I am amazed of how many pick ‘n’ mix offers are about when you are out shopping. In a lot of ways I am grateful for it. When we take the kids to the cinema, for example, we can have one bag of sweets with all sorts, so everyone is happy! Some suppermarkets have something similar to the original pick ‘n’ mix idea: it is the “any 3 for 10” or “any 2 for 5”, etc. That is also helpful if you want a pack of mince, some diced beef and some chicken and you can get it all for £10! There is a negative side to this culture of being able to choose, though. You might eat more sweets than you should/would, if you had one small bag of a type of sweets. You might be tricked to think you wouldn’t save money if you bought your meat and poultry separately.
Unfortunately this culture of “Pick ‘n’ Mix” is entering the church as well. People pick and mix what they want, as long as they are happy that is fine. They pick the nice bits about the Bible, the ones that make them feel warm and loved, but they refuse the parts of the Bible that are designed to instruct and rebuke in love. People want God’s blessings and gifts but they don’t want a relationship with Him – they don’t want the commitment. They pick the bits of Christian life that suits them and they mix it with the things the world offers them and they feel they have done enough.
The Bible tells us in 2 Timothy 3:16-17
“All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the servant of God[a] may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”
It says “All Scripture”, it does not say: “some parts of it” or “The Old Testament”, or “The New Testament”, or “the letters Paul wrote”. NO. It says: “All Scripture”! There is no room for a pick ‘n’ mix culture when it comes to the Bible. You cannot choose what you like and leave what you don’t like.
As for mixing what the Bible teaches, with the views the world tempts us with, the Bible tells us:
“Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God – this is your true and proper worship. 2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – his good, pleasing and perfect will.” Romans 12:1-2
Note verse 2 says “Do not conform to the pattern of this world”. It is an order as the verb is in the imperative form. We are not to be living like the world. We are not to mix the truths of the Bible with ideals of this world and pretend they fit together. That is not pleasing to God.
Most of the time when we buy sweets at the pick ‘n’ mix in the cinema, we find ourselves complaining of a tummy ache or we feel slighly uncomfortable. So, what first looked like a good idea, was in fact bad for us. Sometimes when I get home after bying a “2 for 5” offer I realise I could have saved money because it was cheaper to buy them separately. The offer appeared so attactive that I did not even read the label with the prices before I picked the items up. False economy!
When we find ourselves trying to pick ‘n’ mix what the Bible teaches us, we should stop right there and then. No matter what the world says to us: we should not have a pick ‘n’ mix faith.
May our God help us to walk closer to Him and trust Him more!