Follow the Recipe: Dangers in trusting yourself.

I love spices. Years ago, I experimented around with spices and created a pizza sauce based loosely on my grandma’s rich spaghetti sauce. I don’t make it often. Each year, before the last performance of our school play, I make the cast and crew pizzas using this rather intense pizza sauce. Many students have told me they like it and the director has told me it’s almost too spicy.

But a very weird thing happened this year, I got a head cold or allergies or something. I’m not a doctor, but I know I have not been that congested in a long time. So, I pull open the drawer and use the recipe to make the sauce. I let it simmer a bit and then I taste it. To my horror, it tasted horrible—barely different from straight tomato sauce. What am I going to do?

I’ll be honest. It didn’t occur to me right away that I might be the problem and half of a tablespoon of Italian spices went in before I thought it through. But then it occurred to me, I knew I followed the recipe. I had carefully put in all the parts and it should have worked. Then I remembered the fact that I had so little ability to smell.

I tested it by eating straight garlic powder. Nothing, well, not much anyway. I was obviously impaired. I could trust one of two things but not both. I could trust my own senses or I could trust the recipe.

I’d like to say that it was an easy choice. But it wasn’t. I obviously knew that I couldn’t trust my own senses, but I tasted it a couple more times anyway. Nothing-bland tomato sauce. But I could smell the spices; I knew I had followed that recipe. I was hesitant all the way up to when I couldn’t wait any longer. I had to make the pizzas.

The recipe was right.

Later, I received a compliment from my picky nephew. It was the best pizza he had ever had. His dad verified that he had eaten three slices. The lesson that I could learn from this was not lost on me.

The Bible clearly tells us that we can’t trust ourselves. Proverbs 3:5-7 tells to instead trust God, not our own mind or perception. In other words, our hearts and minds are fouled up, like my congested nose. I couldn’t taste the spices I put in my sauce; I also can’t trust my own mind and heart to come up with what is truly right. I have to trust the recipe for my sauce and for my life.

The Bible bursts with warnings against what I call the biggest lie of Hollywood— “Follow your heart.” If I had made my sauce spicy to my own senses it would have truly been inedible. If I follow my own heart, I will do what is wicked-what will hurt me and the people around me.

As odd as comparing pizza sauce to scripture is, God taught me that I have to trust Him and His Word even when it doesn’t make sense to my senses. After all, I am a sinner, my senses are messed up. However, the recipe is perfect.

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