Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and pleading with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.Philippians 4:6-7 NASB2020
A recipe is an algorithm. An algorithm is a set of instructions for solving a problem or accomplishing a task. When I was studying Computer Science in the College of Engineering at Oregon State University in the 90s, we first learned about developing algorithms by analyzing a recipe book. So whether you love to solve problems or make tasty food, algorithms are for you.
The Bible is God’s recipe book for humanity to solve all their personal and societal problems. God is the ultimate chef, and whatever He cooks up is amazing. Even Jesus is recorded in the Gospel accounts as teaching His disciples how to miraculously feed thousands of people with only a basketful of ingredients.
God’s ways are higher than our ways. Yet, He freely shares His knowledge and wisdom so that we can walk in them. The Bible is the greatest book ever assembled. If you want to live life to the fullest, it’s best to become intimately acquainted with its teachings.
Moreover, become a practitioner of God’s Word and you will reap the rewards of being a master chef, or ace algorithm applier. Taste and see that the Lord is good. Prove to yourself and others that God’s Word is true and His ways are best. Following Christ is the recipe for abundant life.
Abundance in the Kingdom of God does not consist in material things. Remember, flesh and blood cannot inherit the Kingdom of God. His Kingdom is a spiritual Kingdom, an unshakeable Kingdom. The fruit of the Spirit, the output of the algorithm called following Jesus, is immaterial blessings that are worth more than anything in this world.
That’s why Jesus says to store up for yourselves treasures in Heaven. Love is the undying essence of God. An abiding joy unspeakable comes from walking by the Spirit. Walking is an algorithm; follow the instructions and you will move forward. It’s one of the first skills we learn to master as toddlers in the natural. Even before we learn to prepare our own food.
The same truth applies in the spiritual realm. We learn to walk with God before mastering more complex tasks. We can learn it by imitating more mature practitioners of the faith. Before you learn to read the Word and apply it in the circumstances of life, you’ve got to master the basics. You can learn them whether you know how to read or not. If you can hear and speak, you can learn to walk and talk with God.
Most early believers were illiterate. Many people groups today still don’t have a Bible translation in their native tongue. If they can’t study the Bible, how can they be saved and set free from a life of sin? Simple, someone needs to preach the Gospel and show them how to have a relationship with God through prayer.
Good communication skills are the foundation of any healthy relationship. Glory be to God, the Bible is also the ultimate guide to having peaceful, loving and meaningful relationships.
Speaking of peace, which seems to be in short supply in the public arena these days, is there a recipe in the Bible for that? Well, if you read the Scripture quote at the beginning of this, you’d already know. Perhaps you missed the algorithm that instructs us how to have peace in our hearts and minds. Let’s break it down.
- Do not be anxious about anything. (Don’t worry.)
- In all circumstances, repeat these steps:
- Make your requests be known to God by:
- Repeat until the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, guards your heart and mind through your fellowship and communion with Christ Jesus.
- Make your requests be known to God by:
That’s it! Pretty simple, right? There’s your repeatable set of steps to produce peace in your life, a spiritual fruit of walking and talking with God.
If you want to maintain that peace, once you’ve made all your requests known to God and trusting that He hears and will answer your prayers in His perfect timing, there’s a bonus recipe as well. Read on.
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, think about these things. As for the things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.Philippians 4:8-9 NASB2020
I’ll leave it as an exercise for the reader to map out the process, or outline the steps, for maintaining peace. You can paste your homework in the comments section below for full credit. Just kidding, God’s the One who judges us and our works. I’ll just trust that you’ll at least think about it. I did my part. I’m not your dad. God is your Father.
I pray that you will take God’s Word to heart today and put it into practice. Clearly, it’s for your own good. It also benefits others as well. Following Jesus reaps rewards in this life and the next. It is the only way to eternal life and the instruction manual makes it plain. Be sure to follow Christ’s teachings, modeling appropriate behavior, so that those around you who don’t know God or are less mature in the faith will have a good example to follow.
One final note of encouragement, God doesn’t expect you to do these things in your own strength. He provides the Holy Spirit to give you both the desire and the ability to perform His word, and thereby live a life that is pleasing to God.
May God give you His Holy Spirit today without measure. May His love, joy and peace be yours in abundance. And may you share it with everyone you meet. In Jesus’ Name, I pray. Amen.
Merry Christmas everyone and may you have a joyful and peaceful New Year in spite of what’s on the news. Don’t worry about that stuff. Just pray.