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Are you Living to Eat or Eating to Live?

posted Nov 12, 2014, 12:18 AM by hbchurch org

Some people absolutely love to eat. It seems like they are never satisfied; food is the focus of their lives. It is normal to want to eat regularly, but a life lived for the sole satisfaction of the flesh is futility. It’s no wonder that when the writer of Ecclesiastes looked at life without God (i.e., life under the sun), he concluded that all is vanity and striving after the wind. One thing he saw that led him to his conclusion was the following: “All the labor of man is for his mouth, and yet the appetite is not filled.” (Eccl. 6:7) If our appetite is normal, we keep wanting to eat every day. Is this life? Are we just living to eat?

Yes, eating is necessary and some degree of satisfaction accompanies sharing a meal with friends and family. But sometimes we don’t feel like eating. An “upset tummy” can eradicate our desire for food. This phenomena is not something we have to think about. It is an involuntary physiological process and when our “bug” is gone our appetite automatically returns. Our “want to” returns and we need little prompting to resume eating. Our body tells us we must eat to live.

But there is another kind of hunger and thirst that we must think about if we want to live. Jesus spoke about “a hunger and thirst for righteousness” resulting in being both filled and blessed. (Matthew 5:6) The word righteousness occurs over 300 times in scripture. It comes from a root meaning right. Knowing that what is right inheres in God makes it easier to understand why Paul would say that real living requires one to have faith in God (Rom. 1:17). Jesus and Paul are stressing the same truth: if we want to live (spiritually), we must have a gnawing hunger and voracious thirst for God’s way of being righteous.

Some may be thinking, “I’m living just fine without ever thinking about hungering and thirsting for righteousness.” There is no denying the fact that one can live for no other purpose than satisfying the flesh. However, anyone making this choice should consider Proverbs 12:28: “In the way of righteousness is life; and in the pathway thereof there is no death”. Being right with God is the only way to escape (spiritual) death.

The opposite of spiritual death is eternal life (Rom. 6:23) which is inextricably connected to Jesus (1 John 5:11). In Christ Jesus we can apprehend the grace of God that accomplishes the forgiveness of our sins and puts us in a right relationship with Him (Romans 5:21). In you want to live, really live, you must choose to hunger and thirst for righteousness, i.e., “Eat” to live!

Ken Dart