“Then Jesus declared, ‘I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.'” — John 6:35
It’s a good idea to eat before you do anything that requires extensive physical exertion. A couple years ago, while playing in a tennis tournament, I was reminded of that the hard way.
I spent the majority of my teenage years on a tennis court and numerous summers training in the intense summer heat. When you’re young, you take your stamina and good shape for granted. Now in my 30s, I’m still guilty of assuming my body will respond the same way it did when I was 18.
I got plenty of rest the night before my tournament, but that’s about where my good preparation stopped. I grabbed a banana the morning of the tournament, a 32-ounce water bottle and headed out the door to play in 90-degree heat — a forecast I didn’t bother to check before leaving the house.
About halfway through the second set of my first match, I felt like I was going to black out. My vision all of a sudden became bright, the edges of what I could see were closing in and I could barely keep my body upright. Like a car that ran out of gasoline, I couldn’t go any longer. Embarrassingly, I had to exit the doubles match I was playing and inconvenience my partner and two other guys while I found some shade, ice and water to recoup.
What I needed most, though, was food. My body needed energy and fuel if it was to recharge and allow me to be worth anything on the tennis court the rest of the day.
In a lot of ways, this is how we treat our spiritual walk with Jesus, especially if it’s something we’ve just grown accustomed to like I did with tennis. We forget all that it takes to stay filled up. We forget to nourish our souls with enough spiritual food to sustain us through challenges. Our souls become weak. Just as our body needs food and energy, our souls need fuel. They need prayer and time with the Lord and in His Word.
In John 6:35, Jesus refers to Himself as the bread of life, saying He will provide a never-ending satisfaction from spiritual hunger.
When you fill your soul with time in the Word and time in prayer with God, that will produce the fruit of the spirit: love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23).
When I was nearly passed out, I could’ve put any food in my body and it might have sustained me briefly. But if I wanted to fully recover, I needed to put the proper food in my system — mostly protein, a banana to help fight cramping, maybe something with a little sugar to balance my blood sugar, and, of course, water. Not candy, soda or fattening foods. And if I wanted to prevent this from happening again, I needed to make sure I was regularly filling my body with the right nutrients.
When your soul becomes weak, what are you filling it with? Are you filling it with the Word, prayer and Scriptural truths, or are you running to bad habits, toxic relationships and immoral behavior?
How often are you filling it? What would your life look like if your soul was full with truth from the Word of God? Start today with a plan to get in spiritual shape and fill your soul with the right fuel every day.
— Cole Claybourn
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