It always troubles me to hear about people who are struggling with various issues in life. And obviously when they are people you know personally, it just brings the reality of those “life struggles” closer to home. In addition, the possibility that these “struggles” are self induced really frustrates me. As a pastor of a local congregation, these type of things would really frustrate me. Why would people make choices, time and again, that would lead them to a bad place in life?
As my wife and I were eating breakfast this morning, I thought of a very simple analogy to illustrate this. Life is like following a recipe while baking a cake. Lets say I told you I was following a recipe to bake a chocolate cake. BUT, I told you I was leaving out the flour and not going to use any type of cocoa or chocolate AND I decided that I would bake the cake at 650 degrees rather than the 350 degree temperature that the recipe called for. What would you tell me? I would hope that you would encourage me to reconsider what I was doing and to “follow the recipe.”
The fact that you would encourage me to “follow the recipe” would not mean that you wanted me to be “legalistic” about my cake baking. After all, it is not like I told you I was going to use 1 and 3/4 cups of flour instead of two or that I was going to use chocolate syrup rather than cocoa powder. You would know that I am missing vital ingredients for the cake; you would know that my baking temperature is far to high. Because you are a friend, you would inform me that I am not following the recipe properly. If I was open to a helpful word from a friend, I would take your advice and be thankful for it. I would not accuse you of “putting extreme cooking rules” on me or being a “legalistic baker.”
It really frustrates me when I observe people, who are struggling, that are simply not ” following the recipe” given to us by God. In my mind, it is not about breaking religious rules or legalism. It is not about them doing things that I personally do not agree with. It is not even about the fact that they may disagree with me on certain issues. In my heart and mind it is about the reality that they are attempting to bake a cake while not following the recipe. And I know that in the end, they will not be happy with the results. -Not because I consider myself to be a master baker, but because I have learned, the hard way, to follow the recipe.