There is a sense in which we try to hurry things along, or we get impatient in waiting, or we simply stop a concentrated effort too soon. You might say we tend to present things in a half-baked way. Can you imagine pulling a cake from the oven after only half the baking time then serving it? You can consequently think of the response of your guests. OK, with that in mind, how often have you cut off what you are offering to God before it’s finished curing? How often have you rushed through your time of prayer? Have you really devoted uninterrupted moments to reading and studying the Bible or have you rushed through a couple of verses and called it a day? How about your fellowship with other believers? We all know how vital it is in our own spiritual growth and maturity, but we often blow off time with others because there are so many things calling for our attention. No wonder God calls us to offer ourselves as a burnt offering that was totally consumed by the flame of God. No wonder Jesus calls us to take up our cross daily as we follow Him all the way instead of offering something “half-baked.”
Romans 12:1–2 (ESV) — 1 I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. 2 Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
Luke 9:23 (ESV) — 23 And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.
It’s a matter of choice in following the Lord Jesus Christ “all the way” instead of cutting things off. Too often when God is sanctifying us through times of affliction, instead of rejoicing that He is working in us to conform us to the image of Christ as He promised, we look for a quick way out as in pulling the cake from the oven too soon. The problem is that when we flee times of trial and suffering, we often find ourselves back in a similar situation because God is not done with us. He has promised to sanctify us as He matures and grows us.
Another fault that often comes out when we seek to avoid the discomfort of sanctification is that we turn to idols as in relying upon the strength of the flesh, or we find our comfort in something other than God. In doing so we become much like the Northern Kingdom of Israel often referred to as the capitol city, Ephraim:
Hosea 7:8 (ESV) — 8 Ephraim mixes himself with the peoples; Ephraim is a cake not turned.
The people had looked to other people for strength and deliverance when things got rough instead of turning to God. In doing so, God compared them to a half-baked cake as in baked to the place of burning on one side while the other side remained uneatable. In other words, when we try to find satisfaction and comfort in things other than God we are committing idolatry and that will not only cause us to offer something “half-baked” to God but also cause us to be burned in the process and the result: God allows us to reap what we sow.
Hosea 4:17 (ESV) — 17 Ephraim is joined to idols; leave him alone.
Galatians 6:7–9 (ESV) — 7 Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. 8 For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. 9 And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.
And there is how we avoid the half-baked syndrome. Do what you do in service to the Lord Jesus Christ with passion, consistency, and steadfastness because God will accept such sacrifices from the heart as in a beautiful cake that is fully baked.
Hebrews 13:15–16 (ESV) — 15 Through him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name. 16 Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.