But He answered, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of God’s mouth.’” // Matthew 4:4
If we don’t eat, we die. I don’t think I’m saying anything surprising here. If we don’t continually nourish our bodies with food and water, we grow weak and ill, and will eventually die if we continue in this neglect. Fortunately, we are hardwired to feel pangs of hunger to encourage us to eat when our bodies need food; when we do eat, that food tastes great. With the exception of times of fasting, few people go without food for any extended period of time by choice. People who end up facing starvation are usually pushed to that point because of circumstances outside of their control. This fact makes it all the more shocking that we are so prone to neglect our spiritual food, Christ and His word, which is of infinitely greater importance than physical food. (see John 6:53-58)
I know I am guilty of this. The first two years of my time here at UA can be accurately surmised in one word: neglect. During those first years here, I may have gone to church about three times, maybe read a bible verse every day or two, and prayed fairly superficially. This spiritual neglect went hand and hand with spiritual stagnation and an inability to overcome sin. I was neglecting Christ, and thereby starving myself. When Jesus says that apart from Him we can do nothing, He really meant it (see John 15:5). It was only by God’s grace that I was shaken out of this state (it was not a comfortable experience). If we do not continue to go to Him to sustain us spiritually, we quickly forget how massively glorious, beautiful, and fulfilling He is. When we don’t see Him for who He really is, other, lesser things start to look more important, making sin seem more appealing to us. It’s through “seeing the glory of the Lord” that we are “transformed into the same image,” His image. (see 2 Corinthians 3:18) That’s one reason why it is essential for us to focus on the Gospel daily and to turn to Him continually. We need to feed on Him and pray to Him for spiritual sight to see His glory.
To pursue Christ and seek fulfillment in Him through daily Bible reading, daily prayer, and fellowship with other believers isn’t legalism (unless you are doing those things as way to earn your way into a relationship with God); it’s simply knowing where to go get the best “food” and “drink” there is to sustain you throughout times of trial and especially during times of relative ease (when our guard is let down). These spiritual disciplines can be a means to pursue the One who loves you and who gave Himself for you to bring to God. Why would someone trade “the food that remains until eternal life”(Jesus) for stale bread crumbs that could never begin to provide us with what we really need (all that the world has to offer)?
In college, you will be confronted with many things: some good and some bad. Both good and bad things present the opportunity for distraction from Christ and for sin. The bad things are things that we should always say “no” to, no matter what. The good things are also things that we may have to say “no” to at times for the sake of better things. This is because God’s gifts should never take the place of God in our lives, so if one of His good gifts is taking up space in our lives that should be reserved for Him, it is better to do without the gift because God is the only one who deserves our worship and the only one who can satisfy our hearts (see Psalm 16:11, 1 Samuel 12:21, Jeremiah 2:13).
I would encourage and exhort you not to make the mistakes that I made when I first came to UA. Go to Christ daily. Spend quality time with Him through prayer and the study of His word. Get connected with a good church. Go to Christ continually to sustain you so that you can be fruitful for the Kingdom, have joy and peace that the world cannot take from you, and glorify God in all that you do. Encourage others (including me) to do the same. Never forget that He is our daily bread.
And let us know, let us follow on to know [the LORD]: His going forth is sure as the morning; and He will come unto us as the rain, as the latter rain that waters the earth. // Hosea 6:3
Senior // @mark.al.henry
Geology // Plymouth Meeting, Pennsylvania