Imagine you are hosting a fancy dinner party at your home for some important friends. And wanting to make it a really special night, you decide to go all out and make, from scratch, some super, fancy, extravagant, over the top, "I can't believe you made that!" dessert from your new Martha Stewart cookbook "Perfect Dinner Party's by Martha Stewart."
You flip through the pages, looking for something that not only meets the requirement of "make your mouth melt at the first taste," but also something that is visually stunning. A seven course meal that will make people do a double take when they see your presentation. So after examining many different recipes you find "the one". A difficult recipe requiring perfection, something only Martha Stewart herself would be able to pull off. Realising that you already have all the ingredients, it is now time to begin this impossible job - cook like Martha Stewart.
Now, you have two options as you begin. One, is to do your best Martha Stewart impersonation, where you follow the step by step instructions of adding ingredients, mixing, searing, greasing pans and so forth. Applying all of your previous cooking knowledge attempting to match your creation with the perfect standard that Martha demands. The problem with this option is that you are not Martha Stewart. That the only person that can cook like Martha, is Martha herself. Anything you come up with will be second best. You being you, will never be good enough.
This is what it is like with trying to live like Jesus by following a recipe, a list of rules or formulas, where we try our best to impersonate Jesus, God Himself. No matter how hard you try, you will always fall short, because, simply put, you are not Jesus. So how then does one live a victorious Christian life? Let's go back into our imaginary kitchen.
What if, instead of trying to follow Martha Stewart's recipe on your own, she joined you in the kitchen and began to cook with you. Together, standing with you, the two of you begin to discuss each step. You could ask if the consistency of the sauce was right, if the meat was properly brazed or together you could transform the simple potato into an elegant flower for presentation. You would now have all of her skill and ability at your disposal as you create the masterpiece together. And the end product would be something far better than the fancy meal you initially set out to create. You will have also built a deeper, closer relationship with Martha Stewart the person, instead of Martha Stewart the cookbook.
This is what Jesus has in mind for you and I. He gave us the Law (the recipe) to show what poor cooks we are on our own, that we cannot measure up to the holy standards on our own. But now, we have the opportunity to work together with Jesus in all aspects of life, dialoging and walking with Him. And the end product is far more than a life that was sufficient to the trials and tribulations of this world. We will have built up an intimate relationship with Jesus. Getting to know Jesus Christ the person, rather than Jesus Christ the Bible character.
And this is the most valuable aspect of all. For the food will be gone by the end of the dinner party, only leaving the relationship you formed with Martha. Similarly, when we enter into the other side of eternity, nothing of this world will come with us. The only thing that will remain with us is the relationship we have been and are building with Jesus.
In Christ who is our Life,