I used to enjoy eating dinner out at various restaurants, but ever since the Lord laid this historic effort and burgeoning ministry on my heart and led me to commit my entire life savings to this, I haven’t eaten out, not even a single time, so let’s just say I’ve been doing a lot more cooking in my kitchen, more in the past year alone than my entire life prior to that combined.

I’ve always done a pretty good job at staying away from sweets and junk food.  Pretty good.  There’s always that stray week or two each year that I discover my sweet tooth.  Last week was just such a time, so I went to my local store and bought a few different cake mixes.  Carrot cake.  Chocolate.  Banana nut.  (Hungry yet?)

They were so delicious in theory.  But a funny thing happened on the way to the kitchen.  Actually, not funny at all.  The opposite of funny.  Because they turned out to taste terrible.  Inedible!

But why, I wondered to myself, what went wrong?  How on earth did I go zero-for-three, a total strike out in ovenland?

Simple:  upon further review (as an NFL referee would say) I realized that I didn’t follow the directions on the box.

Rookie mistake.  But it hit me that the Christian life is no different.  All we have to do is FOLLOW THE CLEAR DIRECTIONS.  And thankfully, God has graciously given us an error-free, tried and true, can’t-fail Cookbook.  The Bible.  And it’s not nearly so complicated as so many might think:

  • “God has shown you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.” (Micah 6:8)
  • “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind… and your neighbor as yourself.” (Matthew 22:37-39)
  • “Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor; not lagging behind in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; rejoicing in hope, persevering in tribulation, devoted to prayer, contributing to the needs of the saints, practicing hospitality.” (Romans 12:10-13)
  • “Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, that it may give grace to those who hear.  And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.  Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice, and be kind to on another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.” (Ephesians 4:29-32)
  • “Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind let each of you regard one another as more important than himself; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.” (Philippians 2:3-4)
  • “And so, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience, bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you.” (Colossians 3:12-13)
  • “To sum up, let all be harmonious, sympathetic, brotherly, kindhearted, and humble in spirit; not returning evil for evil, or insult for insult, but giving a blessing instead; for you were called for the very purpose that you might inherit a blessing.” (1 Peter 3:8-9)

The simple truth is that I can try and try and try again to bake a cake using pear concentrate instead of eggs but it’s just not going to turn out properly.  So from now on, I’m just going to FOLLOW THE DIRECTIONS – in cooking (on the box) AND especially in the Christian life (in the Bible).  TO A TEE.  Without substitution.  So the rest of my life will turn out far better than those cakes.
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