Live not by bread alone
by Clyne Buxton
Apr 19, 2013 | 420 views | 0 0 comments | 2 2 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Years ago, a nurse from Toronto attended a seminar in the States on the theme of obesity. Afterward, she became so concerned about the many obese people of Toronto that she took action.

She was so effective that her concern became a citywide project for obese people to lose weight. Before long, Toronto had lost 22 tons of fat!

Humorous things have been written about eating. Walter de la Mare wrote:

It’s a very odd thing—

As odd as can be—

That whatever Miss T eats

Turns into Miss T.

George Bernard Shaw said, “There is no love sincerer than the love of food.” And Mark Twain quipped, “Cauliflower is nothing but cabbage with a college education.”

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention says that serving sizes are four times as large today as in 1950, and the average adult is 26 pounds heavier now than then. Wanting to do something about our weight, 55 percent of us try to diet.

In September, 1969, James A. Pike, a Christian bishop from California, was found dead in the wilderness near Bethlehem.

His death was freighted with symbolism, for earlier that year he had publically turned his back on Christianity, stating that he was not a Christian. Then he lost the battle for his life in the very wilderness where Christ confronted Satan.

Just as the bishop failed in life to be a driving force for the saving power of Jesus, he also failed during his last hours to be triumphant over his natural surroundings.

He did not fare nearly so well in the wilderness as did Jesus. Quite likely they fought the battle differently.

In that wilderness temptation the Lord made a statement to Satan that served as a pungent rebuke to the tempter.

Though Christ was gaunt and ravished with hunger, having existed 40 days without food, He refused to yield to Satan’s suggestion that He turn stones to bread.

Like ancient Job who stated that he thought God’s Word was more important than food, Jesus told the devil, “Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4).

Christ was teaching the devil, and us, a very consequential lesson that day. Precisely, the Lord was saying that life has a spiritual side and we must not forget it.

Jonathan Goforth a powerful man of God who ministered to the Chinese during the first third of the last century, knew that man should not live by bread only.

He wrote a book based on the scripture, “Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, says the Lord” (Zechariah 4:6).

Using the title “By My Spirit,” Goforth points out repeatedly how God worked in his ministry, not by man’s ingenuity but by His own Spirit.

Missionary Goforth learned that prayer, dependence on God’s Word, and trusting himself to the guidance of the Holy Spirit was the only key to successful work among the Chinese.

An experience which he relates is worth repeating here. After faithfully ministering for 19 years on the mission field, he personally had experienced almost no spiritual results.

Then suddenly God began to richly bless. Whereas formerly only a few came to hear him, now the people came by the hundreds, and later by the thousands. Revival swept the area and multitudes were converted.

During a certain worship service, Goforth sat on the rostrum facing a sea of eager faces. Satan whispered to him that he was finally a success.

“All of these people have come just to hear you. You are one of the most important preachers in the world.”

Goforth was agreeing with him, enjoying the feeling of accomplishment; but then the missionary realized that actually Satan was tempting him.

He recoiled from the devil and prayed: “God, I am willing to be as the smallest atom floating through space, if only Your name can be glorified.” The devil ceased his temptation.