Monday, October 11, 2010

Not Following the Recipe is a Recipe for Disaster

Last year we ‘inherited’ a few dozen cook books from an elderly woman who was downsizing! They are still sitting in our storage shed. Why? Because I don’t like following recipes. Last year, a movie about cooking, “Julie and Julia” detailed the story of a writer, named Julie, who aspired to cook all 524 recipes in Julia Child's cookbook in 365 days, and then blog about her success. As Julie tries to replicate Julia’s recipes, she follows them to the letter—the slightest mistake causes her to toss it and start over.

That would never work for me. If cooking isn't a creative adventure, it isn't satisfying. By adding a little of this and a little of that I create something uniquely mine. Now I hope you won’t think this is contrived, but I think we are increasingly seeing people use the Bible this way. As it becomes more difficult to reconcile Biblical standards with our sensual culture, people add a little of what they like and take away what they don't, creating something that tastes good to them: a recipe for disaster.

You might say that God doesn't trust us in the kitchen: ‘too many cooks spoil the soup,’ that sort of thing. God’s Word is full of recipes—some the plans of ambitious, self-serving men and women which led to disaster; others recipes for success. I am glad God has given us clear instructions for living. Just imagine if God’s instructions were so random we could never know what to expect. But thank God His Word is a recipe for success: a lamp unto my feel and a light unto my path
(Ps. 119:105). “For a time is coming when people will no longer listen to right teaching [no longer follow the recipe]. They will follow their own desires and will look for teachers who will tell them whatever they want to hear” (2 Timothy 4:3 NLT).

1 comment:

  1. Greg,

    I know people who treat their faith much like the Julie character in "Julie and Julia"--the WAY they practice their faith is literally the WAY they saw it practiced. And they don't allow anyone else to practice or apply "the faith which was once for all delivered unto the saints" in any other way. Having this mindset is a slippery slope that inevitably leads to legalism. I believe Jesus reserved His most severe criticism to folks like this.

    But picking and choosing which eternal truths to incorporate into one's practice based on convenience is also just as dangerous. This is similar to the principle of innoculation. If a person is exposed to just enough truth and they fail to act upon it as if it IS truth, then they will become immune to its power. Our modern day syncretistic practices are unfortunately having this effect!