Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation (1 Peter 2:2 ESV)
Scripture is replete with direct and indirect references to physical or spiritual food. Proper nutrition—eating habits and food types—improves our health, vitality, and function. Do you know there is such a thing as spiritual food that directly affects your spiritual health, vitality, and function? In this devotional, you will learn what spiritual food is and examine yourself to see if there is evidence of good or poor spiritual nutrition already displayed in your life.
Spiritual food, as expected, is a metaphor for natural food. Food is the raw materials from the environment that furnishes what the body needs to stay alive, grow, maintain its structure, and function. First, food comes from the environment—outside the body. We need food; this human need for food is a foundational creaturely limitation, in stark contrast to God, who is All-sufficient. Second, food sustains life, maintains structure, and enables function of the entire being. Third, food could be used for all such natural materials or exclusively for solid forms (as in food and drink).
Natural food does to the body what spiritual food does to the spirit. So spiritual food is what we receive into our being, which furnishes and sustains life, maintains our being, and enables spiritual operations. With this summary definition, please reread 1 Peter 2:2. What does Peter present as the result of spiritual milk? This is the crucial truth to remember: there is something we can receive into the being that changes us and makes us live or operate in a particular way. What, then is this thing, this spiritual food?
With this understanding of spiritual food, let us now identify the things in scripture that God calls spiritual food. As expected, the scriptures use the idea of food or eating in varied ways, but I will focus on the significant symbolic meaning here: food is that which gives or sustains life, enables growth, and promotes function.
I will identify spiritual food in scripture using a three-tier framework. The three parts of this framework are God (Person), the Word, and knowledge. God, as a Person, is the thing, or properly, the One all humans need. He is not only the Source of life, but He is the life. An excellent example is Jesus saying, “I am the Bread of Life” (John 6:35). He is the Bread; He does not merely give bread. But Jesus as the Bread is food to the people not as Jesus the Man but Jesus the Word! When the disciples objected to eating Jesus’s flesh and drinking His blood, He kindly remedied their misunderstanding by explaining to them what He meant by His flesh, His blood, and even the Bread in John 6:63
“It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh is no help at all. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life” (John 6:63 ESV)
Jesus as food is the Word, and the Word as food is the knowledge it brings. You must grasp this remarkable truth: God’s Word essentially comes to us as knowledge. God’s life is in His Word, and that Word comes to us in knowledge. The knowledge of God is the spiritual food that gives life, promotes growth, enables the function, etc. Think of how you received eternal life the day you accepted Christ. You heard or read about Him, the knowledge of Jesus as Savior came in; you believed the information you received; by believing what you heard or read, you received eternal life. You ate the fruit from the Tree of life in the center of Paradise and lived!
Jeremiah reveals this astonishing truth, a prophetic word being fulfilled in our days:
“And I will give you shepherds after my own heart, who will feed you with knowledge and understanding.” (Jeremiah 3:15 ESV)
God’s Word, as spiritual food, gives life, promotes spiritual growth, fills with the Spirit, quickens faith, heals our bodies, triggers joy, brings peace to our hearts, gives understanding, opens our spiritual eyes, etc. Spiritual fasting, abstinence from spiritual food, is prohibited in God’s House; improper spiritual nutrition results in spiritual malnutrition—powerless, immature, ineffective, and defeated Christians.
Though you might not have noticed it from the beginning, as you read this devotional, I was feeding you with spiritual meat and milk(Deshen). I explained God’s Word, revealed Christ in His Word, and brought His knowledge to you. So, you have just eaten spiritually; you have just received something in your spirit. Deshen Daily tomorrow will follow this crucial teaching, focusing on what it means to eat spiritual food.
What is spiritual food in your own words from what is discussed above?
Apply the Word
Our devotionals are termed “Deshen Daily,” and deshen is a Hebrew word for rich spiritual food. I hope today’s devotional sheds more light on the ministry God has commanded me to fulfill in your life. Grow in grace and the knowledge of the Lord!
Ask the Spirit to help you feed on the Word and not merely read or study it.