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Steak and Jesus

You always know the second you bite into something you shouldn’t have.
Be it an undercooked burger, fish or chicken, there’s that a momentary pause where time stands still and the words “I’ve made a horrible mistake” skate through my neurons.
I remember one instance particularly well. It was my senior year of high school, and more importantly, prom night. As is the cultural norm, a group of us got together and went to a fancy restaurant which was eons out of my price range, and everyone got fancy, foreign sounding menu items like “cordon bleu” or “asparagus.” I opted for something just as expensive, but closer to home, a nice, big steak. And then, to impress my date, I ordered it medium rare.
Now at this point in my life, I had never had anything pinker than medium, and as I bit into the purple, still bleeding animal carcass, those words flashed through my head. I knew that it didn’t taste right. The rest of the night I had a multitude of uncomfortable bowel movements which I can only describe as a long and hard-fought battle for control.
This long and seemingly pointless story does have a connection (if a somewhat tenuous one) to a topic of some substance. And that connection is the word “palatable.”
Palatable is a great word, meaning both pleasant to taste, or of an acceptable condition.
Do you make try to make the gospel more palatable?
When talking about Christianity do you try to smooth over rough spots? Do you try to cover it with salt so you can’t even taste the essence of what it is? Do you use the gospel as a serving tray for whatever cause you’re dishing out this week?

In the first chapter of Galatians, Paul discusses how it is impossible to serve both man and God, but how much of our time and energy goes into trying to make the beautiful story of God’s love for us through Jesus fit our culture, our world, and our opinions?  We take it and crumple it and try to change it to make it more palpable, either to the world around us, or to ourselves.
The steak I ate at prom wasn’t great at the time, because I had no taste for steak. As I’ve grown more experienced with it, I understand the intricacies of its taste and how good a rare steak can be. When I was sitting at the table debating whether or not to spit the steak into a napkin, I didn’t like the taste; but I knew it was a steak and was the way it should be, whether or not I like all the flavors.
The Gospel is like a steak (might as well run with the food analogies at this point), to some people it may taste too charred, to some it may taste too raw. But the steak is a steak, and if you cover it up to try and make it taste differently, you’ve changed it, and you’re not experiencing its fullness.
In what parts of your life are you trying to change the Gospel to make it more palatable, and when you do that are you serving Christ, or serving man?
James Harris

James is probably the 3rd or 4th funniest guy you know. Funny enough to invite to a party; not witty enough to talk about later. Co-Founder and Content Editor of Everyday Exiles, Director of College Ministry at Reynolda Church, EPC, and husband to Meredith. He has a dog named Calvin, a cat named Opie, and a robot vacuum named Alfred.

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