Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Are You a Half-baked Believer?

In this Morning’s devotional in Spurgeon, he cites Hosea 7:8—“Ephraim is a flat cake not turned over.” Ephraim was another name for the people of God. It is possible to be a child of God and be similar to a pancake that is “half-baked.” Are you a “half-baked” believer? Do you go off “half-baked” in your doctrine and behavior? Is your faith only “half-baked?”

If the flame or heat of the “burner” is the heat of God’s love and grace, what portions of your heart and life have been untouched because you have never been “turned over”?

What are the areas of “half-baked” obedience in your life? Or, put another way, how does being half-baked in grace lead to the continuous practice of partial DISobedience?! What areas of rebellion are still yet to be purged through the heat of God’s love? We cook things thoroughly to make sure bacteria is destroyed…how has our half-baked spiritual life led to the bacteria of sin remaining untouched in certain areas of our lives?

Is grace doing a complete work in your soul? What portions of your relationships, your behaviors, your attitudes, your conversation, your convictions, your recreations, your priorities are still left untouched by the heat of God’s grace?

Remember, the heat of grace doesn’t merely purge the “bacteria” of sins of commission, but must cook away the sins of omission as well. To focus only on stopping negative thoughts, words and behaviors is still to remain “half-baked.” We must cry out for grace that warms the soul toward positively engaging in thoughts words and behaviors which pleasing to God which we tend to ignore.

We will never be completely spiritually “cooked through” until we die or Christ returns. Yet we must always keep in mind that there is no area of life which the heat of grace is not to touch. We must seek to bring both the private and public life to the heat of grace.

Spurgeon also points out that a pancake “half-baked” and “unturned” tends to burn on one side. At Oak Mountain we talk about being “well done” or “heavy-footed” in one of the steps of the Waltz. Some of us are “over-done” in the Repent step; others in the Believe step; still others in the Fight step. We must allow grace to do it’s work so that we would be evenly cooked and dance the entire Waltz.

If the heat of grace is limited to only certain beliefs and behaviors and doesn’t touch other areas of life, we can become too “hot” about certain issues. We can become people with Christian “hobby-horses” or believers who only ever sound one note. We can minimize the wonder of God’s infinite nature by reducing His interests to only those things that capture our hearts. There is nothing wrong with pursuing passions and burdens, but we must remember that our passions and burdens are not supposed to be EVERYONE’S passion and burden. That is the beauty of the Body of Christ.

If we remain “half-baked” we can become self-righteous and Pharisaical about our own passions and begin to judge others who don’t share the same heat. Or, we can actually fail to see that such an intensely “focused” holiness can leave vast areas of our hearts untouched by gospel righteousness. We can begin to think that the God of infinite passion only shares the singular passion of our own lives. We then become Zealots rather than people with integrated, balanced lives. Food that is “half-baked” is not very tasty…and Christian lives with narrowly focused passions are often not very tasty in the sight of the world either.

So, what to do? Cry out to God to “turn you over!” Don’t fear the heat…it is only ever the heat of love. Ask God today, right now, to take those areas of your life that are seemingly little touched by the heat of grace and cry out to feel “the sacred glow!” Let those areas of life that are “over heating” cool a little. Allow yourself to feel the weakness of the flesh and the danger of the “bacteria” not yet killed by the heat of the Spirit. Cry out that you would know the inconsistency of your spiritual life…hot on some things, cold on others.

What turns us over? Community for one thing. We all "bake" at different temperatures and have different ingredients...we need to be around each other so that the "uncooked" elements of our hearts are exposed. Consistent time in the Word is another way we get "turned over." Think of some other ways the Spatula of God can flip you over!!

Ephraim was like a flat cake, not turned over…how are you like Ephraim this morning? Where are you in need of a more even heat of grace?

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