…Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.
— Matthew 4:4
Many years ago, I was living at such a furious pace that the only time I really opened my Bible was to prepare something to preach. The inspired Word of God was only passing through my brain in much the same way textbook material would go in when I used to cram for a test in school. In other words, I wasn’t studying to learn; I was studying to “pass.” The Word wasn’t really going into my heart.
It’s a very difficult thing to admit that this had become the way I was dealing with the Word of God — reading it and preparing my heart at the last minute. But the Holy Spirit spoke to me and convicted me that this was wrong. As God spoke to me, I made a fresh commitment that there would be no higher priority in my life than His Word. And from that time until the present, I have lived with a self-imposed rule: “No Bible — no food.” In other words, I made a personal commitment that if the Word of God did not go into my heart first thing every morning, then no food at all would go into my body. I simply made a decision to put the Word of God first and make it my highest priority, even “more than my necessary food” (see Job 23:12). This is not a biblical rule. It’s my own made-up rule that I needed to establish discipline in my own life.
*[If you started reading this from your email, begin reading here.]
Matthew 4:4 says, “…Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.” Why do we eat “bread” or natural food? We eat food because that’s what our body needs to maintain strength and health. And just as our body needs food every day, our spirit needs the Word of God every day for our spiritual health and vitality.
I want us to pause for a moment to look deeply at Matthew 4:4. Notice that this verse says we live “by every word” that comes out of the mouth of God, which is the Greek phrase epi panti rhemati. I want to take this phrase apart piece by piece so that you’ll get the full impact of what Jesus was teaching us.
The word “by” is the Greek word epi, which means on. The word “every” is the Greek word panti, and it means every. It is a compound of two words: pan, which means all, and the word ti, which denotes the smallest, most miniscule detail. Hence, it is every little piece. The word “word” is the Greek word rhemati and it is plural for the word rhema. It depicts living words.
When all these words are used as in Matthew 4:4, perhaps a better rendering might be that man lives by “feeding on the constant stream of rhema — living words — coming toward him from the mouth of God and by consuming all of it, every little piece down to the smallest detail.…”
This verse clearly teaches that we are to take every word of Scripture into our hearts and souls and feed on it. Every little nuance of the Word of God has power in it and brings nourishment to our lives. Just as we must have physical food to survive and thrive, so our spiritual nature must have God’s living Word as our daily sustenance if we are to live in His abundance and thrive. It is essential that we live “on” the Word of God if we want to spiritually flourish. To ignore or neglect our spiritual need for the Word is the equivalent of denying our bodies the food that they need to grow, develop, and prosper in health.
David said, “Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee” (Psalm 119:11). Whether we’re talking about a Christian who lived in the First Century or one who lives in the last days of the ages, the answer for living in a sin-darkened society is the same. We must become “people of the Book,” continually receiving God’s rhema — living words — words that He is speaking to us through His Word and His Spirit into our hearts and minds so the very substance of God can be released into our lives. We have to open up God’s Word like we would open a treasure and allow who is inside the written Word to flow within us. This Word is the only thing that will heal us and make us whole, protect our families, and help set our children and our marriages on a blessed, right course.
I encourage you today to renew your commitment to the Word of God like never before. Commit to Him that in these last days, you’ll fill your mind with His creative, restorative substance — His very Person and nature — which will provide you with healing, wholeness, deliverance, protection, and all the answers you need for life. Then the life that resides in you will flow out to others and create a river of blessing for them to participate in and enjoy!
MY PRAYER FOR TODAY
Father, I receive what I read today as a personal exhortation TO ME to renew my commitment to consuming the Word of God on a daily basis. I need “every word that proceeds from the mouth of God,” for it brings healing, wholeness, deliverance, protection, and it provides all the direction I need for my life. I ask You to forgive me for letting my commitment lapse, but today I make a new commitment that the Word of God will be the highest priority in my life, more than my daily necessary food.
I pray this in Jesus’ name!
MY CONFESSION FOR TODAY
I make a new commitment today that the Word of God will be the highest priority in my life and that I will consume it on a daily basis. I will fill my mind with His creative, restorative substance — His very Person and nature — which will produce healing, wholeness, deliverance, protection, and all the answers I need for my life. I will put first things first and open up God’s Word like a treasure to allow the Living Word who indwells the written Word to flow within me. God’s Word is the light and life that will make me whole, protect my family, and help set my relationships on a blessed, right course. I confess that I will allow the life of God’s Word in me to flow out to others and create a river of blessing for them to participate in and enjoy!
I declare this by faith in Jesus’ name!
QUESTIONS FOR YOU TO CONSIDER
- Be honest — how often do you read your Bible? God already knows the truth, so it’s good for you to level with yourself about this Is it enough to keep you spiritually strong? If you ate natural food the way you consume the spiritual food of God’s Word, what would your physical state be like?
- Do you have a daily Bible reading program to help guide you as you read through the Old and New Testament? If not, why not find one online, or ask your pastor what daily Bible reading plan he would recommend for you?
- What do you experience when you read the Bible? Do you sense that God is speaking to you?