But a blueberry pie? Now that takes a commitment. First you make the crust, a careful process of measuring, handling, rolling and fitting into the pie plate. Then you make the filling, far more ingredients than a crisp and more careful measuring. Then you have to deal with the top crust, rolling it, sealing it, crimping it, and preparing it for baking with a vent, a brush of milk and a sprinkling of sparkling sugar. And the baking? First ten minutes at 425, then another 35-45 at 350, carefully watching the top for over-browning and the vent for bubbling blueberries. If they don’t bubble, it isn’t done yet no matter how brown the crust is. So then you must lay some foil over the top so it won’t burn before it finishes baking. It’s a real process.
Then you look around the kitchen at the two mixing bowls, the many measuring cups and spoons, the wooden spoons, pastry cutter, and spatulas, the flour covered countertop, and often the floor as well. It takes more than a minute to clean it up. But which has the best combination of flavors and textures? Which one is more likely to get the oohs and aahs of company? When I really want to do something nice for someone, and assuming time is not an issue, they get the pie.
Too many of us make God settle for the crisp. If it’s easy and convenient, God gets the service. If I can still have my life the way I want it, with my own priorities in order, then fine—I am happy to be a Christian. If it appeals to my sense of sweetness and light, and pats on the back rather than rebukes and chastening, if I receive tons of blessings and few if any trials, I am happy to do it. Becoming a child of God means repentance, and repentance means I am sorry, right? So I say I am and now I can go back to doing whatever I want to do. Don’t expect any tears or humility.
God will not accept me on those terms. Nearly every gospel sermon you can find in the New Testament mentions repentance, but simply being sorry is not the repentance those preachers are talking about. 2 Kgs 22:19 says Josiah’s heart was tender and he humbled himself. David says he acknowledged his sin and did not hide from God, Psa 32:5, and that God only accepts “a broken spirit and a broken and contrite heart,” Psa 51:17. John told the crowds to “bring forth fruits worthy of repentance,” Matt 3:8, and Jeremiah reminded Old Testament Israel to “thoroughly amend” their ways, Jer 7:5.
Repentance is not cosmetic. It is a complete change of heart and life, and a wholesale attitude adjustment when considering your lifestyle, its goals and purposes. Paul commends the Corinthians for a repentance that “wrought care, indignation, fear, longing, zeal, avenging,” 2 Cor 7:11. Commitment to God cannot come without that kind of repentance.
Repentance is the very key to conversion. Once you repent in the way those Corinthians did, in the way the early Christians did, no one will be able to keep you from doing the rest because now everything has changed. You will not argue about whether baptism is essential. You will not argue about how many times you need to assemble with the saints. You will not argue about whether something is “right” or “wrong” if there is any question at all, because you will have the zeal, the care, and the longing to do everything you possibly can to serve God.
What did you make for God when you became a Christian? If you only gave him a blueberry crisp, it’s time to get out the mixing bowls and try again.
If my people, who are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land, 2 Chron 7:14.