July 9 Devotional
Opening Prayer: Feed us this day, O God of life, with you Holy Word, that we might live not on bread alone, but on every word that proceeds from your mouth. Amen.
Scripture: Matthew 4:1-4
Journal: What is God’s word for you today? What has he given you to feed on from his mouth today?
Reflection: One of the great temptations of the spiritual life is the temptation to feed on things other than God. It was even a temptation for Jesus - amplified by the fact that he had gone without food for forty days and forty nights. “He was hungry,” the scriptures tell us, so why not take matters into your own hands and feed yourself?
Because, before you know it, you will be attempting to rely on yourself for everything. Parker Palmer calls it practical atheism. “Practical” because we are not atheists theologically, I mean we believe in God, right? So what’s the problem? The problem is that, practically speaking, we just don’t live like we do. We have a tendency to do everything for ourselves. We rely on our own gifts, resources, and skills to arrange life the way we want it to be. And if we can’t, we will die trying. We are the ones who control our direction and agenda, and then whenever something goes wrong we can always come running to God for help.
The simple truth is that we don’t rely on God - and his word - to feed us the way Jesus relied on him in the desert. For the most part we’ve arranged our lives in such a way that we don’t need to. If our souls get hungry we just run to the world for food, there is plenty to feed on there. For instance, we can feed on our accomplishments and achievements. We can feed on the attention and affirmation of others. We can feed on our jobs, or our skills, or our assets, or even our families. The options are endless. The only problem is that none of these things can satisfy the deepest hunger of our souls. These things were not created to fill us, which means we are never completely satisfied, and thus it keeps us always in pursuit of more. I think this is why addiction happens. The Enemy knows that if he can subtly deceive us into feeding ourselves, then he’s got us. Then there is no real reason for us to depend on God, or on his Word, for our food.
I think that’s why I love this response from Jesus so much. It recognizes and reveals where true food comes from; food that can satisfy. And it gives us a beautiful example of seeing through the lies and deception of the Enemy, right to the truth, for “Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.”
Prayer: for the church, for others, for myself
Michael and Diana Johnson serve with People International. As International Director, Michael provides broad vision and leadership for the mission. Pray today for a continuing relief effort by People International to those who are seeking safety from Islamic militants in the Kurdish area of Northern Iraq.
The Málaga Media Center is a ministry catalyst creating and establishing new reproducing churches by communicating Biblical truth through media and partnership. It is located in Málaga, Spain. Pray today for the leaders of this organization.
Closing Prayer: Teach me to seek you, for I cannot seek you unless you teach me, or find you unless you show yourself to me. Let me seek you in my desire, and desire you in my seeking. Let me find you by loving you, let me love you when I find you. - St. Anselm