I have heard it said that some people “live to eat” and others “eat to live”. We have two dogs who represent these two concepts.
Cuddles loves to eat – in fact the trainer who worked with us when the girls were brought home from the animal shelter said, and I quote: “I have never seen a dog that was so food-centric as Cuddles!” If you want her to do anything, you need to give her a treat, preferably before AND after her obedience.
In this picture of the two of them “sitting pretty”, Cuddles is in the foreground and you can see that she has to sit with her rear legs spread apart to keep her balance.
On the other hand, Snickers, despite her candy-bar-name, eats her food but she is not hankering for a treat every time we turn around. You can see that her rear legs are at right angles to her body. She does not have to sit “side-saddle” like her younger sister does.
In short, the difference between the girls is that Cuddles lives to eat and Snickers eats to live.
Since both my husband and I are overweight, I am not going to point to us as examples of this concept. Rather, I want to think about what we consume from Scripture. Do we eat to live, that is only eat from Scripture a sufficient amount to gain our fire insurance from hell, or do we live to eat, that is feast on the truths of Scripture and come again and again to the Word for more food for our spiritual souls’ growth and development?
The Bible talks about eating in many places. In the very first book of the Bible God tells Adam that he can eat of every tree in the Garden of Eden, except for one. (Genesis 2:16-17) After their disobedience, Adam and Eve were ejected from the Garden and they had to work for their food ever after.
In Exodus we read of the meal of unleavened bread and bitter herbs which preceded the visitation from the angel of death. After the exodus from Egypt, the Israelites wandered in the wilderness and God sent manna and then quail for them to eat.
David puts God’s provision like this:
Yet he commanded the skies above and opened the doors of heaven, and he rained down on them manna to eat and gave them the grain of heaven. Man ate of the bread of the angels; he sent them food in abundance. He caused the east wind to blow in the heavens, and by his power he led out the south wind; he rained meat on them like dust, winged birds like the sand of the seas; he let them fall in the midst of their camp, all around their dwellings. And they ate and were well filled, for he gave them what they craved.
The New Testament talks of food as well. For example, Jesus’ first miracle was turning water into wine at a wedding feast. (John 2) Jesus fed thousands as He taught them along the seaside. (Mark 8.)
In 1 Corinthians 6 we find Paul’s instruction regarding eating the Lord’s Supper in remembrance of His death for our sins. Some call this feast Communion and others Eucharist, but the essence is that we are celebrating the marvelous work of our Lord and His sacrifice for us.
Paul has strong words for the people in the Corinthian church. He wrote:
But I, brothers, could not address you as spiritual people, but as people of the flesh, as infants in Christ. I fed you with milk, not solid food, for you were not ready for it. And even now you are not yet ready, for you are still of the flesh. For while there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not of the flesh and behaving only in a human way?
1 Corinthians 3:1-3
The writer of Hebrews expresses this same idea in this way:
For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the basic principles of the oracles of God. You need milk, not solid food, for everyone who lives on milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, since he is a child. But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil.
We know from our own experience that babies take milk and then, at some point in their infancy, they move up to some diluted cereal such as infant oatmeal. Then comes soft food and, upon reaching childhood, they can eat regular food, starting with soft meats and them ultimately moving up to steak! Meat comes with maturity.
What does this solid food look like? Paul tells us, it is the food in Scripture that we read with our power of discernment trained by constant practice, to do what? To distinguish good from evil.
Do you know when the preacher’s doctrine is faulty? You know it when you have read the Scripture, studied and have discernment from constant exposure to the Word of God. Then you can tell good teaching from the faulty teaching.
So, beloved, when it comes to spiritual food, are you satisfied with milk? Or, do you long for solid food, for the meat not just the milk? Do you read the Word of God for yourself? Do you study with others so that you can practice your discerning powers and so identify both the good and the bad. Do you ask the Holy Spirit to guide your thinking and open your eyes and your mind to the truths and riches that are found in the Word of God?
From a spiritual perspective, the question is: Are you Snickers or Cuddles? Do you eat to live, or do you live to eat. Oh, that we would be spiritually overweight with the rich meat of Scripture.
Father, forgive me when I have been satisfied to skim the surface of Your Word, when I have been lazy and have not studied Your Word to uncover the truths and precepts that You want me to have. Enable me to feast on the meat of Your Word through Your Holy Spirit, I pray.