July 12, 2019

Same Ingredients, Opposite Result

I think it would not be an overstatement to say that everyone enjoys eating. Some people are like Esau in the Bible — they would trade anything for food. After all, in our desperate moments of hunger and starvation, who wouldn’t do whatever it takes to get some food?

Yet, when food is poorly prepared as a result of not following the recipe correctly, we detest it and are hardly excited at eating. It is amazing that in food preparation, two people could use the same ingredients and get two opposite (delicious or disgusting) results simply because one followed the recipe while the other did not.

The same principle applies to our daily lives.

The mind of God is to bless everyone and give us the best in life that we wish for and anticipate. However, there are principles to follow if we want to fully benefit from and enjoy all that God has prepared for us. It is similar to following the recipe for making a particular kind of dish. Two people with the same life ingredients can end up with two opposite results (a blessing or a curse).

We are all given the opportunity to be human beings: we all bear the image of God, which provides us with the opportunity to relate with Him in any location or circumstances. We all exist in nature and are part of nature, which speaks profoundly about the reality of God. We all have the opportunity to know God and experience His salvation in our lives (some have even been raised in Christian homes, or predisposed to Christian influence over an extended period). Despite all this, we sometimes end up with two opposite results. Why? Our attitude toward following the recipe.

Psalm 1:1 declares that a person is blessed when he or she “walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the path of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful” (NKJV). We can enjoy the bounties of heaven and the privileges of happy and fulfilling lives here on earth by simply following God’s plan for our lives. God requires us to walk in His counsel (follow all His instruction in the Bible — the divine recipe). He expects us to stay away from the company of those who devise evil plans against innocent people, those who mock other people or delight in seeing others suffer and groan in pain. 

God loves people who are inflicted with pain, those who endure suffering. It is the reason He calls everyone to follow His recipe, not because He wants to deny us of any pleasure or happiness but because He wants us to enjoy the best of life, to be “like a tree planted by the rivers of water” (Psalm 1:3). He wants us to prosper.

How beautiful our world would be if we’d followed the best recipe in our daily lives, in our families, our churches, and our society. The best recipe is the Word of God.

This commentary was originally posted on the West-Central Africa Division news site.