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Step One - Observe the Prepared Ingredients

I find myself looking down at a plate of food I have made, all very good ingredients and smelling very inviting, only to realize I have prepared a 'white' meat, 'white' veggie, and a 'white' starch! The plate is kind of 'bland' in appearance, although it smells and will taste wonderful! The action of considering how the plate would 'present' didn't even cross my mind as I prepared it. In fact, I just pulled this or that from the cabinets, fridge, and freezer - combining ingredients and seasoning just right - without even one thought to it all being rather 'bland' in appearance on those white plates. I wonder just how often we go through life, pulling this or that together without one thought to how it will all 'appear' in the end. What gets 'combined' will one day be 'presented' - we might just want to give some thought to that one! We can have all the right ingredients and still lack something in the presentation.

Everything that goes into a life of pleasing God has been miraculously given to us by getting to know, personally and intimately, the One who invited us to God. The best invitation we ever received! We were also given absolutely terrific promises to pass on to you—your tickets to participation in the life of God after you turned your back on a world corrupted by lust. (2 Peter 1:3-4)

There are times when we know we have all the "right ingredients" when it comes to living for Christ, but really haven't thought one iota about the "presentation" of what he is and has been doing with those "ingredients" in our lives. The stuff "going into" making us strong in the Lord, building us up, and producing the image of Christ in us is all there - we certainly have all the right ingredients at our disposal. Yet, we lack just a little bit in the presentation! That which isn't presented well doesn't have quite the same appeal as that which is presented with deliberate thought and focused intent, does it? The work of the Holy Spirit in our lives is to help us with the "presentation" of our lives in such a way that there will be evidence of the 'deliberate thought' and 'focused intent' that has gone into producing the character of Christ within.

Presentation is indeed everything! We can present almost anything as reality - but have you ever presented something so well that you almost believed it yourself? The fact we present something as reality doesn't always make it real! For years, I put a false front out there that made others think my life was this totally 'put together' kind of existence, all the while falling apart on the inside, totally insecure and frustrated with all the compromise in my life. We have been given all things for living a solid life in Christ Jesus (vs. 3). What we "do" with what we have been given definitely determines the "finished product" that will one day be on full display. If you are not sure how to live a godly life - don't fret - you have been given all the things you need (the ingredients are all prepared and ready for use)! Now we need a "tutor" to assist us with the "ingredients" and the "presentation"!

We are enabled to share in the divine image of Christ - simply by the gift of all God provides in giving us everything that goes into a life of pleasing God! We don't even need to "find" the ingredients - he gives them all to us. Do you ever remember going into the Home Economics classroom, finding a recipe laid out on the counter, and then finding all the ingredients you'd need right there? It is kind of like that with God - he does all the prep work for us! Our "mind's eye" may see the ingredients coming together in one way - while God's "divine eye" sees them in quite a different way! Because our minds are limited by finite thought and comprehension, we just don't consider all the ways God sees his graces coming together into a glorious presentation of his goodness and love in us. God knows best how to display his graces in our lives - he is the master of "presentation". We'd do well to trust him with it! Our part in the process is to lay down the 'ingredients' that only corrupt - those choices which would "taint" the freshness and goodness of what God is creating within. Just sayin!

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