My husband and I love a thick and creamy homemade, chicken vegetable soup. I pre-cook the chicken, debone it, and return it to the pot. Then I add a variety of vegetables and seasoning to the chicken and broth and allow the ingredients to simmer, while tasting and adjusting periodically. As the ingredients simmer, a wonderful aroma wafts through the home. Thinking about this, it occurred to me that faith develops much like a potpourri of flavors in a crockpot.
A crockpot is a depository for cooking ingredients over a long period of time. God has us in a type of "crockpot" where He prepares us for heaven. If Christ is not at the center of our life, then we are nothing more than a simmering pot of carnality that is self-seeking, self-serving, self-absorbed, vain, thoughtless, and looking out for number one—self.
God monitors our response to the "heat" of life's challenges. For our responses determine the strength of our faith. Often when a crockpot reaches a full boil, we turn it to "medium" or "low." When the ingredients are done, we turn it to the "warm" setting for serving. Depending on what God is trying to accomplish within us, will determine the temperature He sets at different intervals of our life.
God's love for us is so great, that He will not hesitate to turn the heat up from "low" to "high" in order to get our attention. He may also make adjustments when there is an imbalance in the flavor and fragrance of our life, because He desires that we, as Christ followers, carry and diffuse the fragrance of Christ throughout the world.
With Christ as the very center of our life, we must then be open to God's correction. Those of us who cook, know that when preparing a dish, we often taste repeatedly to make various corrections and changes to the flavor until it is just right. God tells us, "whoever loves instruction loves knowledge, but he who hates correction is stupid" (dense, ignorant, irrational, foolish) (Proverbs 12:1 NKJV).
Correction means to amend a version of something or to rectify an error. Before we accepted Christ as our Lord and Savior, all of us were on the wrong path, walking in error. We made many mistakes and added things to our lives that misdirected and misguided us. Some of those things harmed us. As Christ followers, we require daily correction, because each day, the flesh wants to revert to what it once knew and enjoyed.
A good soup cannot be made in minutes; the Christian life cannot be made overnight. God has been patiently working in me for 47 years, for which I am grateful. He knows the potential within me and within each of us. Therefore, He painstakingly guides us in making gradual corrections, which eventually give birth to maturity as a Christ follower. Hence, a sweet aroma reaches others, because we then carry the pleasing aroma of Christ to those being saved and those who are perishing (2 Corinthians 2:15 NIV). For that reason, we must always be submitted to God, embracing His wisdom, His correction, and His knowledge, so that we can grow in faith.
Often, when cooking, we might not get the flavor just right because of too much or too little of an ingredient or seasoning. However, we don't throw the entire pot out because of a mistake or even a few mistakes. We keep working with the dish until it reaches the right consistency and flavor for serving. Equally as we learn and grow in the things of God, He doesn't become frustrated when we are not "seasoned" perfectly. He sees too much value in the ingredients that have been invested, so He continues to work with us. It is never an option to throw out what He started and begin again with all new ingredients, for He says, "if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with perseverance" (Romans 8:25 NKJV).
Perseverance means to be steadfast in doing something despite difficulty, delay, or obstacles in achieving success. With love and perseverance, God waits patiently for us to become that balanced blend of strength, courage, obedience, wisdom, humility, mercy, forgiveness, moral fiber, and faith.
God's crockpot can be painful. We may encounter circumstances and challenges that we don't understand. However, that is not the time to resist Him, because as ambassadors for Christ, God makes His appeal to the world through us (2 Corinthians 5:20). And very often those appeals are made through us in ways that we don't understand. Therefore, we must embrace the opportunity and trust and submit to His mighty hand. For in trusting Him, we achieve victorious faith that allows us to diffuse the fragrance of His knowledge to others, because we are the fragrance of Christ (2 Corinthians 2:14-16).
May we all submit to God, as His watchful eye monitors, and His steady hand stirs and tastes, until He is satisfied that we carry the fragrance of Christ. For God calls the world to "taste and see that the Lord is good" (Psalm 34:8). And it is the aromatic fragrance emitting from us that will cause the lost and hungry to eagerly taste of His goodness.
LORD, help me to be teachable and submit to Your correction. Give me the gifts of perseverance and faith so that when life heats up with all of its challenges, I will draw closer to You and make the proper corrections, thereby, creating a sweet aroma in my life that reach others. In Jesus name, amen.