What goes into a dessert or dish determines its deliciousness. So, it’s important to use the purest ingredients and leave out those that ruin it. This can be applied to the ingredients of the New Man (or new nature) that a believer is given when they trust in the Lord Jesus Christ as their Redeemer and Savior (Eph. 1:13-14, 2:8-10).
“Oh, taste and see the Lord is good; Blessed is the man who trusts in Him!” (Psalm 34:8)
WHAT TO LEAVE IN
The recipe of the New Man is from God alone, as well as the ingredients (tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering, forbearance, forgiveness, and love) for they are Divinely-sourced—making them 100% pure, and fresh from above. These ingredients bring life and bear fruit (James 1:17, Gal. 5:22-23, Col. 3:10, Eph. 4:24).
WHAT TO LEAVE OUT
The ingredients that come from the original recipe, Old Man (fallen, sin-filled man/woman) are MAN-ufactured, processed, dead, full of contaminants that corrupt (Rom. 3:23, 5:12, 19, 6:23). As they are impure in nature, they’ll ruin the recipe of the New Man so they must be set aside and not put in (Eph. 4:22, Col. 3:8-9). Some of the effects of using these contaminated ingredients can be seen in Galatians 5:19-21 and Colossians 3:5-9. The illustration of leaven in the Bible is similar because it’s also something that must be ’put away’ as it permeates everything it’s mixed with (Matt. 13:33, Luke 13:21, 1 Cor. 5:6, Gal. 5:9, Hos. 7:4). In every instance in the Scriptures leaven is associated with (and symbolical of) only that which is evil. It’s used as sacrifices never to be rendered to God with any offering made by fire (Lev. 2:11, 6:17, 10:12). It’s also used as a metaphor for doctrine, as the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees (Matt. 16:6, 12, Gal. 5:9). Lastly, it’s used of the effects of evildoers (1 Cor. 5:6-8, 15:33). So, in order to have a delicious outcome in either cooking, baking, or as a Christian walking in this world, attention needs to be placed on what’s put in (or on) and what should be put away or left out.
EACH INGREDIENT SERVES A FUNCTION (AND FOLLOWING DIRECTIONS MATTERS)
In a cookie recipe each ingredient plays a role. Fat is added for flavor and controls how chewy or crunchy the cookie will be. Sugar is obviously a sweetener, but it’s also a tenderizer and controls how much the cookie will spread. There’s usually some type of rising agent that will determine how flat or puffy the cookie will turn out as well as a binding agent that will hold the cookie together. Following a recipe’s directions, including the order that each item is put in is equally important.
THE CHRISTIAN’S VITAL INGREDIENT
It’s the same in the recipe for the ingredients of the New Man: “Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; bearing with one another, and forgiving one another… But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection” (Colossians 3:10, 12-14). You may notice the ingredient that’s most important is listed last, but it’s listed first in the Fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22). Love is the bonding agency as well as the strengthening component in a Christian’s make-up. When you ‘put on’ the above list minus Divine love, it may look good on the outside, but without this fundamental ingredient, the recipe of the New Man will be tasteless and flop (1 Cor. 1-3). It’s the inner ingredients that are most important and love is the greatest (1 Cor. 13:13, 1 Sam. 16:7). Following directions is important and so daily time in God’s Word is a must for the New Man recipe to succeed (2 Tim. 3:16-17). A Christian is fortified by God’s Spirit in their inner man where Christ dwells in their hearts by faith. The more you are rooted and grounded in Divine love, the more you’ll be able to comprehend (to some degree) the vast dimensions of the love of Christ so that your inner filling is fruitful with the fulness of God (Eph. 3:16-19). So don’t be tempted to substitute imitation ingredients for the real Divine ones or go back to the old recipe and follow your own will and ways (Col. 2:17-21). Rather empty out the old and fill up with the new and you’ll have no problem walking in the love of Christ and filling up the atmosphere around you with a sweet-smelling aroma (Eph. 5:1-2, 17-21).