I mean, I’m sure it’s not rocket science, but for me, it might as well be. My friend, Vinecea, knows this fact about me for sure! Once we were at my house hanging out, and we got hungry. I suggested that we eat out, considering I only had bread, cheese, condiments, and beverages in my refrigerator.
Vinecea said, “Why don’t we just make grilled cheese?” Now, I’ve definitely had a grilled cheese sandwich before, but I don’t recall ever grillin’ it on my own. Nevertheless, I replied, “Sure.”
She was up first. Her sandwich turned out perfectly! Rachael Ray would’ve been jealous. For starters, the bread was toasted with just enough burn (yes, burn!) around the edges. The cheese melted effortlessly, and it just smelled so darn good. Then, it was my turn! I remember thinking: “It’s just grilled cheese. I can make this with no problem.”
But, by the time I figured out what was happening, I’d run out of slices of bread to burn (more than just around the edges) and there was melted cheese all over the skillet. What did I do wrong? I watched Vinecea do it. I replicated her steps to the tee. I can prepare one heck of a meatloaf. My banana pudding is out of this world. My spaghetti will make you weep. And I can make the most succulent grilled chicken you’ve ever tasted. But I couldn’t make grilled cheese.
WHY COULDN’T I MAKE A SIMPLE GRILLED CHEESE SANDWICH? This story reminds me of my (our) relationship with Christ. Sometimes we get so caught up in the deep things of God, that we forget our foundation. It’s time to go back to the basics. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” John 1:1.
I can’t explain how important it is to just sit and spend time with God. Get to know Him/His heart. Shut out the world and seek His face through His Word. I know what you’re thinking. I’m saved. I know the Lord and His Word. I’ve done all this before. That may be true… You are anointed. You can prophesy. You speak in tongues. You have the gift of healing. You know Hebrew, Greek, and Latin. You love your enemies. You can fast for forty days. You can preach with articulation and poise. You can sing until the angels dance. You have more blessed oil than cooking grease.
But do you read your Word? Do you know how to pray? Are you disciplined in the things of God? Do you have a relationship with God? Basically, you can make meatloaf, but can you make grilled cheese?
God wants more of you than when you are “on” in church. It’s the personal, sincere relationship you create with your Father that will get you through the rough times. When you are too weak to lay hands on yourself, when you’re too discouraged to preach to your own spirit, when you’re too ashamed to love yourself, when you feel like your anointing is gone, that is when you can rely on your foundational, intimate relationship with God to see you through. During those times, prayer often sounds like this: “God. Help. Please.”
It’s not pretty. It’s not articulate through your tears. It’s not loud or boisterous. It is a simple prayer that carries so much weight. “Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much” James 5:16.
David is the perfect example of one who constantly connected with God through prayer. The book of Psalm is filled with David’s prayers and praises. When you have a relationship with God like David had, you can speak to Him like David did. He prayed for favor, protection, mercy, guidance forgiveness, etc. His prayers weren’t always pretty, but His heart was pointed toward God. David is such a good example of our theme here. He was FAR from perfect. His life was a series of successes and failures. Sound familiar?
He prayed, “Give ear to my words, O Lord, consider my meditation” Psalm 5:1. David had relentless faith, but do you? If you’re struggling to get there, it’s okay. Go back to the basics and stay there until your faith is strengthened. We’ll dine over grilled chicken later. Right now, I want you to be fed the Bread of Life, and after reading it ponder on this question.
What is your foundation? Are you so deep into your ministry work, mission work, etc. that you’ve forgotten your foundation? “Wherefore the Lord said, For as much as this people draw near me with their mouth, and with their lips do honor me, but have removed their heart far from me, and their fear toward me is taught by the precept of men” Isaiah 29:13.
Come back. Remember your roots. Revisit John 3:16, Philippians 4:13, and Psalm 23. Ask God to teach you how to pray. Ask Him to give you your fire back, and to rekindle the desire you once had to chase Him with your whole heart. He’s waiting to restore you. He’s waiting for you to fall in love with Him all over again. Yes, the work of your hands is powerful, but is God pleased with your heart?
I skipped learning how to make grilled cheese altogether. I never even cared to know how to timely toast bread and cheese. Thus, when I was hungry, I had nothing to satiate my desire to eat. I spent so much time feeding others with my grandiose, complicated dishes. But when I was running low, I couldn’t feed myself. I had no basic cooking skills. Truthfully, I had no foundation at all. What happens when you have nothing beneath you to stand on? You fall. I forgot the basics. Because I’ve been in the church so long, I sometimes have to ask God to give me the desire to seek Him again, like I did when I first believed. I find myself having mental conversations that sound something like this:
“Ebonee, where’s your fervor? Has your light dimmed? Have you gotten comfortable with where you are? Get that zeal back girl!” I (we) have to remember the mission. It’s not meatloaf. It’s ministry. It’s not about impressing others with our Christianity; it’s simply feeding them where they are. Get it?
God used Vinecea to teach me many lessons throughout our friendship. This is one I’ll never forget. It’s time for us to go back to the basics before our minds get burnt out, and our passion melts away… just like my disgusting sandwich.
Remember, God loves you and so do I!