By my own admission, I’m a simple cook with limited abilities. I have a few “go-to” recipes in my culinary repertoire — but truth be told, I don’t enjoy cooking. More than two decades of cooking for children who rarely agreed on “what’s for dinner?” ruined the Joy of Cooking for me. Trying to please so many differing palates was impossible as there was always at least one, “I don’t like that!” at nearly every meal.
As an empty nester, I’ve recently dusted off my kitchen tools and begun experimenting with new recipes. My once hard-to-please children have provided encouragement in my gastronomic pursuit by gifting me with an amazing cookbook, Magnolia Table, by Joanna Gaines. The recipes in this book are fairly simple without a lot of complicated steps and ingredients. I pore over it weekly, bravely trying my hand at down-home southern cooking.
During my quiet time last week, I was poring over another book – my Bible, when the book of Ephesians spoke to me. The words of Paul the Apostle started me thinking that the Bible is a recipe book of sorts for living a Godly life. Most of the instructions are fairly simple without a lot of complicated steps. When followed correctly, God’s Word provides spiritual manna that will nourish and strengthen our souls. As we chew on God’s Word, the goal is to become successful ambassadors for Christ.
I sometimes struggle with following the Bible exactly as it’s written – much the same way I’ve had trouble following complicated recipes. I’m tempted to take shortcuts and add or subtract ingredients if a recipe proves too laborious.
“In your anger do not sin.” Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry,
Ephesians 4:26 (NIV)
For me personally, my human frailties would rather I stuff my feelings instead of resolving an issue “before the sun goes down.” I frequently interpret this to mean: hold onto my anger for days, giving my husband the silent treatment until I’M ready to hash things out.” Oh wait … every Bible doesn’t say that? That’s actually from the wildly unpopular book of 1 Kathleen; a book written by someone who is a rather flawed disciple who’s been known to occasionally tweak a recipe (or Scripture) to suit her fleshly desires.
There are many, many Scriptures that instruct us on how to live in obedience to God, but most of those instructions require some choice and effort on our part. We need to understand that none of us will get it right 100% of the time – but it’s important that we are always working on spiritual growth and maturity.
The Bible isn’t exactly like a cookbook though, in the fact that we’d be wise not to make substitutions to suit our personal interpretation. Whenever possible “stick to the recipe!” The goal of staying in the Word is to help satisfy our Spiritual longings, but always make us hunger for more of God. We should obey God’s commandments because we love Him … as He first loved us.
What a delicious recipe for living to chew on …
My dear children, I am writing this to you so that you will not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate who pleads our case before the Father. He is Jesus Christ, the one who is truly righteous. 1 John 2:1 (NLT)
Blessings in Christ,