I have a misguided habit. Well, actually I have many but you get to hear about one today.
When I cook, I don't always follow the recipe. I free-wheel it. Phew, I said it. I'm sure there is rehabilitation for people like me. Someday I will tell you about my bread dough making and yeast.
As I begin a dish, I start with the key ingredient, then I think a little of this and a little of that might enhance the flavor so I throw it in. Well, one thing leads to another and pretty soon, I'm letting the creative juices flow and add things that God never designed to go together. Boom, a major explosion of flavors occur and the once coveted dish is now something your dog wouldn't give to the cat.... On the other hand, I stumble into some dishes that really are engaging. Apparently, the recipe is an important tool for success.
Culinary art schools train chefs to prepare scrumptious food and educate them to understand how ingredients can enhance flavors. Chefs understand how to combine things that lead to a symphony of flavor. Our faith is much the same. God puts forth a fail-safe recipe for us to follow in order that our faith and final destination are secured and enjoyed. The apostle Peter describes the recipe here:
"For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But if anyone does not have them, he is nearsighted and blind, and has forgotten that he has been cleansed from his past sins. Therefore, my brothers, be all the more eager to make your calling and election sure. For if you do these things, you will never fall, and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ." (2 Peter 1:5-11, NIV)
Our faith is not a static thing but a living organism that once procured is able to grow and be strengthened or left unattended and die. Note how our faith should be mixed with other elements of life and practice. All the underlined ingredients are essential in our faith development. You would do well to note some of these are ingredients we tend to ignore on a regular basis. The other point of interest is in the 'increasing measure' of the underlined ingredients.
When all these crucial applications come together in our life, a delicious and engaging faith is exhibited. The text speaks to the individual and their faith. I would argue that an engaging faith for you and I could be the tipping point for an unchurched person to decide whether to seek God or not.
How is your faith looking in the pot? Are you adding ingredients according to God's recipe or are you free-wheeling it?