We need to become more spiritual as we continue our journey here on this earth. This may mean that we need to change our understanding about life, about our existence and why we are here. Life is more than the pursuit of material happiness, of making sure all of our physical needs are met. The animals of the field are concerned only about their physical needs. Don’t they spend most of their time pursuing a meal? They don’t concern themselves with spiritual matters.
We are higher than the animals. That means God expects more from us. And that’s why Jesus reminds us in our text to pursue spiritual bread, which will never perish.
I realize that what I’m saying is difficult for us to understand, and especially difficult to put into practice. Focusing on spiritual things isn’t natural for us to do. That’s why we have such a hard time obeying Jesus’ words. They just don’t resonate with us. We’re too preoccupied with the cares and worries of this life, which boil down to making sure we have enough to eat, wear, and a place to live. Now granted, these are important. Who wants to see his own family starve when it is in his power to provide them with food? Who wants to see his family members living on the street under a bridge when he is capable of providing a place for them to live? But the problem is that we think this is all there is to life. We believe every waking moment ought to be spent thinking about our daily physical needs.
In our text Jesus tells us otherwise. Life isn’t all about material happiness. As a matter of fact, He suggests that a considerable amount of our time be spent on laboring for the bread which doesn’t perish. We ought to strive for the spiritual food that lasts forever.
That makes sense, doesn’t it? It’s to our advantage if we strive for spiritual food which lasts forever. It means if we partake of this food, we will last forever. Who doesn’t want that? Who doesn’t want to live forever? I want to live forever.
The only way we can live forever is by partaking of the Bread of Life, which is Jesus. If we partake of Him, we will never go hungry. So, doesn’t it make more sense to dedicate much of our time pursuing the Lord rather than pursuing the bread that doesn’t last very long? We can spend our entire lives slaving to stuff our faces and then when we’re done with life have nothing else to show. Is that how we want to end up in the end? Well, we don’t have to if we labor now for the Bread of Life which will carry us beyond our present material reality. We’ll have more to show for our efforts in the end if we make it our aim now to pursue spiritual food.
I know this is difficult to do. It requires a change in thinking and doing. Not too many people I know like to change the way they think and how they do things. It’s only their way or no way. It’s a big challenge for them to change. But a change toward the spiritual food of Jesus means more freedom and peace and life with God forever.
We need to get beyond our animal instincts and strive for the spiritual. I encourage us to get beyond this life and think about life beyond. Strive to become more spiritual in our outlook, more focused on Jesus. And why? I know you’re going to ask that question. Because we will find more fulfillment in this life and receive God’s reward of eternal life.
When we focus on Jesus and look back on life, we won’t have any regrets. Think about it. If all we do is labor for the bread of this life, all we will have to show for that in the end is a full tummy. If, on the other hand, we strive for Jesus’ food, we will have the reward of eternal life to show for our labors.
I hope we will come to the conclusion that focusing our lives on the spiritual things of God makes much more sense and is much more rewarding than simply thinking that this life is all there is and that I better do my best to get my share.
Jesus gave Himself up for us on the cross. He didn’t come into this world to die for animals. He wasn’t born an animal, but rather a human being. That shows how much He values us. Therefore, let’s give up thinking like animals from time to time and concentrate on the spiritual things of the Lord.
Let’s have a genuine interest in the spiritual things of God. That’s what Jesus encourages the people who followed Him in our text to do. Some of them were coming to Jesus to get free bread. In other words, they came to Jesus just to use Him. But He tells them to think about spiritual bread, which would last beyond this life. He hopes they will get serious about the spiritual things of God.
There are many people today who simply use the church and pastor for their own gain and ends. They aren’t really committed to Christianity. That’s quite evident in their behavior and attitude. But they aren’t fooling anyone. My words to them are, change your ways. Quit thinking of yourself and just about this earthly life. Repent and ask the Lord to forgive such sinfulness. Develop a genuine interest for the things of God. God knows the hearts of all people. No one is getting away with anything. Become a genuine child of God by having a right attitude before Him. Think and live the spiritual in Christ Jesus.
Now I warn us to be careful out there in the world because there are religions and people who claim to be spiritual. Now, I don’t doubt their spirituality, but I question what it is grounded and based on. If it isn’t based on Jesus Christ, it’s useless. Spirituality based on Jesus lasts forever. Jesus says He is the bread of life. His bread lasts forever.
Many people today believe it really doesn’t matter what we base our spirituality on. I hear it over and over again. As a matter of fact, I’m getting tired of hearing it. It does matter what we believe, what we base our spirituality on. If it isn’t based on Christ it’s futile. He’s the only one who promises us life eternal if we put our trust in Him. The promises of other religions are vacuous, empty. So it does really matter what we put our trust and hope in. Our spirituality has to be based on Jesus.
Are addictions healthy? What do we think? Most addictions are unhealthy. There are plenty of examples. Alcoholism, drugs, and gambling are just a few on the list of unhealthy addictions. What about being addicted to this life? Is that a healthy addiction or not? According to our Lord, it’s not. It’s okay to taste life and live life, but to depend on this life isn’t healthy. Alcohol, drugs, and gambling can ruin lives. Many people’s lives have been ruined as a result of these addictions. It’s no different when it comes to being addicted to this life. If we can’t let go of this life, it will bring us down.
A healthy addiction is being addicted to our Lord and all for which He stands. Just like we depend on the air we breathe for life, so we depend on Jesus for life.
If we’re addicted to life, it’s not too late to break the habit. Let’s break our addiction to this life by focusing our lives on the spiritual things of the Lord. Let’s become more spiritual in our outlook on life. Let’s not devote all of our energy to acquire bread that satisfies our hunger for a short while. Instead, let’s focus on the Bread of Life, Jesus. We won’t regret it in the end.
May our Lord give us the eyes to see that life is more than material happiness. It’s about believing in the Bread of Life which never perishes.