Our bodies cannot survive without food. A regular intake of nourishment is required for physical health. This is woven into the very fabric of earthly life. Everyone knows this. Even babies, who cannot intellectually process what I’ve just written, seek food. What I am saying about the importance of food is so obvious that it hardly deserves saying.
What does deserve saying, however, is that the well-being of our souls is equally dependent on a kind of food. That food is righteousness. As the outer man needs physical food so the inner man needs spiritual food. Consider some things Jesus said in this regard.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.
– Matthew 5:6
Our inner beings can hunger and thirst for prosperity, popularity, pleasure, and many other things, but none of these things will lead to our being satisfied. However, when our inner beings hunger and thirst for righteousness, they can and will find satisfaction.
…My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me and to accomplish His work.
– John 4:34
The food of righteousness doesn’t just involve hearing what’s true and lasting; it also involves doing it.
He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life…
– John 6:54
There has never been anything more righteous in this world than the life and death of Jesus Christ. So great was His life and death that it was the first to ever justify an encore (resurrection from the dead). If we feed on what He did, and what was done to Him, we will find true life for ourselves.
In these striking words – “eat My flesh” and “drink My blood” – Jesus is not trying to talk us into becoming cannibals, nor is He inviting us to periodically sit through a ritual of organized religion. Rather, He is inviting us to think every day about the life He lived and the death He died. This righteousness of His will feed our souls forever, providing for us 1) a constant assurance of how much He loves us, and 2) a pattern for us to follow in serving our families and then our neighbors beyond.
The pattern is: Do good, expecting nothing in return…except from God. As it ultimately worked out well for Jesus, so it will ultimately work out well for us. The short-term sometimes belongs to the devil, but the long-term always belongs to God. This is the righteousness that feeds us.