I love recipes! No really...I seriously do. Recipes saved me when I was first married. I had no idea how to cook so I began with Hamburger Helper and I evolved to recipes. I know how to follow directions well. As we'd spend time with friends and share a meal I would ask for their recipes or ask, "how did you make that?"
I began to venture out and cut out recipes out of magazines that would look and sound good. I loved trying new recipes on friends who would come over for dinner. We'd have friends over and my hubby would ask, "what are you making?" I'd share the fact that I was making a new recipe. The look on his face would be classic. Shock and freight is the mixture I would see on his face. Little did my husband know at that time, I follow directions well.
The last few weeks I've been overwhelmed with this reoccurring message that I see, hear and experience in my Christian life and in the lives I interact with. Do we look at your faith and walk with the Lord like a "recipe"? Is there a list of "ingredients" that you put apply to your life that you feel will result in godliness, righteousness and/or to be pleasing to God? Does this ingredient give you an end result that is pleasing to God? Maybe you don't see it in your life but you look at others from a far and believe if you do the same as they do, this "ingredient" will give you the result that you're seeking for your Christian life.
I remember being in a parenting class with my husband when our first son was under a year old. This parenting class was to prepare us for toddler life. The teachers were talking about the everyday items around the house that you should or not should not allow your children to play with so that when you'd be in someone else's home your child wouldn't think it was a toy. The teachers recommend that you as parents needed to decide what those items were for our individual families because we all would have different preferences. A young father raised his hand and asked, "do you have a list of items for us?" The teachers reiterated that each family needed to figure that out for their family because it's different for each family. The struggle on his face was evident. He wanted a list!
Our flesh fights and yearns for a list of "ingredients" that guarantee us assurance with our God. If we just do these things and apply these actions we are right with God and assured acceptance from Him. This is a lie.
One of the boy's friends was over recently and he asked me a question that lead me to recite to him Ephesians 2:8-9, "For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one can boast." It hit me like a ton of bricks...the word "grace" came alive. "Grace" is an undeserved gift; free gift. I can't do anything to gain or attain my faith. Its a free gift from God. No works! I said, NO works I can do. No ingredient or action I apply to my life will obtain faith or favor. It's all God and none of me. That's because so I can't boast or breed pride.
Matthew 22:36 40 "Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law? And he said to him, You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the greatest and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two depend all the Law and the Prophets."
The Pharisees knew Scripture. They were under the assumption that they had their spiritual life in order and were right with God. They had long list of ingredients that they did and applied everyday but God's recipe wasn't about the ingredients they applied, it was about their hearts. It was about what their hearts yearned and loved. What do you love? What consumes your heart? Love for God? Love for people?
My pastor has been in Romans on Sunday mornings and I continue to see how God used the Law to show the Israelites their need for the ULTIMATE SACRIFICE because they couldn't keep the Law. God doesn't care about what you do....He cares about what you love and is it HIM!? If you love Him what you do follows and it produces godliness. Doing doesn't produce godliness, loving the Creator and who He is in Christ with all your heart, mind, soul and strength does.
John MacArthur says this in his message, "The Glory of the Lord", "In the temple and in the tabernacle, there were no seats. You read the description of the tabernacle, you read the description of the temple, there were no seats nowhere. Why? Because a priest never finished and so he never sat down. Sacrifice, sacrifice, sacrifice by the millions and they never sat down because it never ever was a finished work. Jesus made one sacrifice and when it was finished He sat down. He sat down. It was over. There was nothing more to do. He finished and sat down. Hebrews 10:12, what a great verse, 'But this man....that is Christ...after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God.' He sat down because HE was finished."
Sister, no need to work any longer. Christ finished the work. God doesn't need our work. He completed it on the cross. What He wants is our hearts. What He wants is your life. What He wants is ALL of your love. Be consumed with what you love more than Him, not what you do for Him. Your love for Him will consume what you do for Him.