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Too Many Cooks in the Kitchen

pancakesMy wife and I got married fairly young so neither of us knew how to cook.

With a lot of trial and error, we learned how to follow recipes (not always as simple as it sounds) and we really enjoy cooking together and trying new things. One of the things I liked to make in all kinds of varieties is pancakes.

We have the simple version that’s just a basic pancake and then there are ones where I shred apples or use yogurt or sour cream or oats and vanilla or make orange drizzle to go on top. You can throw different spices in there to bring out different flavors, but too much and it’ll be overpowering.

I thought of that as I read this quote,

Nowhere in Scripture do I see a “balanced life with a little bit of God added in” as an ideal for us to emulate. Yet when I look at our churches, this is exactly what I see: a lot of people who have added Jesus to their lives. People who have, in a sense, asked Him to join them on their life journey, to follow them wherever they feel they should go, rather than following Him as we are commanded. –Francis Chan, Forgotten God

People sometimes like the flavor of Jesus in their lives, but they still want to be in charge of the recipe. They like a little spice here and there, but you can’t get to crazy with this “God stuff,” you need balance.

There are things in life we can balance, but God isn’t one of them.

If all you want is a little Jesus to “spiritualize” your life, a little extra God to keep you out of hell, you are missing out on the fullness of life you were created for. Not only this, you don’t need the Holy Spirit. You don’t need the Holy Spirit if you are merely seeking to live a semi-moral life and attend church regularly. You can find people of all sorts in many religions doing that quite nicely without Him. –Francis Chan, Forgotten God

And that’s the rub–just like you don’t need apples or cinnamon or nutmeg to have pancakes, you don’t need the Holy Spirit to be a better version of yourself. You can go to counseling. You can hire a life coach. You can read a book.

It’s not about self-help or self-anything. It’s about a yielded life.

Maybe the Holy Spirit is not interested in pancakes right now. Maybe He has a recipe for something new and exciting. Some people don’t like to try new foods, but if you’re going to truly live the Christian life, you can’t be afraid to follow where He leads.

When you and I relegate Him to mere participant, it’s like asking a master chef to follow your lead in the kitchen. That’s ridiculous and you’d miss out on a great opportunity. In this case, He’s after total transformation and restoration.

Just let Him cook.

What do you think? Have you ever done this or do you see it happening? What helps protect us from this type of thinking?

Welcome to Chapter 6 of our book club discussion of Forgotten God (disclosure) by Francis Chan. We are taking a sentence, paragraph, or passage that inspires, encourages, or challenges and writing about it. We’re covering a chapter a week. If you have a response on your blog, add the link to the widget below. Either way, head over to my friend and co-facilitator, Sarah Salter’s blog for her thoughts.

Whether you’ve read the chapter or not, please dive into the conversation!

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  1. I consider myself a good cook, but I absolutely can’t do pancakes! So good for you that you figured that out!

    I’m finding it hard to claim right now that I’ve guarded against this thinking. I still can’t find a teaching job, so I sub sporadically. I question if I’m called to something else (like what????) or if this is what I’m supposed to be doing. Yes, I ask the Holy Spirit for guidance, but I don’t feel led in any other direction.

    On a happy note, though, Bob and I are well, all our needs are met, and so are many wants. My husband isn’t pushing me to find a job, nor does he complain that I’m home and still terrible at house keeping. Maybe that is the lesson. I need to see value in self and others beyond business and doing and just in being.

    I hope you and yours are well!
    Helen recently posted..TiredMy Profile

    • Hey Helen! So good to hear from you. 🙂 And we are well. As for pancakes, I told you there was a lot of trial and error! I’ve shared before that someone once told me the definition of a calling is that thing that won’t stop calling. Sounds like teaching is that for you. He put that desire in you and I trust He’s leading you perfectly. Praying with you, Helen! Thanks so much.

  2. OK, I am not a cook, Jason. I am culinary-challenged. And, evidently, more often than I care to admit, I am also spiritually-challenged. Yes, I have been guilty of *sidelining* God. Sure, He might be at the game, but He’s sitting on the bench while I do all the coaching (and playing??). No wonder I so often *lose the game*!

    I think the thing that protects me from this thinking is the law of consequences. Like I said above, if God becomes my P.S. -- then the story of my life will never be written to its fullest. And, though it’s hard to let go, I truly do want to be a disciple.

    I don’t want life with a little Jesus *sprinkled* in. I want a crockpot of everything thrown in -- just the right spices, just the right timing, just the right and tasty result. In order to achieve that, I have to yield to the Master Chef!!


    (Not sure why I’m addicted to analogies today in this comment! LOL!)
    Sharon recently posted..CINDERELLA GODMy Profile

    • To be fair, I sort of started it with my own analogies so I definitely cut you some slack there. 🙂 I’m with you. As uncomfortable as it may be, I want Him to call the shots and make something beautiful out of my life, that people who meet me will encounter Him. Thanks Sharon.

  3. Powdered sugar and chocolate chips in my pancakes please! 🙂

    The Holy Spirit has plans for us… It’s not about where those plans will lead us tomorrow or the next day or even the next. It’s about the step we are taking right now. If we will simply take the step with HIM, He will lead us right where He wants us! And if my experience says anything about His leading, I won’t be making those pancakes I was worrying about! 🙂

    • You come over and I’ll make them for you like that, Dusty! 🙂 Right now with Him--that’s an incredible and humbling thing if we think about it. That He wants to be with us at all is amazing. He loves us so much. Thanks so much, Dusty.

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