I love the kind of chocolate pudding you cook on the stove. As a little boy I remember sitting on the counter next to the stove, stirring and stirring the pudding until little bubbles would begin to form and pop on the surface of the pudding. Then we (my mom and I) would pour it into bowls and I would get to eat all that remained in the pot. I really do love cooked chocolate pudding so I guess it is not surprising that I see it as a delicious analogy of what it means to have Christ in my life.
As you read the following, remember two things: 1) all analogies break down – sadly some sooner than others and 2) I really, really, really love cooked chocolate pudding.
With that said, let’s look at Jesus, chocolate pudding and me.
People eat pudding in a variety of ways…some put whipped cream on it, others put sprinkles on top, some put whipped cream and a cherry on top, while others put all three on their pudding. Now I just like the pudding. I do not find whipped cream, cherries and/or sprinkles as adding anything to my enjoyment of pudding. In fact if the truth were known, I find the very things that are intended to enhance my pudding experience actually detract from it. Now don’t get me wrong, I do enjoy pudding in different ways…I like it in a cup, a bowl and thinly poured out on a plate. Just don’t add anything to it…I just want the chocolate pudding.
Now as I look at my relationship with Jesus, I feel much the same way. I just want Jesus…to know Him, to hear His voice, to be with Him, to follow and adore Him. Yet, as I look around I see that there is a tendency to view Jesus as not being enough anymore. People seem to need Jesus and whipped cream, a nice cherry and some sprinkles. It is Jesus and prosperity, Jesus and a religious experience, Jesus and success, Jesus and health, Jesus and influence, Jesus and power, Jesus and…. Sadly life begins to be found not in Jesus but rather in the “ands”.
Suddenly it doesn’t matter if I have Jesus. What really matters is do I have the whipped cream, the cherry, the sprinkles. I too get caught up in the ‘ands’. It is hard not to. I begin to confuse the ‘ands’ with the substance. Instead of a delicious bowl of pudding, I have a bowl of whipped cream, sprinkles and a cherry and call it a bowl of pudding. Then when I reflect on my experience, I find it lacking, deficient, not containing the joy and substance of previous bowls of pudding. So, I put on more whipped cream, sprinkles and an extra cherry or two, but I fail to realize that this is no longer a bowl of pudding. I fail to acknowledge that life and substance are not found in the ‘ands’ but only in Jesus. The whipped cream, sprinkles and cherry make the pudding look so good, but soon they, and not the pudding, define the experience. This can become so pervasive in my thinking that if one or more of the ‘ands’ are missing the pudding is no longer desirable and in some sense I no longer even acknowledge it to be pudding.
I don’t want to dilute my experience of Jesus with other things. I don’t want to get to the place where ‘ands’ become the criteria by which I judge my experience of Jesus. I want Jesus, just Jesus, the unadulterated experience of Jesus, my Lover, my Friend, my Lord, my Savior.
Help me, Jesus, to find my pleasure in You and You alone. Help me to resist defining and finding life in the ‘ands’. Help me to see that You are my life, You are my God, You are my all. Let me see the whipped cream, sprinkles and cherries as distractions to my enjoyment and experience of You…as seductive teasers that can lead me away from You. Increase my desire for You and You alone. Lord, help me to be a chocolate pudding Christian.
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