Some things appear as no-brainers, but they cause considerable confusion.
For example, recently at a conference including scientists conducting research on wheat, I learned that the flour of new wheat varieties are evaluated for cookie diameter. Being a connoisseur of fine cookies (but not at all a baker), I asked if the flour's cookie diameter characteristic might determine whether the cookie would stand tall and cakey, like those with macadamia nuts and chunks of white chocolate, or spread thin like gooey chocolate chip cookies. The response was that they hadn't considered the effect of cookie diameter in that regard, but it was more likely that other ingredients in the cookie had a greater effect on final cookie shape and texture. That's reasonable.
So, what does this have to do with Christianity?
Our lives contain many ingredients that affect our response in any given situation. The main ingredient determining our reaction is our source of wisdom (James 3:13-18). If we have the wisdom from above (God's wisdom), things usually turn out much more smoothly. Ohterwise, life can be pretty rough. However bad it seems for the Christian, we should realize that without God, it'd be much worse.
The wisdom from heaven comes to us only when we become Christians and receive the Holy Spirit and allow him to guide our lives (1 Corinthians 2:6-16; Romans 8:5-14; Acts 2:38, 39). When we pursue and exhibit the wisdom of God, the activity of the Spirit is like salt in our lives enhancing the flavor of other ingredients (Galatians 5:16-25; 2:20, 21; Romans 6:1-7; Colossians 2:9-12). Understanding the ingredients for our salvation should be a no-brainer; but, it's a stumbling block for many people who don't realize that obeying God's commands doesn't set aside accepting his grace (1 Corinthians 1:21; Mark 16:16; Acts 19:1-5).
Maybe the answer to my cookie diameter question was such a no-brainer (or so off-the-wall) that no one else had even thought of it. It is understandable that many ingredients are involved in the shape of a cookie. While I'm not a baker, as a scientist who happens to be a Christian, I know that if a recipe isn't followed, things don't turn out as expected. I understand that God has given us the recipe for salvation and success in Christian living so his Spirit can be influential like salt causing us to experience and express the wisdom from God by which we also become salt to influence the world (Matthew 5:13; Mark 9:50; Colossians 4:6).
Some people stumble over the simplicity of God's recipe, but he's made no other promise about how things will turn out if we don't follow his directions. In fact, Jesus said, "Not everyone who calls me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven" (Matthew 7:21; read verses 21 to 27, Luke 6:46-49, and John 15:1-10; 14:15-21).
Have you followed God's recipe for salvation? It's a no-brainer.
Leonard Lauriault is a member of the Church of Christ in Logan. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org