But whoever keeps His word, in him the love of God has truly been perfected.  By this we know that we are in Him: the one who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked.  1 John 2:5-6 NIV

“What are you fixing?” was my response to my mom’s invitation to dinner.  Not that it really mattered, my mom can make a scrumptious meal out of anything, and I literally mean anything.  She answered with, “Well I’m trying something new” – again nothing out of the ordinary.  She began to list the ingredients, which included hotdogs, chili, baked beans, and cornbread mix.  “I’m going to layer the ingredients in a dish.”

“So you’re fixing slop in a pan?”… insert grimaced face here… Slop in my mind does not equal edible. It equals – GROSS and SMELLY!

Sounds disgusting right … WRONG!  It was absolutely DELICIOUS, and I’m not just saying that.  Anyone who has known me for any length of time knows that if I am anything, I am honest.  Brutally honest sometimes!  I don’t leave many people wondering about my opinion on most topics.

As I sat at my mom’s kitchen table, devouring the meal before me, I told her… “Mom, you have got to write a recipe book” and almost in complete unison we both began to laugh.  Not because the idea was so far-fetched, but because she and I both knew how impossible that would be.  My mom is one of the best cooks I know, and she is always trying to perfect the flavors by adding to and taking away from her recipes – which makes creating that same taste again next to impossible.

Unlike my brother, I did not inherit her mad cooking skills.  I rely heavily on recipes!  You give me a recipe and you give me confidence that I can make an edible and hopefully delicious meal. However, without a recipe and left to my own abilities I can promise you this, you will be left hungry and craving something else.  The same principle applies to life as well.

As a Christian, a child of God, we’ve been given a “recipe book” on how to live a sweet and savory life – one that is pleasing God, the only appetite worthy of satisfying.  However, when we stray from the recipe, when we rely on our own knowledge and abilities to perfect this life, the outcome will be the same.  We will be left hungry and craving something else.

Christian… would you like to know how to live a life full of confidence?  We must see ourselves for who we really are… a simple vessel, capable of performing nothing good on our own.  We are told in Isaiah 64:6, “For all of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous deeds are like a filthy garment” – meaning that we are a polluted, sin-filled creature at our very best.  Therefore, every thought we have, every word we say, every action we perform… regardless of our efforts and intentions… none of it is worthy of our Lord.

How awesome is that?  No!  Seriously think about it!

It’s not about our talents and abilities.  Nor is it about how well we perform.  It never was.  It’s all about Him, and what He is allowed to accomplish in and through us.  When we trust God and His abilities ALONE to perform in us what He has called to happen through us, we arrive at a place where self-ability no longer measures self-confidence.

Am I willing to hand over of the chef’s hat and simply follow the Master Chef’s recipe written in His Holy Word?  Am I willing to walk just as Jesus walked?  Am I willing to love my enemy, forgive when I’ve been unjustly wronged, return good for evil, show kindness to those who repay with ungratefulness?  Am I willing to be rejected by the same world that rejected His Son?  Am I willing to lay aside my will to further His?  Am I willing to daily offer every ounce of my being on His altar at all cost?  It is my desire to answer with a confident and unwavering yes!

Oh Precious Heavenly Father!  As I look back on the good things I’ve done, Lord I can’t help but to see Your hands orchestrating it.  At my very best, I still fall short, and thankfully it’s no surprise to You.  You never expected me to get it perfect, that’s why Jesus had to come.  I will never achieve perfection on this side of eternity.  But Lord that shouldn’t stop me from striving to do it just like Jesus did – to precisely follow the recipe that is so clearly spelled out in Your precious Word.  Lord it’s through Your grace, Your mercy and Your sacrifice, ALONE, that I will one day walk just as He walks!  Oh what a day that will be!  Until then Lord may I always rely on You to be the source of my confidence, realizing it’s through You, for You and by You that I succeed… AMEN!

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