It was all wrapped up, finished as far as I was concerned. I had answered the question, What Are You Looking For? in a way I thought addressed the topic quite well. As followers of Christ we need to seek God’s plan – Done God’s way – In God’s timing – With God’s chosen resources so that we can fulfill our part. Then Mitch Teemley commented that the question should be, “what is God looking for?” So I set out to answer that question in the aptly named post What Is God Looking For? I addressed that topic with the same level of thoroughness as the previous question posed in my first post, but like my first post there was feedback. Brandon Adams commented that there were two ingredients that were essential to those who wished to live out surrender and obedience, the conclusion I had come to in the, What Is God Looking For? post.
If you think I am mad about the comments…
…think again! It can be tough to come up with new topics. Thank you Mitch and Brandon, not only did you challenge me to go deeper than I had originally intended but you saved me the extra brain strain and long periods of staring at the wall blankly trying to come up with a new topic.
The first ingredient is easy to overlook.
If I asked for a list of ingredients involved in making pasta or rice, many people would overlook the water. When reminded of the need for boiling water or steam to hydrate the uncooked ingredients the most likely response would be, “but everyone knows you need water to cook it, besides it doesn’t change the taste.”
Even if everyone knows you need water, not everyone remembers it as an important ingredient. As for having an effect on the taste, try putting uncooked pasta or rice in a pan, turn on the heat and cook it without water. Correct me if I am wrong but I think burnt tastes different than boiled or steamed.
What is the “easy to overlook” ingredient needed for submission and obedience?
Willingness! Simply put we have to be willing, not just in one area but in all areas. It sounds like a no brainer but it plays out much differently. Christ followers are all willing to submit to God as the only one who can address their sin. They are willing to obediently take steps that invite His grace and mercy into their lives. To continue with the metaphor of cooking pasta or rice, this is like saying I need pasta to make pasta or rice to make rice, more is needed.
What about the willingness to submit and obediently follow in every part of their lives, to seek God’s plan – Done God’s way – In God’s timing – With God’s chosen resources and to live out their part? In other words, what about the water so that the pasta or rice becomes fully cooked? We may have the dry pasta and rice but we need the other main ingredient or all we will end up with is the beginning of a great meal.
Why don’t we take a step back and ask a basic question.
Where does water come from? Where does the dry pasta or rice come from? I know it sounds silly and may even sound like the metaphor has taken on a life of its own, but please bear with me as I exploit it for all it is worth. The pasta and rice has to come from somewhere and so does the water, it doesn’t just appear. Our willingness has to come from somewhere, it doesn’t just appear.
It’s simple, just go out and buy some at the store.
All you have to do is take a detour, leave your normal route, part with something you have and you get what you need. Buying pasta or rice is just like salvation, we take a detour from our normal route and give up something we have to get something we need. It sounds simple but it requires us to admit we need something that we cannot get if we continue on the same path.
Okay, I have to admit the metaphor comes close to breaking down at this point but I will continue anyway. To step out beyond our own resources requires us to humble ourselves. I’m not sure what level of humility, if any, it takes to go out of your way to buy pasta or rice but I know it takes humility to be willing to admit you need to go outside of yourself to get something you need – salvation.
You have the pasta or rice, now what?
Many Christ followers stop at the pasta or rice, metaphorically speaking. If you want to complete the meal properly you need to add water. You don’t make water on your own (okay I know there is a joke in there somewhere) you need to turn on the tap. To step out beyond our own resources requires us to humble ourselves. Again I’m not sure what level of humility, if any, it takes to turn on a tap but I know it takes humility to be willing to go outside your own plan, your own ways of doing things and adopt God’s.
He guides the humble in what is right and teaches them his way. Psalm 25:9 (NIV)
Just add water, the ingredients and serve.
Only those who are humble will be willing and therefore ready to serve.
For some reason I have a craving for pasta and rice although I’m not sure they go together.