One Food To Rely On
As I was reading through The Lord of the Rings during my first year in an organic church community, for some reason this book came alive to me in ways that it hadn’t before with many parallels to our life in Christ. While there were many sections that stood out (which I will probably share later), one passage particularly caught my eye.
In the Return of the King, as Frodo and Sam are deep within Mordor near Mount Doom, Tolkien writes,
The lembas had a virtue without which they would long ago have lain down to die. It did not satisfy desire, and at times Sam’s mind was filled with the memories of food, and the longing for simple bread and meats. And yet, this way bread of the Elves had potency that increased as travelers relied upon it alone and did not mingle it with other foods. It fed the will, and it gave strength to endure, and to master sinew and limb beyond the measure of mortal kind. (Emphasis mine)
What I felt the Lord impressing on me in this section is what the Lord desires to be for us: our only source of life.
In the end of all things, Samwise and Frodo had only thing to consume: the lembas bread that had been given to them by the Elves. This is the only thing that allowed them to go on beyond anything they could have accomplished on their own. As they ate the lembas bread alone, it was the only thing allowed them to go on in the midst of utter desolation. If they had had anything else to eat, they would never have made it.
In the most practical ways in John 6:35, Jesus states “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.” Physically, these are the most basic things that can sustain and maintain life. Spiritually, Jesus is stating that by relying on Him alone, we will have everything we need through His life. Jesus also essentially states in John 15 that He is the source of all life and growth as we abide in Him as He abides in us. We can do nothing apart from Him.
While we know we can come to the Lord to receive life from Him, we have the tendency to mingle Jesus with other foods, to use Tolkien’s words.
We mingle other things with the Lord, not relying on Him fully to express Himself in and through us.
We rely on other things to sustain us. It may be anything from money, jobs, relationships, or even religious services. In the end, it usually ultimately ourselves that we rely on.
It is easy to do this, because that is how we are naturally. It is easy to depend on what is physical, but so much more difficult to fully depend on a Lord you cannot see. It is easy to plow ahead under your own effort to accomplish something and only turning to Him when your own strength is exhausted. This is not relying on the Lord for life and strength, but only turning to Him out of necessity. His life cannot be expressed to the fullest if you are depending on yourself or something else more. As Jesus said, you cannot serve two masters (Matthew 6:24).
I have not achieved this perfect dependency on the Lord, but I am learning more each day how to live in and by the indwelling life of Christ. Not only that, I am learning to rely on the life of Christ expressed by and in my brothers and sisters that I am in community with.
My admonition for you: If there is any doubt in your mind, ask the Lord to show you what you depend on and He will reveal it. If it something other than Him, ask Him to help you deal with it.
Let Him be all that you rely on and nothing else! Let Him be your only source of life!