Do you not yet understand, or remember the five loaves of the five thousand and how many baskets you took up? Matthew 16:9
Don’t forget the bread! That was Christ’s message to His disciples. He could have said; it’s not really about the bread.
Here is a problem Christians face, and it is a problem the disciples dealt with while walking with Jesus. Jesus had just been talking with the Pharisees and Sadducees. They left this discourse, and the disciples realized they had forgotten to bring bread to eat. They were pretty stressed about forgetting the bread and wondered how they were going to eat.
Jesus said, “Do you not yet understand, or remember the five loaves of the five thousand and how many baskets you took up?” Matthew 16:9.
But He wasn’t really concerned about the bread. He was addressing another issue. The disciples were very good at standing against those who outwardly stood against Christ. But they were often vulnerable when they interacted with hypocrites. People who presented themselves as sincere, and religious. The disciples (and Christians today) can be susceptible to help and believe those who say the right words. Sometimes we engage with people we think are sincere but turn out to be nothing they claim to be.
Jesus was very concerned about the impact the Pharisees and Sadducees would have on His disciples. He called them the “leaven.” He warned them not to get involved with them because spiritual people united with hypocrites were like bad leaven that spoiled the entire loaf.
Jesus was saying, “It’s not about the bread. I will provide for you. It’s about you choosing wisdom in your relationships.”
1. Life is full of daily choices. Choose to lean into the voice of God and walk away from the temptations of the flesh.
Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. James 4:7
2. Follow the example of Jesus in choosing to do your Father’s will and not live according to your own plans.
He went a little farther, and fell on the ground, and prayed that if it were possible, the hour might pass from Him. And He said, “Abba, Father, all things are possible for You. Take this cup away from Me; nevertheless, not what I will, but what You will.” Mark 14:35-36
3. Throughout scripture, there are warnings of pride and humility. Forsake pride, embrace humility… this is the key to God’s blessings.
Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up. James 4:10
4. Don’t just guard your heart, give your heart to God and choose to regularly seek HIs ways through the reading and study of His word.
My son, give me your heart, And let your eyes observe my ways. Proverbs 23:26
5. Glorify God, not only in spirit and words but also in how you use your body. Don’t let your physical body be in charge. Glorify Him with your mind, eyes, ears, lips, heart, hands, and feet.
Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s. 1 Corinthians 6:19-20
Remember these 5 critical decisions and move ahead with clarity and purpose in your life with Christ.
If you have been walking with God for a long time, you are not immune to the tempation to give up. What if you are in a crisis of life where your questions seem bigger than the answers. Don’t give up! This is not new, you are not the first Christ follower who has felt this way. Remember these 5 critical decisions and move ahead with clarity and purpose in your life with Christ.
The Decision To Endure In The Midst of Suffering
It’s not the person who suffers that is blessed; it’s the person who endures. Not all suffering is miserable — many times suffering leads to an unexpected reward.
Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him. – James 1:12
The Decision To Never Abandon the Faith
Throughout the Christian walk, as in all other areas of life, we make critical decisions. It’s dangerous to be “unaware” of the strategy of the enemy to try to pull us away from God. Where are you today in your spiritual walk? How deep is your love and commitment to Christ? Was there a time you were closer to Him than you are right now? What changed? Have you experienced the world pulling at you to put your faith aside? All believers experience moments when the enemy tries his hardest to get us to abandon our faith. Read carefully 2 John 2:7-9 and renew your commitment to Christ! It is worth it.
For many deceivers have gone out into the world who do not confess Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist. Look to yourselves, that we do not lose those things we worked for, but that we may receive a full reward. Whoever transgresses and does not abide in the doctrine of Christ does not have God. He who abides in the doctrine of Christ has both the Father and the Son. 2 John 1:7-9
The Decision To Not Give Up On The Bible
Have you ever struggled to understand the Bible? I mean, you know it’s God’s word and you know that the scripture is much more valuable than just any other writing, but you struggle with it. Sound familiar? Do you feel guilty about it? Don’t. So many Christians who lived way before you and I have struggled too. Satan also knows that it can be a struggle so the world embraces a cynicism toward the Bible. That devaluation of scripture can eventually influence even the most sincere Christian to give up on their own spiritual growth by reading and understanding God’s word. Let me encourage you today to get back on track! Start reading the Bible again, study it, get into a Bible study with a friend and commit to the decision to grow.
You therefore, beloved, since you know this beforehand, beware lest you also fall from your own steadfastness, being led away with the error of the wicked; but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory both now and forever. Amen. – 2 Peter 3:17-18
The Decision to Continue In Your Commitment
If you live a Godly life you will experience some suffering. But wait, didn’t Jesus say He would give what He called “the blessed life” to those who choose to follow Him? Yes, He said that and He doesn’t break His promises. But the world we live in can be a wicked place, filled with wicked people and because of this wicked world, there will be sin and suffering.
But here’s some really good news. Notice in the verses in 2 Timothy 3, how those who choose evil will continue to experience a life that gets worse and worse. Those who choose to continue in their commitment to Christ and follow the teachings they have learned of Him from childhood will continue to grow wiser, more faith-filled, more complete, more mature, and more equipped for life.
So, there may be some trials along the way, but the commitment to continue with God, growing and learning His word and His ways, will lead to a life that is better and better.
Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution. – 2 Timothy 3:12
But evil men and impostors will grow worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived. – 2 Timothy 3:13
But you must continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of, knowing from whom you have learned them, – 2 Timothy 3:14
and that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. – 2 Timothy 3:15
All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, – 2 Timothy 3:16
that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work. – 2 Timothy 3:17
The Decision To Deal With Your Blind Spots
Do you know anyone who has “blind spots?” I’ll bet you do! Before you let your mind start thinking about all the examples of people you know who do things that you think are weird, annoying or immature, think about this. You and I have both strengths and weaknesses. Our life journey with Christ is an ongoing process of maturity. Today’s scripture reminds us of this powerful truth. Count it all joy when trials come because these hardships will produce maturity, strengthen our weaknesses, reveal our blind spots, and help us to be more complete and more mature in our spiritual walk.
My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, – James 1:2
knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. – James 1:3
But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. – James 1:4
If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. – James 1:5