It is officially summertime! For me, this means it is time for potato salad since it is one of my favorite summer foods. As is often the case for me, I am looking for a spiritual lesson as I prepare my first potato salad of the season.
I begin by boiling potatoes and eggs. As the potatoes and eggs boil in water, I realize that within a few minutes my potatoes will be soft and my eggs will become hard. As heat is applied to both foods, different things happen to each of them. Now for my spiritual application. I think of the water as being the power of the Holy Spirit that works within our lives. In John 4:14, Jesus says that the water He gives becomes like a spring of living water within a person. The Holy Spirit is who Jesus is referring to when He mentions Living Water. So, if the Holy Spirit is living and working in us, He will bring about changes within us. Sometimes we may need to be softened while other times we may need a little hardening.
In Matthew 3:11, John the Baptist baptized people who repented of their sins. When we repent of our sins, we accept Jesus as our Savior, but that is not all there is for believers. Matthew 3:11 goes on to promise the baptism of the Holy Spirit with fire. This promise is fulfilled in Acts 2:3 when the Holy Spirit, described as tongues of fire, came upon the disciples. Back to my potato salad. I baptized my potatoes and eggs in the water and through the heat of the stove, their textures, or natures, were changed. The potatoes were hard when I put them in the water but as they boiled, they became soft. The raw eggs would not have held any shape were it not for the shells when they were placed in the water. However, after boiling in hot water (placed under the fire of the Holy Spirit), they became solidified and were able to keep their shape after being peeled.
As believers, there are times when our hearts will become hard and require softening. Ezekiel 36:26 is our promise for a hardened heart to be made soft when the Lord says, “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.” Hard heart out; soft heart in! Another scripture that comes to my ind is I Peter 3:8 that instructs us to be tender-hearted and humble. Just like tender potatoes are needed for potato salad, a tenderness within our souls is favorable for our personality. This is only possible with the help of the Holy Spirit.
There are other situations when it will beneficial for us to be strengthened, or hardened, in our faith. In II Corinthians 12:10 Paul says, “When I am weak (soft), He is strong (hard).” It is the Holy Spirit who provides us with this strength. It is heat that produces boiling water that in turn changes the consistency of the egg. I Peter 1:7 says that we will encounter trials in life to test the strength of our faith. Peter recounts how although we will be tested with fiery trials in the turbulent waters of life, the result will be us having a stronger faith in the Lord. Ephesians 6:10 admonishes us to “be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.” That is a picture of a hard-boiled egg!
Finally it is time for me to add some mayonnaise to complete my potato salad. Oil is one of the primary ingredients in the dressing and once again I have a reminder of the Holy Spirit. II Corinthians 1:21-22 is a scripture referring to the oil of the Holy Spirit and the anointing of the Holy Spirit. My potato salad becomes a specific kind of food when I combine the ingredients with the dressing. As believers, we are all a part of the body of Christ because of the working of the Holy Spirit who unites us into one. The Holy Spirit also works within each of each according to our need at the present time. For some of us, our hearts may require softening while for others of us, our faith may need strengthening or hardening. Whichever the case, we all gain from the anointing of the Holy Spirit in order to best serve the body of Christ.
My potato salad is in the refrigerator getting cold for dinner tonight. My awareness of the work of the Holy Spirit within my life has been increased. Whether the Holy Spirit is interpreted in my life as water, fire or oil, I always benefit from the help of the third person of the Trinity. My Reader, I encourage you not to quench the work of Holy Spirit (I Thessalonians 5:19). Do not thwart the working of the Holy Spirit to soften your heart (like boiling hard potatoes to make them soft) or to strengthen your faith (like boiling eggs to make them hard). As Paul says in Ephesians 4:23 NLT, “let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes.”