My grandfather lived as a widower for nearly 20 years. During those years of cooking for himself, he became rather skilled at making a good pot of soup. One thing he would say about it was, "It isn't soup until it comes to a boil." Grandpa was right.
As I make my own pots of soup now, I can see what he was saying. Of course adding raw ingredients, seasonings, and water to a pot won't give you the taste and comfort you expect from a soup that has been cooked all day.
But even if you simmer the pot on low for hours, the flavors don't really meld until it comes to a boil. And then you have...soup!
Becoming like Christ--growing up in Him, seems similar. When we first come to faith, we begin to add all of these separate ingredients to the pot: learning the Bible, going to church regularly, forming godly relationships, clumsily praying, leaving behind our former ways--sometimes painstakingly so. It can seem overwhelming and unnatural--about like trying to dish out a bowl of that "soup" in the colorful picture above.
But over time--with stirring up, cutting away the waste, and bringing the heat, the flavors begin to meld. Given attention and time, the ingredients are married together through the heat.
I certainly can't speak for everyone, but it has been my experience that the boiling points in life have been the times that have intensified my faith. It wasn't until particular hardships and trials came my way that I saw how much I truly needed what I had been adding to the pot for all of those years. Instead of working through the separate mechanics of knowing Christ, the ingredients began blending together. Prayer began to co-mingle with scripture and it began growing my appetites to be with His people and speak of him more. The sins I once identified with began to leave a bitter taste in my mouth. I wanted to taste His word as it was a comfort and strength to me. This is all the work of God, and I still have so far to go!
Yet until the trials or boiling points came, I didn't know how much I needed all of those separate ingredients to come together and see me through the heat.
Departing from soup and speaking of souls now, we all have unique boiling points in our lives-- trials that put us under fire. Mine may not be the same as yours and yours are unlikely to be mine, but we all have troubles of many kinds. The question is, what will we do through the heat? Will we fall apart and wane in our faith because we think the heat means God is not with us? Or will we be refined through the fire, yielding to the Lord as he burns away the dross in our lives, making us more in the image of his son, Jesus Christ?
There are times when God tests what is in our hearts. I am currently reading through Deuteronomy. In chapter 8:2 (emphasis added):
And you shall remember the whole way that the Lord your God has led you these forty years in the wilderness, that he might humble you, testing you to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep his commandments or not.
This is one example of how God uses trials to test the faith of his people, sometimes so that we might learn what is in our own hearts! Even as we raise children, we add ingredients to their pots, straining against the times to bring them up in the ways of the Lord. How we pray they take up this faith as their own! Like us, they may not fully own their faith until the boiling points of their own lives come on. May we not fear the times of heat, but use all of the ingredients God gives us to lean on Christ through faith and prayer, walking in a living relationship with him.
In him we can have true peace. Take heart! Christ has already overcome this fallen world! We need to trust and obey, believing he is making all the parts into a whole which will bring him glory, especially once tested in the fire.
In Christ's love, Erika ♥