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Christ or Cake?
Let's embrace the wisdom of children, who see fields for running, swings for swinging, and beds for jumping. We did not plan this breathtaking little moment, but that is exactly why it is breathtaking!
We must be inspired by something other than God's Spirit to expect God at the same place, in the same way on a certain day of the week. We are driven by something other than childlike faith to decide who God is before He ever tells us. So it goes that, by imposing our smallness on God, we rob ourselves of much joy in Him and, even worse, we rob the Author of all such joy from giving it.
There are many who, according to their actions, believe that they might buy or in some way force their way into heaven. But the only spiritual work that we mortals can accomplish on our own is to land ourselves in hell.
On one occasion, I fell in among a birthday party and, though I didn't know the people very well, I got a free piece of cake out of the deal. It was made with a sweet cream, chocolate frosting and vanilla cake, layered alternately. The top was coated with a dark chocolate shell, whipped cream, and a cherry. The cake tasted so good at the time that I looked on the box and saw, to my delight, that it was purchased at the store just across the way. So I went and bought an entire one of those cakes for myself, intending to eat one slice a day for an indefinite time afterward. The beauty of having a whole cake to myself, I figured, was that I could eat it as often as I wanted or else I could gorge myself on all of it all at once without offending anyone. But by the end of my second day of partaking in this glorious cake, the magic had already faded, and I could tell how it was going to taste even before I took another bite. It took about two days for my overly-contrived anticipation to spoil what was once a delight to me, and still most of the cake remained. So I put it in the freezer to wait for the taste to fade from my memory. I hoped that the original glory of its savor would return to me some day soon if only I laid off for a while. At a later time I hoped to enjoy my cake once more as the same cake I originally knew, chewed, and cherished.
This is only a harmless example of trying too hard to reproduce an experience that snuck up on me the first time with dazzling, smooth sweetness and cool, creamy frosting. This only illustrates the fact that there is a better, freer quality of joy in accepting Christ as He is.
Anyone who is saturated with Christ and affected by His all-consuming Spirit, must also assume much of His creative flexibility. Not that God is changeable, but I'm only saying that, if anyone's contentment is grounded in Him, then that person must also be easy to please no matter what the situation.
Jesus Christ embodies such an infinitude of variety and creativity that it becomes difficult for His followers to do anything by rote or just to go through the motions. God's people in general should feel ill-at-ease with anything too contrived.
How many times must I try to have my cake and eat it too before I embrace the futility of seeking any kind of joy in something as silly as cake?
Do you seek cake? Seek Christ instead, and He will be your Cake as well as your Everything in every situation. If you need cake today, He will give it to you today. If He does give you cake, then take it thankfully and eat it too, and be content with however much cake He gives you. But remember the Main Thing, which is not cake, but Christ.
Daily I must have Christ and eat and drink and breathe Him too, which is according to my new design in His Spirit. He is my Substance, my Joy and my Life. Whether I live or die, He remains all-satisfying. Not that I glory in my satisfaction, but I will admire and praise Him who is thoroughly satisfying.
We should not boast in anything that fills our stomachs; we should boast only in Christ who is our Appetizer, Main Dish, Cake and the Summation of everything worth living for.
This is an excerpt from To the Church of the West, Scattered Throughout the World. Find this book and similar articles at www.BooksByPatrick.com
Patrick is an average Christ-seeker. His goal is to turn people to Jesus Christ.
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