When God gives me bread, why do i always ask for cake?
Jesus answered, "It is written: 'Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.'" -Matthew 4:4
Oh friends, this verse has convicted my errant heart again and again.
Today, God revealed something about myself, about my right now, this-very-minute struggle, that I had previously been totally unaware of. And, I know precisely why—it’s ugly. It’s a thing I didn’t want to see, so I turned a blind eye. But, this verse opened up my eyes to my dark desire, and here it is: I want cake. Like that naughty child who pushes away her still-full dinner plate and asks for dessert, I’m not satisfied with the robust goodness of God’s provision for my life. I want more.
And, I know I’m not alone in this.
I take some strange solace in knowing that I’m not the only one in the history of God’s people to turn up my nose at his blessings and ask for more. I think of God’s people, miraculously freed from slavery in Egypt, and being fed by literal bread from heaven. How did they respond? Not with wonder and worship, not with grateful hearts, but with grumbling desires for the meat they ate in bondage. Or, you may be familiar with the feast Jesus provided for some 5,000+ people on miraculously multiplied bread and fish (read John 6 for the full story). The next day, Jesus rebukes that same crowd for seeking him to merely fill their bellies, not their spirits. These are just a couple of biblical examples. But, let’s look a little closer to home.
(CONTINUED FROM ABOVE)
I’m gonna start meddling now, so stop reading if you don’t want to be poked.
How have you foolishly sought after the tangible blessings of God, instead of finding your ultimate happiness in God himself?
Are you seeking satisfaction in ease and stability?
Are you chasing down the “American dream” in order to feel like you’re a success?
Are you asking God for a sugar-coated life, one filled with sensory delights and freedom from pain?
Are you seeking physical sustenance over and above God? Are you turning up your nose at the Lord and demanding cake instead?
If we’re honest we all find ourselves here, fairly regularly. I know I do. I find myself throwing little pity parties for myself about the things I wish I had. What does that say about my heart? It says I’m convinced that the blessings of God will satisfy me more than God himself. Now, here’s the tricky part, I wouldn’t say that with my thinking brain, not ever. But, my actions and emotions betray me. They show that in all reality I believe that God’s stuff will fill me up and satisfy me, make me whole, and give me real joy. I know it’s a boldfaced lie. God’s stuff cannot fill the hole that only God is big enough to fill. But, regardless of the truth I know, my heart believes otherwise.
Jesus didn’t believe the lie.
So, let’s get back to Matthew 4, where we find our verse. Jesus is being tempted by Satan with exactly what we’re talking about here—physical sustenance. Satan asks Jesus why he doesn’t just go ahead and turn those stones to bread if he’s so hungry. And, you can bet that after 40 days of fasting in the desert, Jesus is hungry. But, he doesn’t fall prey to Satan’s trick. Not like we do, not like every other biblical “hero” does. Jesus responds with this truth: every word from the mouth of God is our real sustenance—without God, we shrivel up. Jesus models for us how we must see God’s word—as the pinnacle, the ultimate, a 100% non-negotiable in our own daily lives. It is where true life is found.
But, Jesus isn’t just our example.
He doesn’t merely show us how to resist the temptation of living for temporal things. He tells us that he is in fact the spiritual sustenance we must “eat” to live. Remember that crowd of 5,000+ that Jesus miraculously fed in John 6? They follow Jesus because he filled their bellies. Jesus rebukes them because they’re satisfied with too little. He tells them he has infinitely more to give them, even eternal life. He tells them in vs. 35, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.” Jesus isn’t just telling them (and us) to feast on more than physical “bread” he tells us that he IS the spiritual bread, real and lasting nourishment for our souls. In John 6:51 he says, “I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats this bread will live forever.” Now, that is some extraordinary “bread”.
So, back to my revelation.
And, hopefully yours. I feel like I’ve been trying to “feed myself” with empty calories. I’ve been longing for all of the fillers that can never truly fill my soul. I need the “bread of life”, the only true nourishment for my soul. There is no substitute for that supernatural sustenance.
Thanks for reading,
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