From rice and breads to pastas and ice cream– these cravings are our struggle. But I’m sure all will agree that some of these are what we really need every day.
Okay, I did not intend to make you drool, or make you hungry. But while I was reading the book of John, one verse struck me.
Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to accomplish his work. – John 4:34
This verse hit because (1) I was curious why of all the metaphors out there, Jesus used the word food; and (2) I hungered by the time I was reading this passage. So, I asked God. I said, “God, why did Jesus symbolize doing Your will as His food?”
IT IS A NEED
A need is something we must have to be able to survive and food is obviously one, among shelter and clothing. Jesus saw the will of His Father as a need, a necessity for survival, not for His but for us all. He came to be the “propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world” (1 John 2:2). He taught the truth (Luke 18), healed the sick (John 9:1-34); (Mark 1:40-45), raised dead Lazarus alive (John 11:1-44), and extended God’s love to those who felt like they did not deserve it at all. He demonstrated the life a Christian should live out.
IT GIVES STRENGTH
Food sustains us in our daily activities. When we don’t eat anything at all, we feel weak. Similarly, Jesus gets his strength from doing the will of His Father. I’d like us to read from Mark 6:31-34:
And he said to them, “Come away by yourselves to a desolate place and rest a while.” For many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat. And they went away in the boat to a desolate place by themselves. Now many saw them going and recognized them, and they ran there on foot from all the towns and got there ahead of them. When he went ashore he saw a great crowd, and he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. And he began to teach them many things.
Jesus and His disciples were supposed to go on a desolate place to get a well-deserved rest for they have been teaching, casting out demons and healing the sick (v.13). Obviously, these activities take up a lot of energy. But when Jesus saw a great crowd, “he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd” (v.34). I imagined this scene as Jesus and His disciples looking so exhausted and wanting to take a rest for a while but because of His love for the crowd, it gave Him the strength to move that He ended up teaching them many things. In my mind, He must have said to Himself, “I couldn’t stomach seeing these people so desperate, so we’ll just forget about rest and teach them what they should hear. I’m sure my Father would love me to do this.”
IT BRINGS GROWTH
Food is one of the factors that makes us grow. The will of God may not always convenient for us. In fact, most of the time, it requires us to step out of our comfort zone and just face whatever it is that awaits us–good or bad. One of the things I like about affliction is that it makes me grow spiritually, emotionally and mentally. Romans 5:3-5 says, “Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.” And, when we do the will of God in our lives, we will “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 3:18). It’s not easy, but it’s always and forever be worth it.
IT SATISFIES US
Charles Haddon Spurgeon, known as the “Prince of Preachers” said, “Christians are made to glorify God. We are never in our element until we are praising Him.” Doing the will of God brings us to unknown places where the first and last thing we do is to rely fully on Him. The end is always the same, it will make us drop to our knees, hands lifted high and we’ll just sing of how good our Father is. It’s His glory that brings us genuine satisfaction. That’s just how it is, and that’s always will be. We cannot separate contentment from God, because He is the only One that can fill the void in our hearts.
John 4:34 is a short verse but it made me realize a lot of things. When I meditate on it, I was inspired and motivated all the more to be like Jesus, on how He valued the will of God in His life. I want to be like Him. I want to crave for His presence, His goodness, His grace. I want to have a desire to reach out and teach and to have a heart like His.
I pray that just as how difficult it is to say “no” to food cravings, may we always welcome the desire to do God’s will in our lives.
Have a wonderful day!