Good intentions.

We have an entire bookcase dedicated to cook books.  Not only is it a lovely bookcase, it’s filled with lovely books.  Last year, I got Mary Berry’s Baking Bible for Christmas, and I love it.  This year, I got Paul Hollywood’s Pies and Puds. (If you buy through the link, I’ll get a tiny amount of commission, apparently…  Barbados here I come)  I love it too (no, despite appearances, this post is not sponsored by the Great British Bake Off).  I made a nice veggie type pie from it for a veggie friend who was celebrating New Year with us.  Apparently, it was yummy.  I did change some of the ingredients, but it’s fair to say I wouldn’t have made the pie without the book’s inspiration.

Cook books are wonderful, aren’t they?  You can get drooling just by flicking through them.  Of course, some are more realistic than others in terms of what ingredients you might stock.  Some are clearer than others, too.  What I particularly like about Hollywood’s Pies and Puds is the pictures.  Not just the pictures of the finished products (though they’re always good!).  In this book, he has a number of picture sequences that follow the recipe.  So you have a recipe, and then a double page spread of 8 pictures that take you through the process of making whatever delight it is.  Personally, I think this is genius, because it’s clearer than any written guide alone could be.

But surprisingly, I’m not actually here to write about cook books.  I’m here to write about something else altogether.  I’m here to write about the Bible.  You see, in each of our numerous cook books, there are probably only two or three recipes that we use.  We have a wealth of information available, but only select a little bit.  We pick and choose bits that we like, and largely ignore the rest, unless there are unusual circumstances (like the visit of a vegetarian, for example) that push us back to thumbing through the books again seeking inspiration.

And I fear that that’s sometimes my approach to the Bible.  I’ve got some good bits that I know well, like and are tried and tested.  They suit me and my situation and so I stick with them.  I have a similar approach to reading Christian books.  Maybe it’s a biography and it draws me to trying something new in my Christian life:  something jumps out at me and I apply it for a while.  Sometimes it sticks, other times it drifts out of my life again, almost imperceptibly.  Or, like the recipe, I share it with some friends, who might all agree it’s a real cracker, but then we end up forgetting about it.

So, over the course of this coming year, I’m going to be working, again, on developing real habits.  I’ll still be blogging about Holy Habits over at BigBible.  I’ll also aim to continue musing, applying and sharing here.  Because when it comes down to it, simply having a good knowledge of the Bible doesn’t have any more influence on my Christian life than having an enviable selection of cook books has on my skills as a chef.  Unless the rubber hits the road, it’s just a pretty display of what could be achieved.

What about you?

Do you relish reading theBible but struggle with getting it to make a discernible difference to your life?  Or is that just me?

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