I’ve never thought of myself as a gourmet chef, but when I need to I can prepare a decent meal. I also know that if you add too much of one ingredient and not enough of another, a recipe can be ruined.
When Peter wrote his second letter, his advice was to never add-a-vice to your life. Instead he advised people to add the right ingredients to their faith. He said a compliment of “good character, spiritual understanding, alert discipline, passionate patience, reverent wonder, warm friendliness, and generous love” is a good recipe for life (I Peter 2:5-11).
I encourage you to devise a plan that can de-vice you of your vices, and I advise you to add-a-vise of strength to your faith. When you add a cup of good character, and stir in some spiritual understanding, you might begin to smell the aroma of “passionate patience, reverent wonder, warm friendliness, and generous love,” your life will have a sweet aroma that’s pleasing to God.
This is the time of year that fresh produce is being grown in the gardens around town. When the tomatoes ripen and the squash and zucchini are harvested, new recipes are tried as backyard chefs’ fire up their grills. The key ingredient to the success of these culinary endeavors is that special spice you add to the entrée as it simmers on the grill.
Is there a favorite spice you use when you cook? Spices influence and change the flavor of food. If you were the spice of life, how would your influence be experienced?
- Would it be felt as true compassion or random passion?
- Would you be experienced as a warming fire or dangerous and easily provoked ire?
- Would your presence be recognized as sweet encouragement or bitter discouragement?
The difference between a good meal and a bad meal can be the difference between the right spice and a bad substitute. If the recipe calls for sugar, you can’t expect to get good results if you substitute cayenne pepper.
The same is true will a spiritual counterfeit and a genuine servant of God. The influence of one is positive and the influence of the other is negative.
Jesus said that you should “Be wary of false preachers who smile a lot, dripping with practiced sincerity. Chances are they are out to rip you off some way or other. Don’t be impressed with charisma; look for character. A genuine leader will never exploit your emotions or your pocketbook. These diseased trees with their bad apples are going to be chopped down and burned (Matthew 7: The Message).”
As the spice of life, are you genuine or a counterfeit?
If you are outside much in the Summer months, you know how pesky a little gnat can be: They get in your face; draw attention to themselves; and, they won’t leave you alone.
Because they are just as pesky, there are some sections of the Bible that I refer to as GNAT Scripture, and Psalm 19:1-4, is one of these. This Psalm is small, but pesky, in the way it prods you with its important principles.
When you read the verses below, notice the GNAT (Great, Noble, And Truthful) principles it contains:
The heavens are telling of the greatness of God and the great open spaces above show the work of His hands. Day to day they speak. And night to night they show much learning. There is no speaking and no words where their voice is not heard. Their sound has gone out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world.
Here are a few of the pesky thoughts that prod me whenever I read this Psalm:
- Just as the heavens testify of God’s greatness, the fruit you bear reveals your relationship with God . . . are you sweet, tart, or bitter?
- Notice the frequency of the testimony . . . day after day and night after night. There is no room for a Sunday Saint in the understanding and application of this Psalm. Do you live and breathe in such a way that the love of God flows from within you and is easily seen? Is it the rhythm of your life?
- Notice the far-reaching influence . . . through all the earth and to the end of the world. How far-reaching and powerful is your influence for Christ?
If your voice was the only voice that could be heard and your testimony was the only one that could be seen, how would your influence change the world?