by Margaret Nichols
Break Thou the Bread of Life
“…Beyond the sacred page
I seek Thee, Lord;
My spirit pants for Thee,
O Living Word.”
“Thou didst strike me with Thy Word and I lived Thee.” – Augustine
Danger – to “substitute the understanding of concepts for the experiencing of the reality.”
Much of my thinking and understanding of this I owe to Keith Price, the author of a book I read at the beginning of the year Thirsty After God. I was challenged by my need to know God more intimately, not just about Him.
The experience of many Christians today is encapsulated in one crisis – conversion. But this only means that my journey with God has just begun. To know Him is a life-long process. If He has truly done a work in my heart, I will be drawn to Him in an increasing measure.
Psalm 63:1(nasb) O God, You are my God; I shall seek You earnestly; My soul thirsts for You, my flesh yearns for You, in a dry and weary land where there is no water.
Matthew 5:6 (nasb) Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.
How to Cultivate a Thirst After God
2 Corinthians 3:18 (nasb) But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit.
I. My part – comtemplation(“beholding the glory of the Lord”)
II. God’s part – transformation (changing me into Christ’s likeness).
I. My part – Contemplation
A. Remove the obstacles (veil) “with unveiled face” Nothing between Christ and me
1. At salvation v. 16 The veil which keeps us from knowing and understanding the truth is removed. This is the starting point of addressing our thirst for God. 2 Cor. 4:4 (nasb) in whose case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving so that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.
2. Unconfessed Sin prevents communion with God. Deal with whatever God reveals; this will remove the veil. Psalm 66:18 (nasb) If I regard wickedness in my heart, The Lord will not hear.
B. Face the Glory – Focus on the right object “beholding the glory of the Lord.”
Moses said, “Show me Your glory.”
A mirror cannot have direct vision, the direct blaze of God’s glory; apart from Christ, God’s glory would kill us. The glory we see is reflected glory.
Where do we see God’s glory?
1. In Creation Psalm 19:1 (nasb) The heavens are telling of the glory of God; and their expanse is declaring the work of His hands.
2. In History
3. In God’s Word — the mirror in which we see both God and ourselves; the mirror of the Word shows me the condition of my soul. It shows me alongside the perfect image of Christ. James 1:23-25 (nasb) “For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks at his natural face in a mirror; for once he has looked at himself and gone away, he has immediately forgotten what kind of person he was. But one who looks intently at the perfect law, the law of liberty, and abides by it, not having become a forgetful hearer but an effectual doer, this man will be blessed in what he does.”
4. In the Person of Jesus Himself through the eyes of faith.
C. “Gaze Upon God” – beholding as in a mirror.
Two meanings/translations 1)beholding or 2) reflecting.
These were difficult for translators – it was the difference of deciding whether “he breathed” or “he breathed in or out.”
“To breathe in” means to receive something from the outside; “to breathe out” means to give out (a changed form) of what was taken in.
When we “behold”(receive) the glory of the Lord, we are then able to “reflect” (give out).