God's word in today's world
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Hot, because you’re red hot


We’re visiting friends in Bloemfontein. It’s over the top; they just didn’t stop spoiling us. Three meals a day. But it didn’t stop there. Every little spot still left was stuffed with dessert and cake. First, lemon meringue, then cheese cake, and the cherry on the top: a double-layer chocolate cake.

But Friday evening something went wrong. Man, I’ve never seen such beautiful wraps in my life. By the time we sat down to eat, I couldn’t wait to taste the lovely dinner. When that beautiful plate with the wrap and nearly a whole avocado and a big spoonful of cottage cheese was put in front of me, I had to swallow hard to prevent the drool from dripping from the corners of my mouth.

I poured a dash or two of Tabasco over it to warm it up a little. We said grace and I tucked in. Blissfully, I waited for the burst of aromas in my mouth.

With a shock, I realised something was wrong, because suddenly my eyes started watering.

I didn’t want to give anything away and looked to see what the others were doing. I could see the questions and the tears in their eyes. I tried again, this time taking a much smaller bite than the first one. But it burnt. It burnt right down my gut. And I knew something was wrong.

Fortunately, the hostess called out first: It’s hot! It burns! O, I’m so sorry, something went wrong somewhere. This is a big mistake. A burning mistake.

Later on she realised that someone had filled the Nando’s container with extremely hot chili spice. And she wasn’t known for holding back when adding spice to her food.

I couldn’t stop myself from teasing: Your favourite colour must be red, because you’re red hot!

So easily one ingredient can mess up a whole dish. So easily we can mess up something that should be enjoyable with a whole lot of rules and regulations. So easily people mess up God’s message of freedom with holy (chili!) rules, taking away the joy of all that God gave us.

21Don’t touch this! Don’t taste that! Don’t go near this!” 22Do you think things that are here today and gone tomorrow are worth that kind of attention?

So easily we allow other people to add something to our faith, throwing everything out of balance. What should’ve been enjoyable for us, everything that God gave us to enjoy fully, is made unenjoyable by just one “spice” added by someone else. What is good becomes bad. The message that sets free is replaced with a message of rules and regulations.

Jesus came to free us of the chains of sin that bound us before. He broke those chains so that we can enjoy life without being slaves to sin or to Satan or any unnecessary rules.

Let’s enjoy everything that God gave us. Let’s take this message of freedom to others that are still imprisoned in chains. Let us be the good spice for the people around us. Let’s help others to enjoy the freedom that Jesus brought. Let us enjoy the freedom that Jesus gave us because He loves us.

Scripture

Colossians 2:20-23

Reflection

What is still imprisoning you?

What is it that causes you not to enjoy religion?

How can God help you?

Prayer

Father, why do we so often put on the brakes that keep us from enjoying life? It is joy to serve You. Please help us to serve You in obedience and freedom. Amen.

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