Saturday, February 4, 2012

The perfect recipe

My niece enjoys baking, so on Thanksgiving, she made an 8" X 8" pan of brownies.  She asked if they were too chewy, as she thought she might have put too much vegetable oil in them.  I said no, they were just fine and I asked why she thought they might have too much oil.  She said she didn't have any measuring cups at her dad's house.  I rectified this at Christmas - I got her a gift bag with a glass measuring cup, some measuring spoons, baking sheets, etc.  She was very excited. I felt good knowing I purchased a present for a teenage girl that she actually liked.  I guess I'm not as square as I thought. 

Baking is not very difficult if you have all the right ingredients in the amounts called for in the recipe and you follow the recipe instructions precisely.  Upon reflection, I was struck by the similarities between baking and the Christian life.

Baking is a conscious decision.  You have to decide to bake something – it’s not an everyday activity like cooking a meal (unless you are employed as a baker, of course).  Deciding to repent of your sins and praying to receive Jesus into your heart and make Him the Savior of your life is also a conscious decision – it doesn’t just happen.  The first thing you have to do in order to be a Christian is to be saved - that is, to repent of your sins and ask Jesus to be your Savior.

In order to bake something correctly, you have to refer to the recipe, which tells you what ingredients you need and in what quantity, the order in which to mix the ingredients, how to prepare the baking pan, the temperature at which to set the oven, and the length of time to bake.  The Bible is the instruction book, or the cookbook, if you will, for the Christian life. 

Once you are saved, what ingredients make up a Christian life?  Here’s a few:

1.  Read the Word.  In order to know the Lord better and how He wants you to live and treat others, you need to read your Bible on a daily basis.  It’s even better if you can join a Bible study group where you can discuss the Scriptures with like-minded believers.

2.  Prayer. In order to have a relationship with God, you need to spend time with Him in prayer.  He wants us to communicate with Him, to let Him know our needs and desires.  Corporate prayer with other Christians is also very good.  

3.    Join a Bible believing church, attend Sunday services on a regular basis and participate in fellowship activities.  Spending time in worship helps you grow closer to the Lord.  Spending time with other Christians in worship and fellowship helps support your walk in the Lord.  Fellow Christians will share your joys and troubles and they'll pray for you and with you. 

4.  Go make disciples.   Jesus told the apostles that they should go into all the world and make disciples.  We are to do this also. We should love the Lord and be so excited about our faith that we want others to know who Jesus is and how they can be saved. 

Sometimes, though, whatever you're baking doesn't come out like it should.  Perhaps the oven's thermostat is off and the cake doesn't rise.  Maybe you used much water in the recipe and the batter is too thin.  Maybe you left the cookies in the oven too long and they burned.   In the Christian life, mishaps like that are called sin.  As the baking mishaps separate us from the yummy baked goods we thought we were making, sin separates us from God.  We have to throw away the baking mistakes and start all over.  When we sin, we go before the Lord and repent, asking for forgiveness.  His death on the Cross covers all our sins.  We can start the recipe over again and try harder next time. 

That's all for now.  Thanks for reading!