I’m studying Philippians . . .
I memorized it when I was in college. I’ve taught Bible studies on it. I studied it in-depth nine years ago.
And I pull the bread out of the fridge and sniff it, surreptitiously checking for little white spots.
Why did I start studying Philippians last month? Well, I was finished reading through my Bible in a year, and I was praying where to next focus my Bible time. Our pastor was starting a series in Philippians. And I had nine-year-old notes in my Bible that I wanted to transcribe onto the computer.
Look, I know it’s stale, but if you put it in the toaster, you won’t notice.
And so, I sat down at the computer with my open Bible and my keyboard. I was faced with words that I knew as well as the college ring that’s been on my third finger right hand for over thirty years.
Except . . . not. Unlike my college ring, these are the words of God.
I stood aghast, again, at the hardness of my heart. I cried out to God to knead me and shape me and humble me before His holy words.
And Jesus cried out, “I am the Bread of Life! He that comes to Me will never hunger!”
Lord Jesus, You are my Living Bread.
Is it possible, for something so familiar? To gather fresh grain from the field . . . to grind it fresh to make fresh flour . . . to knead it and pound it and raise it and shape it . . . and to bake it to produce from the oven a loaf, not only steaming and crusty and soft, but so nourishing that it can be called “the staff of life”?
Lord Jesus, these words reveal Your heart. Show me Your heart. I want fresh Bread.
Is it any coincidence that the Lord brought me the book of Philippians steaming and fresh, a book about joyful togetherness in suffering, at this time of my life? At the time of my life when I’m no longer turning my face away from the suffering around the world because “it’s too disturbing” and “I really just can’t think about that now,” but instead am embracing it and weeping for my brothers and sisters who are suffering and dying, standing firm in faith with them? Is it by accident that I taste the nourishment of “to me to live is Christ and to die is gain” and “don’t be terrified by your adversaries” at a time in my life when I have become aware of the very real possibility that in the near future we in the United States will be suffering for our faith as well?
I’m partaking of the Bread, fresh and nourishing. I eat it. I rejoice. I’m satisfied. No excuses needed.
I woke up this morning thinking about these words. I had to write them now, while they’re fresh.