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Tuesday, July 21, 2009

The Right Ingredients

Several years ago, my son wanted to make some cookies for the fair. He wanted to choose the recipe all by himself. Instead of looking through cookbooks, he decided to search on the internet for the perfect recipe. Eventually, he found one he liked and printed it out to show me. As I scanned the recipe ingredients, making sure we had all of them, I noticed that we didn't have one of the key ingredients. But, it wasn't something simple, such as flour, sugar, or eggs that we could quickly run to the store and purchase. No, not at all! His missing ingredient he had failed to even notice...was crushed crickets!! Yuck! Can you imagine that? The recipe he had choosen was called "Chocolate Chirpie Chip Cookies"! He just liked the name and didn't realize that the "chirpie" part was referring to crushed crickets. "Oops! Sorry Zachary, but we are fresh out of crushed crickets". (Thankfully!) And mom wasn't willing to go get that ingredient, either! Of course, Zachary was just as shocked as I was and quickly went off to search for another recipe.

Having the right ingredients for a recipe is essential. Without a key ingredient, a recipe can flop. Recently I posted about "recipes" and how God gives us many "Recipes for Life" throughout the Bible. It's chock-full of good recipes for our spiritual lives! One of those God-inspired recipes is from 2 Peter 1:3-10 .

"His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.

For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But if anyone does not have them, he is nearsighted and blind, and has forgotten that he has been cleansed from his past sins. "

In verse 3, Peter tells us that God will supply us with the ingredients we need for life and godliness, "His (God’s) divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness." The small print on God's "recipe" is the part that says, "through our knowledge of Him". We have to come to know God. And, we come to know Him through the time we spend with Him in prayer, in the reading of His Word, and through our times of worship and praise to Him. Our knowledges of Him begins with our faith in Him, as verse 5 points out.

The ingredients God will supply to each of us, as Christians, are listed in the passage above. We begin with our faith, then add ingredients to that faith. (Imagine for a moment that you have a bowl of faith: Some have a small bowl, some have a medium-sized bowl; others may have a big bowl.) Our bowls of faith are all different sizes, depending on our spiritual maturity.

Now let's add the next ingredients in God's recipe to our bowl of faith:
1. GOODNESS - Verse 5: "For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness"

2. KNOWLEDGE - Verse 5: "and to goodness, knowledge"

3. SELF-CONTROL - Verse 6: "and to knowledge, self-control"

4. PERSEVERANCE - Verse 6: "and to self-control, perseverance"

5. GODLINESS - Verse 6: "and to perseverance, godliness"

6. BROTHERLY KINDNESS - Verse 7: "and to godliness, brotherly kindness"

7. LOVE - Verse 7: "and to brotherly kindness, love."

If you were to rate yourself on each of these ingredients, how much of each would you have? A small amount or a large amount?

God's recipe includes instruction about how much of each of these ingredients we should have. (Remember, His recipes are without error and they are perfect!) Verses 8-9 tell us how much we should have. It doesn't matter what amount of each ingredient we have, as long as we continue increasing each of them. In other words, we should continue to grow each of these "ingredients" as we walk our Christian walk. And these verses also tell us why this is important: To be effective and productive Christians. What if we fail to add one of these important ingredients or decide to leave one of them out? God's recipe tells us about that, as well. If we fail to add one of them, we have forgotten about Jesus and how He gave His life to cleanse us from our sins.

This recipe is sure to be a success when we pay special attention to all of the ingredients! God again tells us so with this promise in verses 10-11 following the above passage: "Therefore, my brothers, be all the more eager to make your calling and election sure. For if you do these things, you will never fall, and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ."

I am grateful for this "Recipe for Life" God gave us and for His recipes that never fail. Visit Heavenly Homemakers for more Gratituesday.

Also, please visit Life's a Bowl of Cherries, a family recipe blog for some great recipes from my family to yours!
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