Don’t Mess with the Perfect Recipe: The Basics of our Faith

057 soft chocolate chip cookies for blogI love Nestle Toll House cookies.  I love them hot out of the oven when the morsels are gooey and cookies are falling apart in my hands. Is anyone else drooling right now? Mmmm….Can you smell them in your imagination right now? Now why can most of us smell and taste that chocolatey greatness in our imaginations? It’s because the Nestle Toll House recipe has been pretty much unchanged for 100 years!  We have all experienced the same cookie at least once in our lives so we have the same frame of reference for Toll House cookies.

In our Christian faith, we also have a basic recipe.  We have some foundational premises that make up the tried and true building blocks of what we believe and how we execute our faith.  Or at least we are supposed to…

Years ago, I wrote down 6 Basic Premises of Christian Living.  They are the 6 basic “standards” that we can use to measure whether we are winning at this walk with the Lord or if somehow we have started playing games and calling it “Christianity”.  I haven’t referred back to these in a while, so it was really good for me to stumble upon them again in one of my old journals.  I needed the refresher, and thought I’d share them in case you do, too!

Basic premise #1: We have been forgiven and translated into God’s Kingdom.

Colossians 1:13-14: 13 For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

This basic premise is the cornerstone of all others.  If we don’t realize that we have been reborn into God’s family, that the blood of Jesus has completely paid our debt and that we are now citizens of a different Kingdom, then we will perform to win something that’s already been won for us.  We will continue to try to accomplish the impossible and attempt to earn a reconciliation that has already been secured.  We will also fall into incorrect thinking about ourselves, looking to this world to give us our identity rather than look to the One who made us and brought us into His family.

  • Have you been born again?
  • Do you know what it means to become children of God, born into God’s family and given a new identity as the righteousness of God in Christ?

Basic premise #2: We are bought with a price; we are not our own.

1 Peter 2:9-10: But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. 10 Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.

This premise launches off of the first one in that our position as children of God is only possible because we have been forgiven.  Whenever we are tempted to act like we don’t have God’s mercy, we have to hearken back to this Scripture and remind ourselves who we are now and what Jesus accomplished for us at the cross. Our main job description is now to bring Him glory in the way we demonstrate Him in our world.

  • How are you doing with that? Do you think that the world sees Christ in you in the way you respond to the challenges and successes in your life?

Basic premise #3: We were made to be somebody.

Ephesians 2:6-10: And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

In His mercy, God predetermined before we were even born that we would have a great purpose on this earth and impact this world and those around us for His Kingdom.  Some of us are called to be famous. But most of us are called to live simple lives of loving obedience that demonstrates His goodness to our everyday circles of influence.  Some of the most “unknown” men and women have made the most lasting impact in the lives of people around them.  At their funerals, people come out of the woodwork to pay homage to this person and mention how their lives were touched by the simplicity of generosity that was routinely displayed by this person.  God has designed for each of us to be instruments of His grace if we will allow Him to speak to us and through us where we are.

  • What do you think people will say at your funeral?
  • Can you think of lives you have impacted with the love of Jesus?

Basic premise #4: He’s the Boss.

Psalm 115:3: For our Lord is in the heavens and He does all that He pleases.

Proverbs 16:9: The heart of man plans his way but the Lord establishes his steps.

Trying to live our Christian life our own way will never work.  In fact, that thought process is like a fish trying to grow legs and walk on land.  A fish is designed for one environment only and if one tries to pull it out and put it somewhere else, the result will be death – thus, the whole point of fishing! The same is true for us as God’s children.  We are now under His authority and if we try to act as though we our own boss we will fail in faith.  We must remember that we didn’t invite Jesus into our lives, He invited us into His.

  • Is having a submitted heart to the authority of Jesus something that is a challenge for you?
  • Why do you think you struggle with letting God be in control?

 “He is no fool to give what he cannot keep to keep what he cannot lose.” – Jim Elliott, Missionary to the Auca Indians

Basic premise #5: I have been translated so I can be transformed.

Romans 8: 5-9: Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace. The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. Those who are in the realm of the flesh cannot please God. You, however, are not in the realm of the flesh but are in the realm of the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you.

Because of the new birth, I can now have godly desires and motivations. I can hear Him speak to my heart and pursue eternal goals rather than selfish, worldly ones. I can now have a mind that is governed by life and peace instead of having a mind that is swirling with selfish ambition and frustrated pursuits. Only God can transform a mind and a life into something that glorifies Him and is peaceful no matter what is going on.

  • Do your desires and pursuits line up with God’s desires for your life?
  • Do you think that God wants to reveal to you whether or not your desires should become aligned to His? If so, how could you begin to quiet yourself and listen to His voice?

Basic premise #6: We have been designed to be a ‘house of prayer’.

James 5:16b – 20: The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.17 Elijah was a human being, even as we are. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years.18 Again he prayed, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops. 19 My brothers and sisters, if one of you should wander from the truth and someone should bring that person back, 20 remember this: Whoever turns a sinner from the error of their way will save them from death and cover over a multitude of sins.

In this Scripture, James is likening the power of our prayer with the ability that Elijah had when he spoke and it didn’t rain for 3 years.  He is saying that we have the same direct connection to God that Elijah had and look at the results of his prayer!  Then James seems to take a sharp turn away from his discussion on prayer and talks about rescuing someone who has wandered from the truth.  He talks about how the person who brings a sinner back has saved them from death. I believe that James is not taking a rabbit trail away from his dissertation on prayer, but continuing it showing us that when we pray for people, God will answer and save them from eternal death.  He lets us know that the prayer of a righteous person is effective and can cause the lost or backslidden to be saved.  In God’s economy, the greatest miracles of all are not the parting of seas or the stopping of rain, but the salvation of a soul.  Heaven rejoices when one person’s eyes are opened and they receive the grace of the Father and turn their lives over to His loving Lordship.

  • Do you have people on your heart that you would like to see the Lord save and deliver?
  • Do you believe that when you pray, things will happen by the power of God working in you and through you?

I hope that these 6 Basic Premises of the Christian faith have been helpful to you in restoring your focus on some of our foundational truths and practices. I know that I have been challenged and will definitely be bringing some of these to the Lord in prayer asking Him to restore them to my mind and heart in a new, fresh way.

Let’s pray:

Dear Lord Jesus, we come to you with humble hearts, asking you to refresh and renew the truth of Who you are and Who we are in You.  Help us to put our focus back on the ‘main things’ in life. You have compassion on our weakness and you know how easily we can get distracted by the cares of this life.  Everything in front of us seems so urgent.  But all the while, what is truly urgent is your presence and your voice speaking to us in every moment of our day to day life.  Lord, we take this moment and quiet our hearts and minds before you and offer up thankful praise for Your goodness and grace that have led us to You.  Where would we be without You? And we lift up those who are on our hearts for salvation.  Holy Spirit, begin to work in their hearts so that they can see Jesus and understand His great love for them.  In Your name we pray, Amen. 

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