Today, I am excited. Because today, I am starting a new series of blogs.

I have enjoyed my BLE & Me blog. Especially when I get into a groove and write regularly – a process that has, unfortunately, suffered a number of interruptions since its inception. Sorry about that. I really need to learn to be more reliable – just as much for myself as for anyone who happens to be reading. It’s helped me focus. It’s helped me to dig down deeper into the reasons for my disordered eating. It’s given me some insight. And now that my life has settled down a little, I am really excited to get back into it.

But BLE & Me isn’t all there is. It’s missing something.

The focus of my BLE & Me blog has been my journey through Bright Line Eating. And Bright Line Eating, although wonderful, isn’t me. It’s Susan Pierce Thompson. It’s an eating plan that will work for the average person who wants to break their addiction to food. It’s the science of food addiction.

It’s her vision. It’s not mine.

I’m a naturopath. One of the things I love about Naturopathic Medicine is how holistic it is. It considers, and seeks to treat, every aspect of a person: body, mind, and spirit. SPT does a pretty good job of addressing the 1st 2. And I think she recognizes the importance of the 3rd. But because she’s aiming her message at the masses, she leaves the spiritual aspect – the one with the most potential for controversy – up to each individual to work through on their own. In fact, one of the main differences between Bright Line Eating and Overeaters Anonymous is that for the most part, SPT leaves God out of the equation. She advocates meditation, she talks about prayer, but she is very careful not to point to any particular religion or belief system. This ensures that BLE is accessible to a wider audience, and I can respect that. She wants to help as many people as she can.

My goal, however, is not to reach a wide audience. SPT has already done that. And she’s doing an amazing job of it.

I need to be me. And I can’t do BLE without God.

I haven’t made any secret of the fact that I’m a Christian. The Bible has certainly made its way into BLE & Me. But it hasn’t been the focus. And right now, I need to focus on it. Because BLE isn’t enough for me. God and I have some serious issues to work through. And I’m guessing that some of you do, too. And I’ve always secretly kind of wished I could be a preacher. I come by it honestly.

So I’m going to start a Bible study, of sorts. You are welcome to read along. Or not. Whatever you like. And if you disagree with me – whether you’re a Christian who has a different opinion on my interpretation of Scripture, or an Atheist who thinks the whole idea of God is superstitious nonsense – feel free to let me know in the comments. I love having to defend my beliefs, and I’m very difficult to offend. So fire away.

Today’s Reading

So, here we are. My very 1st sermon.

I’ve been stuck in Matthew for a very long time, now. I stopped reading the Bible straight through a few years ago, and started doing more in-depth studies, one book at a time, which I’ve really enjoyed. But after going through a number of Old and New Testament books, taking a month or 2 for each, I’ve now been struggling with Matthew for about 8 months. It just won’t let go of me. There’s something in here that I’m not getting. Something God wants me to see. And until I get it, I can’t move past it. So this is where our sermons will start. With a verse that is foundational – both to Christianity, and, I think, to food.

Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.

Matthew 4:4

Like I said, foundational.

One of my problems is that I forget this. I’m a Christian – I know that God’s word is more important than food. But I forget. I get distracted. I focus not on God, but on bread.

Survival Instincts

It’s as if I’m starving. Literally. You’d think I hadn’t eaten in weeks. Like I’m afraid if I don’t eat, I will actually starve to death.

I know it’s a sickness. I know it isn’t real. But I think I need this verse just as much as the people to whom it was originally addressed – people who lived from day to day, not knowing if they would have bread for tomorrow. Because while I may live in a country where food security is a given – in a time when we have more to eat, and yet spend less of our income on food than at any other time in history – my brain doesn’t really know that. My brain thinks I’m starving. It tells me to eat as much as I can, while I can, because it thinks a famine is just around the corner.

And I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to fix it.

Brain Damage

Like SPT says, some things in our brain just become hardwired. We can ignore it, we can form new pathways, but the old ones will always exist. Even our leader and guru has a hard time skipping meals – something she talks about in her vlog (Navigating Surgery with Bright Line Eating).

My brain will probably always be supersensitive to hunger. It will panic. Non-negotiable rules, regular meals, and exactly weighed portions are all designed to help allay this feeling of panic. To reassure us that we are getting enough to eat. That we are not starving. But it won’t always work. Life will throw us circumstances we weren’t expecting. Things will occur that are out of our control.

Things like losing 2 of my pre-weighed peas down the drain of the kitchen sink as I strain out the cooking water.

And suddenly, my brain is on fire. I’m dying, and my survival instincts are taking over. The whole place is burning down, and I am going to die because I don’t have enough food. I never have enough food. I am starving. I need bread – and I need it now – like I need oxygen. My life depends on it.

Man does not live by bread alone.

There will be times when my brain tells me I’m starving. And I won’t be able to reason with it. But I don’t have to. I don’t have to convince myself that I’m not starving. I just have to be ok with it.

Making Peace with Starvation

If I starve, I starve. My life is more than food. I am sustained by something more than food. Something better than food.

Man does not live by bread alone.

Jesus spoke these words to the tempter, Satan, when he was starving. He hadn’t eaten in 40 days. I have no doubt that his brain was screaming at him just as loudly as mine screams at me. He was human – he had survival instincts as much as we do. And he was able to fight – and to win – with these words. He kept calm in the face of actual starvation. It’s an example I need to follow.

This verse, spoken by Jesus, is actually a quotation from the Old Testament. It appears originally in Deuteronomy, spoken by Moses to the Israelites, who were wandering in the desert and completely dependent on God for their food.

The arid wilderness across the Jordan – the likely site of Jesus’ 40 days of fasting, as well as the Israelites’ 40 years of wandering.
Picture by C.M. Gibson

And you shall remember the whole way that the LORD your God has led you these forty years in the wilderness, that he might humble you, testing you to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep his commandments or not. And he humbled you and let you hunger and fed you with manna, which you did not know, nor did your fathers know, that he might make you know that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD.

Deuteronomy 8:2-3

Sometimes, I will be hungry. God will let me hunger, as he let the Israelites hunger. I can panic – as they sometimes did – or I can trust him. I can let fear rule me, or I can let myself be humbled. I can feed myself, or I can let him feed me.

I don’t need more food. I don’t need food at all. I need God. I need his word. And that is all. He is the giver of life, the sustainer of life. When I let myself lose control and start gobbling up all the food I can lay hands on, I’m not trusting him to sustain me. I’m relying on myself.

I don’t need bread. I need to trust. And he will take care of me better than I ever could.

So you shall keep the commandments of the LORD your God by walking in his ways and by fearing him. For the LORD your God is bringing you into a good land, a land of brooks of water, of fountains and springs, flowing out in the valleys and hills, a land of wheat and barley, of vines and fig trees and pomegranates, a land of olive trees and honey, a land in which you will eat bread without scarcity, in which you will lack nothing, a land whose stones are iron, and out of whose hills you can dig copper. And you shall eat and be full, and you shall bless the LORD your God for the good land he has given you.

Deuteronomy 8:6-10
Photo by Ben Garratt on Unsplash

Matthew 4:4 – Not By Bread
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2 thoughts on “Matthew 4:4 – Not By Bread

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