Monday, January 25, 2016

recipe for success

OK, so many years ago I was sitting in my office and drinking a "Raspberry Zinger" iced tea. Out of curiosity, I started to read the ingredients on the label. Wouldn't you know it... in this particular brand of raspberry zinger iced tea there was not a raspberry to be found! Not one!!! Next to the list of ingredients, there was a phone number with the comment, "Got questions about our product, call us at... bla bla bla." So, I decided to call and ask why nobody bothered to think about adding raspberries to a product that implied by it's name that it would maintain such an ingredient. (Clearly, I had too much time on my hands this particular day. Ha ha.)

After a few rings, a young man answered the customer service line. He patiently listened to me read all the ingredients from my tea bottle. Then, I finally questioned him why there were no raspberries included in my raspberry zinger iced tea. Whattup, dude?

There was silence on the other end of the phone for quite some time. Then, finally, the customer service guy simply stated, "Well, I guess that's the zinger now, isn't it?"

WHAT? That's all you have to say?

I'm happy to report that this company has finally corrected the problem and added raspberries to their raspberry zinger iced tea; but overall the experience left me with a sour taste in my mouth. As I see it, if you say you are something... be true to what you advertise! If you claim to have a certain special ingredient in your product... you must actually follow-through and put said ingredient inside the contents.

The same is true in the Christian life. I find that many people casually claim to believe in God. They have faith that He exists and is in control over all things. However, when you really look closely at all the ingredients that make up their lives... much is lacking. The special ingredient of Jesus does not show up in their contents. They do not subscribe to Christ's prescribed recipe for success and thus fall short of what is truly fulfilling. Rather, they drink in all forms of false gods and stimulate their senses with varying idols of hype... all hoping to satisfying their thirst for identity... peace... joy... balance. But the zinger is, without Jesus they will never, ever know those assurances. Without the Savior, they will never taste true freedom or be filled with real love.

God has given us a clear recipe for success in His Word with regard to how we are to live for Him. These include things like the command to love one another (John 13:34-35), the call to follow Him at the cost of denying our own desires (Matthew 16:24), the exhortation to care for the poor and needy (James 1:27), the warning to not fall into sinful behaviors like those who don’t know God (1 Thessalonians 5:6-8), and the list goes on and on. He summarized a life lived for God when a teacher of the law asked Him the most important of commandments. He replied, “Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these” (Mark 12:29-31).

Also, Jesus’ prayer prior to His crucifixion sheds light as to what our purpose should be. In reference to those that follow Christ, He prayed, “I have given them the glory you gave me, that they may be one as we are one: I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me. Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world. Righteous Father, though the world does not know you, I know you, and they know that you have sent me. I have made you known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them.” (John 17:22-26)

In short, our eternal recipe for success is to glorify God and enjoy His presence forever. We must live completely FOR Him and completely WITH Him. We must pursue Him with our entire being – heart, soul, mind, and strength. We must seek Him in the only place He may be found—in His Word. Therefore, we must dive into scripture regularly and seek the guidance of the Holy Spirit to apply the Word to our lives. Scripture says that we are to abide in Christ (John 15:4, 8) and therefore act like Him - truthfully representing on the outside what we claim to be on the inside. As we draw nearer to God and come to know Him more and more, His desires will more naturally become ours. He will correct our problem of sin. He will add in the missing ingredient of holiness. And as we mature in Him, our desire to obey and love Him will increase.

I encourage every DW to honestly determine if Jesus is really the main ingredient in your life. Ask yourself... do you KNOW Him? Are you representing a truthful life of love and service in His Name, or are you just claiming to be something you are not and focusing on things you should not.

Jesus said, “If you love me, you will obey what I command.” (John 14:15) Have you bothered to regularly learn what He has said? Have you taken time to know His eternal truths? Have you aligned yourself with the Master in order to be filled with His unending grace and love? Have you walked away from childish, worldly things so that you may be filled and satisfied in the Savior? "When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me." (1 Corinthians 13:11)

Ladies, this is the day to step into the anointed and abide in Jesus. This is the day to add His holiness into your life and rejoice as you live truthfully in what you claim to believe. "Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says." (James 1:22)

Take time to be holy,
speak oft with thy Lord;
abide in Him always,
and feed on His Word.
Make friends of God's children,
help those who are weak,
forgetting in nothing
His blessing to seek.

Take time to be holy,
the world rushes on;
spend much time in secret
with Jesus alone.
By looking to Jesus,
like him thou shalt be;
thy friends in thy conduct
His likeness shall see.

Take time to be holy,
let Him be thy guide,
and run not before Him,
whatever betide.
In joy or in sorrow,
still follow the Lord,
and, looking to Jesus,
still trust in His Word.

Take time to be holy,
be calm in thy soul,
each thought and each motive
beneath His control.
Thus led by His spirit
to fountains of love,
thou soon shalt be fitted
for service above.
(W.D. Longstaff, 1882)

THIS IS THE DAY to throw some fresh raspberries in your iced tea and enjoy the holy zing - the vitality of JESUS in your life! WOO HOO! Let's live like we mean it and add in the only ingredient... the only One worth savoring! Let's be true to what we are advertising and claim Jesus Christ as the primary content in our life. Then, let's follow through and seek after His daily presence and guidance! Holy Holy Holy is the Lord God Almighty! Blessed be His Name!!!



© The Devoted Woman | Victoria Anderson

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