No Substitutes

What kind of cook are you? Do you strictly follow the recipe? Or are you confident enough to try substitutions when you don’t have the exact ingredients required?

I often find myself searching for substitutes for ingredients that I don’t have. My banana nut bread calls for buttermilk which is something I never buy. Momma taught me years ago that you can make a buttermilk substitute by adding a little vinegar to whole milk. I’ve used the same Betty Crocker Cookbook recipe for over thirty-five years and have never actually used buttermilk because it tastes great with the substitution.

A few months ago, I tried a new Rigatoni recipe that called for heavy cream, which is something I don’t typically keep. I searched for substitutes and discovered that 3/4 cup of milk and 1/4 cup of melted butter can replace heavy cream. It tasted great and became a favorite recipe. But recently I bought heavy cream for another recipe, so I decided to make the Rigatoni with the remaining cream. I was astounded at how creamy the sauce was compared to my milk plus butter substitute. It was such a difference that I won’t ever make Rigatoni without the real thing!

This made me think about Jesus and how often we try to substitute a variety of things to fill a void that only He can fill. We don’t even recognize that we’re using a substitute. I remember when I was young, a preacher spoke of a Jesus-shaped hole that we all have in our hearts. We try many things in search of joy, peace, and even salvation, but there is nothing that will truly satisfy that Jesus-shaped hole in our hearts.

Common substitutes are earthly relationships, material things, knowledge, pleasure, power, self-will, risky behaviors, etc. Like my Rigatoni recipe, these substitutes may seem satisfying and tasty, but nothing will ever get the same results as Jesus! Once you try Jesus in the recipe for life, you’ll be astonished at how much better life tastes and satisfies than any substitute you have ever tried in the past!

Psalm 34:8 says, Taste and see that the Lord is good. Taste and see means to experience His goodness for yourself. The substitutes may seem good, but once we add Jesus (the real thing) to our recipe for life, we will see that nothing is a good replacement.

Absolutely nothing is a proper substitute for Jesus, but Jesus was the ultimate substitute for us. He took on the punishment that each and every one of us deserved. He died on a cruel cross so that we might have everlasting life. John 3:16 says, “For God loved the world in this way: He gave His One and Only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life.” In John 14:6 Jesus says “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” Jesus is the one and only way to God and eternal life. Our life is so much better with Jesus that no substitute will ever fully satisfy. All substitutes will leave you wanting more. There will always be a void in your life without Christ.

Substitutions sometimes work when cooking, and the end result may be so similar that you don’t even recognize an ingredient was replaced. But in life, the most important ingredient is Jesus Christ. There is no substitute that will get the same results. Harry Ironside once said, “Christ is a substitute for everything, but nothing is a substitute for Christ.” There truly is no good substitute!

Taste and see that the Lord is good. Psalm 34:8

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One thought on “No Substitutes

  1. Tresa, I really get a blessing from your message. I don’t know how people make it that doesn’t know the Lord. You’re right. There is no substitute for God.


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