Discernment and Brownies
The word discernment has been on my mind, heart, and lips a lot recently as I have been encouraging those around me and are teaching my kids about this KEY element to our daily lives. I used to believe that discernment meant just being wise and not letting others persuade me with things that are obviously not of God. The Dictionary simply states, “the ability to judge well.” HOWEVER, there is nothing simple about discernment.
One thing I think we forget (and is imperative to teach our kids about), is that when is comes to the need for discernment usually it is because something seems like it could be right.
Let’s think back to the Garden Eden way back in Genesis. What did satan say to tempt Eve? Lets look:
The Fall of Man
Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?” And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden, but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.’” But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate.
Did satan just come straight out and say to Eve, “Go on, eat it!”? NO! Why? Because that would be obvious, and Eve would have sniffed that temptation right out with ease. The first step in her deception was the DISTORTING of God’s word. See instead of saying, “Go on, just eat it,” his first step was to have her question the truthfulness of God’s word, to question HIS authority! God is the SOLE AUTHORITY for our lives, but how often is the are we encouraged to disregard Him as the one TRUE God all in the name of moral relativism (what is true for you, is not true for me). Instead of Satan saying, “Go on, eat it,” he says, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?” A question to Eve, a question to make her discredit the Authority of GOD! Questioning truth!
How did Eve respond? She said, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden, but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.’” You know what comes next right? Satan says, “You will not surely die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” Is this statement true? Well contains a degree of truth, but is NOT all true.
This is half truth because it is a COMPLETE MISREPRESENTATION of what God had said. The truth part was that by eating the apple in temptation their eyes would be “opened,” in Genesis 3:22
22 Then the Lord God said, “Behold, the man has become like one of us in knowing good and evil. Now, lest he reach out his hand and take also of the tree of life and eat, and live forever—”
But there eyes were not opened to what they had thought, and they didn’t “die” in the human sense but in the spiritual sense, to say the died is an understatement, for the were separated from the presence of God. What they decided in the temptation of satan is that they want to be their own God, they want to make their own rules, basically we can see the first of beginning of idolatry.
Jumping back to where satan says, “You will not surely die” we can see a direct rejection of consequences. This reminds me of a common statement that is so frequently used in our current age that seems like truth but is a misrepresentation (aka a FALSE statement), “My god wouldn’t send people to hell.” We don’t live in a merit system: if we do good then we will we go to Heaven , if we are a bad person we will go to hell. And praise God because we are all sinful people, born that way, in need of a Savior! Jesus Christ! Furthermore, if we didn’t have a God who gives a consequence of judgement due to absolute truth found in the Bible, then whose standard do we “pick” for what is right and wrong? Do you see how without law, judgement, consequences it could get REALLY messy REALLY fast! In addition without our acknowledgment of our sin, and need for sacrifice Jesus would have never needed to die for our salvation, and if he never came and died for us out of the God’s love then we would never get to enjoy the relationship. AND without that relationship we would be left to deal with satan’s temptations without: the Holy Spirit, the WORD of GOD and prayer!
So what does this have to do with discernment? Everything! WE NEED DISCERNMENT so we do not fall temptation to satan’s schemes.
I would like to tell you a story that has been a GREAT way to teach kids (and myself) about the need for discernment and how satan operates.
One day my neighbor said she had some brownies she wanted to share with me. When she stopped by I saw the brownies, and MAN OH MAN they looks so good!!!! Plus, I have heard of my neighbors FAMOUS BROWNIES, everyone was making them and sharing them with others and now it was MY TURN! They looked to die for! She brought them over all displayed beautifully on a colorful plate, cut in perfect square bite size pieces, I began to just imagine their taste, texture and sweetness! We sat down at the table to enjoy the brownies. But before I took I bite I thought to myself I should ask what is in the brownies. I asked my friend, “I must know, what is in your famous brownies?” She replied, “Oh just the normal ingredients like: sugar, coco powder, butter, chocolate chips, eggs, pure vanilla extract, and poop.” I said, “WAIT WHAT!? Poop!?” She calmly responded, “it is only a spoonful, not a big deal, everyone is eating them, they love them!”
- This is where I stop my story and turn to my kids and ask, would you eat the brownies? Thankfully every time they have said, “NOOOOOOOO!!!!” (sorry ahead of time if your kids say yes, I don’t know what I would say in response hahah, maybe something to do with GROSS!!!!!)
- I love the follow up questions, WHY? Why do you choose not to eat the brownies? “Because mom that is gross, they have poop in it!” I gently remind them it is only a spoonful, a small amount. At this point I am able to go into a deeper conversation where we get to go over how temptation is most the time wrapped in “good” things. And discernment is needed because a lie usually has the truth wrapped in it too.
- Lastly, I we talk about how if someone was trying to get you to do something wrong, do you think they would come out and just hand you poop to eat or do you think it would be baked into something good like brownies?
ACTUALLY “SINLESS” BROWNIES
One of my favorite things about this life lesson that I get to teach my kids to then ACTUALLY make brownies and enjoy the poop-free “sinless” ones! Recipe below:
1 cup of Butter
1 cup of Unsweetened Chocolate
1/4 cup of Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
2 cups of Sugar
1 Tablespoon of Vanialla
3/4 cups Milk Chocolate Chips
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees
- In saucepan, Melt butter with unsweetened choclate over low heat, until smooth and melted. whisk in cocoa powder. Remove from heat and cool for 5 minutes.
- Stir in sugar and vanilla until combined
- Stir in one egg at a time
- Stir in flour until halfway incorporated. Add milk chocolate chips and stir just until combined. IT WILL BE THICK!
- Pour Batter into greased 9 x 13 pan
- Bake for 40 minutes
- Allow to cool completely, this is when the brownie sets up best
- Optional: Serve with Vanilla Ice Cream
This receipe is “sinless” but not sugar-less, calorie-less, or fat-less, Enjoy!