in prayer and in His Word. 

© 2013 Laurie Collett
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Denise said...

Well written.

Nadwrażliwiec said...

Last time I have been reading a lot of books of prophets from Old Testament. I discovered, how justice and love are two sides of God's nature. I think, that it is also good teaching for our spiritual growth. I know people, who think, that we should read only New Testament, but I disagree with that. We can find there prophecies about last days and about Christ (it is important to understant them - not only for apologetics), and words of wisdom - from Psalms and Proverbs.
Thanks for excellent post.
Greetings for You and have a blessed week!

Anonymous said...

Excellent Laurie! All so true! We have to gather our Manna in the MORNINGS before the sun comes out and dries it up (just like Israel had to do). I think you wrote this beautifully, and this week I will work on gathering my Manna first thing in the morning. Thank you for this reminder!!! ♥♥♥

Laurie Collett said...

Thanks, Denise! God bless,

Laurie Collett said...

Dear Zim,
Jesus is in every book of the Bible, and there is so much to learn from each verse. 2 Timothy 3:16: All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.
Blessings and greetings to you,

Laurie Collett said...

Great point, Cathy -- our daily bread fresh each morning, so we can act on His fresh thought for us. Thank you so much for your sweet comment, and God bless!

Brenda said...

Lovely post Laurie,
I enjoy good food, especially fruit and olives with dates and cheese and freshly baked bread, but the spiritual food is the food that really sustains me. Yes, we have to pick up our manna every day in order to stay in constant touch with the Lord. God bless

Laurie Collett said...

Thanks, Brenda! I'm fond of those foods as well. But we can't live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.
God bless,

Frank E. Blasi said...

Dear Laurie,
Many years ago a preacher once said,
"You must not be New Testament Christians."
He then paused, watching the congregation looking very puzzled and even frowning, wondering whether this guy was a heretic or not.
"No, you should not be New Testament Christians."
He repeated.
"You must be BIBLICAL Christians!"
I have discovered over the years that my spiritual food must be eaten from both testaments, and I have found reading the whole of the Old Testament such a rich source of blessing, even allowing God to reveal the meaning of apparent obscure symbols, particularly in the book of Daniel, which sheds a lot of light on to the book of Revelation. And by discovering how many events recorded in the Old Testament were fulfilled in the life of Jesus Christ.
Perhaps like any meal, veg always comes with the meat.
An excellent post.

Donald Fishgrab said...

In the past, breast milk was often been frowned on as less healthy than scientifically designed formulas. Even yet there are those who think science has a better answer. I suspect that several modern health problems are the result of such thinking.

Unfortunately, a similar approach to a spiritual diet has been adopted, substituting devotional materials for the actual word of God, with similar spiritual results.

Laurie Collett said...

Dear Frank,
Thanks so much for your encouraging and insightful comment. Sadly, it seems that many congregations focus only the New Testament or even exclusively on the 4 Gospels! There is so much "meat" in the NT Epistles, and throughout the Old Testament, as it all points to Jesus Christ. The internal consistency and historical and scientific accuracy of the Bible are amazing, and we would not learn or appreciate much of this if we ignored the OT. God gave us all of His inspired Word, all 66 books, for a reason, and we ignore any of them at our own risk.
God bless,

Laurie Collett said...

Excellent analogy, Donald! God's design and His Word are perfect, and those who think they can improve on either are prideful and arrogant. That being said, I believe that there is a place for man's inventions in these areas, such as formula when it is impossible for a mother to nurse due to chemotherapy or infection, or devotionals that follow God's Word and are Spirit-inspired to encourage the brethren. But you're right -- these are no substitute for the original.
Thanks for your comment & God bless,

Fawn Weaver said...

Great post, Laurie. Because of my schedule, sometimes my spiritual "feeding" isn't first thing in the morning. There are times when my morning begins with gratitude to God and then I begin my day. In the afternoon, I will slow down the day, and just spend time with the Lord. I don't know that it's the time of day that matters as much as it is our intent throughout the day to live a life fully devoted to him. So many have their devotional time in the morning and then go about their day not thinking about it until the following morning. My goal is to keep my thoughts on Him all day but sometimes that doesn't include a devotional time first thing in the morning. And I think that's okay. Similar to when I ran the LA Marathon, what mattered wasn't what I ate before the race began (because I don't actually eat before long runs) but rather what I ate at the end of the race (rebuilding what was broken down during the race) and throughout the race (small nibbles here and there to maintain my strength and endurance).

Laurie Collett said...

Thanks, Fawn, for visiting & commenting! I agree, the time of day that we spend with the Lord is not as important as the quality and quantity of time. We have a sign at our church, visible as you leave the driveway, saying "Live Like A Christian Today." How we live outside church is more important than how we act inside church, and spending quality, focused time with the Lord throughout the day is far better than a mindless ritual of checking off the daily Bible reading without giving it a further thought. Paul said we should pray without ceasing and give thanks in all things, so our worship should be a way of life rather than confined to specific times or places.
Thanks again for your thought-provoking comment, & God bless!

Laurie Collett said...

Thanks so much, Mandi, for your visit and lovely comment! May you have a blessed week in Him,

What Marty Sees said...

Several years ago our church began the practice of taking the Lord's Supper every week...I cannot imagine beginning our week without that time. A right understanding of even that simple but vital meal can change the life of a believer.

Laurie Collett said...

Dear Marty,
Thanks so much for your visit and insightful comment. The Lord's Supper is such a blessed sacrament reminding us of Christ's body broken for us, and His blood shed for us, for the remission of our sins. May we remember His sacrifice whenever we break bread or bow our heads in prayer before a meal.
God bless,

Unknown said...

This is so true Laurie! I start every day with prayer and God's Word. It certainly gives me the confidence to go through the day.

a joyful noise said...

Oil and water and your illustrations are so true. Thank you for your comments on the Tips to write your E-Book. I found FIVERR an excellent place for help to enter my husband's e-book on the Free site Smashwords.

Laurie Collett said...

Amen, Judy! May you have a blessed week in Him!

Laurie Collett said...

Thanks, Hazel, for your sweet comment and for the helpful tips!
God bless,