Few Christian doctrines have caused as much trouble and confusion down the centuries as has the doctrine of communion. On the one side you have those who take a very literal interpretation of the words of Jesus when He said: “This is My body” and on the other you have those that take an allegorical sense of those same words.
As is always the case with any Christian controversy, a true understanding can only come about by combining an understanding given by the Holy Spirit to the words of the inspired Bible. It is that combination of the Spirit and the written word that leads us to the Word of God or Christ Himself in whom dwells all the riches of knowledge and understanding (see Colossians).
If we are ignorant of either one of these – either the Holy Spirit or the Bible – things can get quite confusing. Take as an example Proverbs 9: 1-6 and compare it with the same chapter verses 13-18. In the first section Wisdom calls out to the “Simple” and those “without understanding” and in the second section a foolish woman (Folly) does the same. Both have houses and both offer food and drink. Wisdom offers bread and wine and Folly offers bread and water. Wisdoms food and drink is her own. Folly’s is stolen from somewhere else.
We know from Proverbs 8 that Wisdom is personified by Jesus. It is His own body and blood He offers us – not something stolen from someone else. He paid a high price to give us the spiritual food we so badly desire.
However Folly gives us far more insipid fare. Proverbs 20:17 tells us that her food will turn to gravel in our mouths. Those who try to be satisfied with anything other than the body and blood of Jesus will be disappointed.
But have you seen what I did there? Here is a spiritual truth revealed through physical simple elements. The reality is not in the bread and wine or the water for that matter. The reality is in what they represent.
Proverbs is one of the Bible’s Wisdom books along with Job, Psalms, Ecclesiastes and Song of Songs. One of its major themes is the consequences of actions and words. According to the bible, discipline in what we speak, how we manage what goes into our bodies and what we do with our time all matter if we want to lead a godly life. It is the root meaning of what it means to be a disciple.
One of the great disciplines of the Christian is stillness. “Be still and know that I am God.” (Psalm 46:10) is easier said than done for most of us. It is essential though if we are to hear God. If we don’t hear the Holy Spirit within us we cannot pray.
Inner stillness can be disturbed by many things. What we eat can disturb our bowels making us uncomfortable and unable to stay still. What we have said to someone can disturb us, we may be aware that we have hurt someone with our words. Proverbs is full of admonishments to restrain our lips (e.g. Prov. 21:23) so that our souls and lives can be preserved.
Inner turmoil is exposed as soon as we try to be still. For that reason many people avoid trying to be still as much as possible. Some will work all day (usually older people), others will play video games or continuously interact with their smartphones (usually younger people). Continuously blaring music of all sorts is a very common way of avoiding being still for many of us. Constantly having the TV on or the radio when travelling is another way of avoiding inner turmoil.
Inner turmoil can keep us awake at night. Our aching bellies, unfulfilled desires, our troubled conscience, worries and fears are unavoidable at night when everything is quiet and still.
God’s answer to inner turmoil is for us to bring this bag of wind and tossing to His word and to be still before it. That is why there is so much right emphasis in Christian circles on having a disciplined daily quiet time with God – usually before we do anything else in a day. The word of God is living and active, it will cast a light over all that is going on within you and separate out what is of God and what isn’t (Hebrews 4:12). As we are still we can pray and the Holy Spirit will teach you about how to live (John 14:26).
Be still. Jesus commanded the wind and waves. He can do that for you also.