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Is this really creme brulee?

The believer comes to a place of revelation and deep introspective consideration from time to time - pondering the greatness of the gift they have received in their redemption from sin. The realization of just how selfish one had become before Christ bestowed such magnificent grace on their life can bring a person to their knees in grateful adoration. The truth be told, many of us need those 'knee bending' moments because they are what help us realize just how much God has done for us in the gift of grace. Most of us want more than just a 'basic salvation package' from God, though. We want the initial forgiveness of our sins, but we also want the ongoing forgiveness we will need because we 'keep on' sinning. We also want to be embraced in God's goodness from day to day, with a fresh revelation of who he is, what he is doing in our lives, and how much more he has prepared for us. We don't want to miss out on any of the blessings he has prepared for us. We occasionally forget there are 'efforts' on our part that are prerequisite to experiencing this incremental growth - 'efforts' that we might find hard from time to time, but are still expected if we are to grow 'into' the grace we have been extended.

Do you want more and more of God’s kindness and peace? Then learn to know him better and better. For as you know him better, he will give you, through his great power, everything you need for living a truly good life: he even shares his own glory and his own goodness with us! And by that same mighty power he has given us all the other rich and wonderful blessings he promised; for instance, the promise to save us from the lust and rottenness all around us, and to give us his own character. But ...you must also work hard to be good, and even that is not enough. For then you must learn to know God better and discover what he wants you to do. Next, learn to put aside your own desires so that you will become patient and godly, gladly letting God have his way with you. This will make possible the next step, which is for you to enjoy other people and to like them, and finally you will grow to love them deeply. The more you go on in this way, the more you will grow strong spiritually and become fruitful and useful to our Lord Jesus Christ. (I Peter 1:2-8 TLB)

We all want more - this is a given. Don't believe this to be true? Think about your last Thanksgiving or Christmas or Easter dinner. Even on days when we can fill our bellies to the brim, leaving the table almost 'miserable' because of the massive feast we have enjoyed, we are still thinking of the turkey sandwich we will indulge in within just an hour or two after leaving the table! We are filled to the brim as we leave the table, but we are imagining just one more delicacy. It is kind of like that with God's grace - we know we are filled to the brim, but we leave each and every encounter with Jesus feeling satisfied, but with just a hint of a craving for more! With each new 'feast' we enjoy in his presence, there comes a desire to experience more of what he offers at his banquet table.

All of us desire to be fruitful and useful. We want the best in our lives. Most of the time, we rise in the morning with positive intent - we desire to do well that day. We don't really want to compromise ourselves, selling ourselves out to sin's pull, but we also live in a world filled with all manner of things that can entice us at every turn. We know the real and consistent struggle of living where there is ample temptation. We want all those wonderful blessings God has prepared for us, but we forget there is a whole lot of work to realizing those blessings in our lives. The work? It is really in the consistency of obedience we maintain daily. There is a direct correlation between our enjoyment of God's blessings and our obedience. It isn't that God is stingy with his blessings, he just knows we will enjoy them so much more when we aren't trying to fill up on 'cheap substitutes'. 

I went to a restaurant just before Christmas with a couple of friends. I enjoyed a nice meal with them, but as we were about to pay the bill, the waitress asked if she could bring us a dessert specially prepared for us by the chef. It was complimentary - something new he was trying out to see if he'd add it to the menu. Now, if you are like me, although you are trying to be 'good' in watching what you eat, when a waitress offers you FREE creme brulee, you don't pass it up! After all, three spoons in one tiny dessert cannot put that many extra calories in one's belly, right? When you expect creme brulee, complete with that nice crispy layer of 'fired' sugar on the top, but are delivered a dish with kernels of corn in it, what do you think? You might think you have been scammed! This isn't creme brulee! This is a cheap substitute, where someone has taken liberties to 'change things up', and it isn't the same!

Yes, it was 'tasty', but it wasn't 'as advertised'. God's blessings are always 'as advertised'. His desires for us are always 'as advertised'. There are no cheap substitutes in his house! If we are offered any cheap substitute for his grace, we need to run from it pretty doggone quickly! It might 'taste good', but it isn't the same as his goodness and grace. We focus on the 'taste', but God focuses on the 'integrity' of what goes into what it is that we get a taste of in life! Just sayin!

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