I have fallen in love with Pampered Chef items—mainly their cutlery, but anything Pampered Chef looks appealing to me. I got bogged down in their bakeware and cooking tools sections when looking through their catalogue for a flour sifter. I used the search bar and plugged in “flour sifter” and what came up was a powdered sugar shaker. Not really what I was looking for, so I literally looked through every item in these two sections. Four items and $125 later in my shopping cart, I was entitled to a free gift worth $17 (not bad), but still no sifter. I opted out of the powdered sugar shaker, although it did seem like a pretty cool cooking tool to have in my cupboard. But I’d probably never use it.
I Googled flour sifter and became overwhelmed by how many sifters were made by tons of manufactures most looking identical and ranging in prices from $8.50 to something so astronomical only the rich and famous would be willing to pay for it. I finally decided my next Walmart run would include a sifter.
Why was I so determined to buy a sifter you may be wondering? If you have ever used a sifter, and bake the occasional cake, pastries or better yet, biscuits, you’ll understand. By pouring your flour into a sifter, what comes out is free of clumps and unwanted debris. The flour you’ll find in your mixing bowl will be soft and pure, which lends itself to a much better cake.
Isn’t that what God wants of us? He wants to sift our hearts so that it is soft and pure. But why? A hardened heart can taint your judgment. We see in Exodus nine different times that Pharaoh’s heart was hardened. Exodus 8:15 (NIV) “But when Pharaoh saw that there was relief, he hardened his heart and would not listen to Moses and Aaron, just as the Lord had said.” The hardening of Pharaoh’s heart continues in Exodus 8:32; Exodus 9:12; Exodus 9:34; Exodus 10:1; Exodus 10:20; Exodus 10:27; Exodus 11:10; and Exodus 14:8. He vowed to keep God’s people in captivity. Because his heart was hardened, he made poor judgements and he became angry.
An angry heart can alter your outlook. Jonah 1:1-5 (NIV) “But to Jonah this seemed very wrong, and he became angry. He prayed to the Lord, ‘Isn’t this what I said, Lord, when I was still at home? That is what I tried to forestall by fleeing to Tarshish. I knew that you are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abounding in love, a God who relents from sending calamity. Now, Lord, take away my life, for it is better for me to die than to live.’ But the Lord replied, ‘Is it right for you to be angry?’” Jonah was running from God. God had asked him to do something he did not want to do. The more he ran, the more God pursued him. He saw God’s compassion on a vile nation and Jonah didn’t want God to be compassionate. God asked him if it was rightfor him to be angry. Jonah didn’t tell God he was angry. He didn’t have to. God knew his heart. And, he knows our heart too.
When we allow God to soften our hearts; and when we come to him with a pure heart, we can truly love others. 1 Timothy 1:5 (NIV) “The goal of this command is love, which comes from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.”
Over and over in the New Testament we read of God’s love and what God wants from us. 1 Corinthians 13:1-3 (NIV) “If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing. …”
God wants us pure and soft just like the flour that has been sifted. He wants us free of the clumps and unwanted debris. It’s only after we’ve been sifted that we can share God’s love. So, Isay, “Sift away.”