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Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Mix it up a little

I like how scripture reminds us we have been given EVERYTHING in order to live a life pleasing to him.  We sometimes need reminding it is a miraculous gift directly from the hands and heart of God "GIVEN" to us - not earned by us.  We get to know God by getting to know the one who was given on our behalf - Jesus.  All who see and know Jesus see and know God the Father - for Jesus is the revelation of the Father to us.  Knowing comes by getting to the level of intimacy within a relationship - developing more than a casual acquaintance with an individual.  In the most literal sense of the term - you cannot know another until you have come to "blend your life" with theirs. When you put a banana in the blender, the banana becomes mush when the blades whirl around.  Add a little milk to the mix and the banana takes on a creamier texture, but add a little ice cream to the banana and you have a special treat!  When the two "become one", the end product is awesome!

So don’t lose a minute in building on what you’ve been given, complementing your basic faith with good character, spiritual understanding, alert discipline, passionate patience, reverent wonder, warm friendliness, and generous love, each dimension fitting into and developing the others. With these qualities active and growing in your lives, no grass will grow under your feet, no day will pass without its reward as you mature in your experience of our Master Jesus. Without these qualities you can’t see what’s right before you, oblivious that your old sinful life has been wiped off the books.  (2 Peter 1:5-9 MSG)

We build upon what we have been given - for no union between two individuals will ever maintain itself on simply just "being" together.  There must be a continual "mixing of the parts" in order to bring a closeness of relationship between the two.  If you ever look at salad dressing, or some other condiment in the refrigerator, you know what I mean.  Even yellow mustard tends to separate the "solid" parts of the mustard mixture from the liquid.  You have to shake it up a little before you apply it to the bologna sandwich or else you will get this yellow liquid mess which only serves to soak your bread!  The salad dressing separates as it sits stagnant - but when you shake it up a little, the richness of the flavors begin to blend all together again and the experience is made better by the blending of all the parts.

We need to "add to" or "complement" our basic faith - by allowing the parts to be blended - what makes us uniquely us with what Christ works into our character as his presence becomes our dwelling place.  It isn't that we somehow have to "make our character" something it is not - for all the ingredients are there, we just need to allow Christ to "shake us up" a little to get the ingredients to blend!  Good character is given to us in Christ Jesus - it is part of who and what he is.  His presence in our lives brings good character into our lives.  Bad character is only displaced when something more desirable comes into its place.  Am I the only one who gets rid of spoiled stuff in the refrigerator when I have to make room for the new stuff I bring home from the grocer?  I didn't even remember that lonely tomato was in the back of the drawer until I notice the fuzz on it and notice the smell emanating from the fridge.

The same is often true about our character - we don't realize how "putrid" it has become until we see the awesomeness and freshness of what Christ brings in its place.  Spiritual understanding is what helps us to recognize the difference between the two.  Alert discipline is what helps us go through the process of weeding out what no longer belongs - those things within which we have hidden away, untouched, and unrecognized for the "spoilage" they have created in our lives.  Passionate patience is the thing which helps us not only open all the hidden places, but then to allow the clean up to occur.  I don't enjoy cleaning out the fridge, but I know it needs to be done every now and again - I cannot continue to put new in on top of the old.  Eventually the old will corrupt the new if I don't deal with the old first.  

In time, what seemed like a little bit of effort becomes a routine.  It happens naturally because of the "familiarity" we have with the process.  Christ's presence within us will begin to expose those dark areas where the putrid has been allowed to grow in silent oblivion.  His presence provides more than the means to expose, but the grace and persistence to remove that which is old so it can be space which is now occupied by the new.  All the dimensions of his character become ours as we allow our lives to be meshed together.  It isn't always without pain - for even the potato has to be crushed in order to accept the richness of the milk and creamy butter.  You could pour milk and add a few pats of butter to the top of the potato, but it would just run off. The only way the three parts become one is through the process we call "mashing".  In this process - there is a blending together - a yielding of the parts to make something of a different "consistency".  A yielded life will always change in "consistency" - for a yielded life is pliable and accepting of that which adds richness to it.  Just sayin!