If you spend any time on Facebook, you have probably noticed the new Tasty videos that are currently going around. Essentially, the videos show someone cooking a recipe by speeding up time and listing the ingredients on the screen as they go. If you have not tried one yet, I highly recommend the bacon ranch chicken bake video. It’s quite delicious.
I was recently watching one of these videos and began to wonder why they are so successful. I think it’s because of how much easier it is to cook when you can see the way to do it. Reading a recipe card can be difficult if you don’t have experience actually cooking. It takes us much less effort to sit back and watch a video of someone else performing the task than it does for us to read the instructions. Plus, experience makes all the difference. Having actually cooked before makes reading a recipe much easier and, in turn, makes watching a video with instructions even easier.
Sometimes, I wish following Jesus was as easy as watching one of those Tasty videos. There are times in our lives where it seems like Jesus is calling us to perform something we have no experience with. We are called to turn the other cheek when attacked (Matt. 5:39), love our enemies (Matt. 5:43; Luke 6:27), and to love our neighbors as ourselves (Matt. 22:39; Mark 12:31). All of these commands are contrary to how the world tempts us to respond. So what are we to do in these situations where we have little experience performing these tasks?
We follow the example that was left for us. We look to Jesus. This example wasn’t simply ingredients and instructions left on a recipe card. Our example is a man who suffered and was tempted as we are. (Hebrews 4:15)
When Jesus was arrested and questioned by the Pharisees, he didn’t retaliate and seek revenge; instead, he turned the other cheek. As Jesus was crucified on the cross, he had mercy on those crucifying him and cried to the Father for their forgiveness. Jesus himself was our example to follow.
In Mark 8:34-35, Jesus gives us another very challenging command: “If anyone wants to be My follower, he must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life because of Me and the gospel will save it.”
The reason that denying ourselves is so hard is because it feels like dying. However, even when it comes to death, Jesus is our example: “He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death – even to death on a cross.” (Philippians 2:8)
Remember, the commands that Jesus gave to his followers aren’t easy. We may have no experience with them. But we do have a perfect example we can choose to follow.