If you like to cook or bake you most likely have a mixer in your kitchen. This handy appliance is used to mix, fold, beat, blend or whip food ingredients into a smooth concoction or batter. The first hand-held egg beater with rotating parts was patented in 1856 by a tinsmith in Baltimore, Maryland. The first electric mixer appeared in 1885 and was invented by American Rufus Eastman, however domestic electric mixers were rarely used before 1920. Early mixers listed speed by function (mix, beat, whip, etc.) rather than by number as they are now. Kitchen Aid and Sunbeam were popular brands and are still manufactured today. My little hand-held electric mixer may be slightly out-dated compared to some of the mixers made today, but it’s special to me because it was an engagement present from my parents and it still works just fine!
Have you ever watched the ingredients fold together when you’re using a mixer? It doesn’t take long for one ingredient to disappear into the other. Although the purpose of a mixer, whether it is electric or not, is to blend substances together so that they are no longer distinguished separately, blending in with our culture is something Scripture warns us to avoid. The ingredients are all wrong for us. According to Paul the problem with the ways of our culture is that they stand opposed to what God desires for us. When writing to the Ephesians, he admonished the believers to refrain from anything immoral or impure. I’m sure we read those words and think that it must have been easy for the early Christians to keep themselves separate from the pagan Roman culture. But archaeology and history have proven that the early Christians struggled as much as we do when it came to separating themselves from the influences of their society. Not only did they face physical persecution for rejecting worship of the Emperor, they faced economic hardships for not joining guilds which were related to their skill and the emotional stress of being misunderstood in the way they worshipped God. Reading the lists of unacceptable behavior in passages like Gal. 5:19-21, Eph. 5:1-7, 2 Tim. 3:1-7 helps us to see that it was just as easy for them to slip into sin as it is for us.
As Paul says in Ephesians 5 we must be mindful of what we’re mixing in our bowl. Just as we would not want to mix cleaning fluid in our brownie batter because it would be hazardous to our health (and to anyone else who eats them), mixing impure thoughts and actions in our Christian walk is hazardous to our spiritual health. There is hope though! In verses 1 and 2 Paul recommends that we follow Christ’s example and imitate Him. In that way, the aroma of our lives will be like a fragrant meal cooking away on our stove top with the purest of ingredients. Paul reminds us that we are no longer bound by the slavery of sin; that we were formerly of darkness but now we “children of light” (Eph. 5:8). Rather than mixing our life with the ingredients of darkness (v.11), we are to make the most of our time (vv.15-16) by allowing the Spirit to have control of our words and deeds (v.18), speak with fellow believers using words of praise, singing songs to the Lord both musically and in our hearts (v.19), offering thanksgiving to God the Father for what Jesus has done (v.20) and living in harmony with other believers by following God’s commands (v.21).
My son Erick went to camp one year thanks to the generous gift of a friend. When he returned home I asked him what his favorite activity was. His response was rather humorous. He said he enjoyed breakfast the most because no matter what condiment his friends suggested, he would mix it into his oatmeal and eat it! Some activity! God does not want us mixing just anything into our lives as Erick did with his oatmeal. Instead He desires for us to be like Jesus in every action, thought and word (1 Pet. 1:14-16). What kind of things are you mixing into your life? Ask Jesus to help you choose the right ingredients and follow Him.
Ann H. LeFevre, M. Div.
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