Freeze or Fry – The Real Deal!

When I was a young boy and a newcomer to the church scene, I regularly heard preachers say, “If the devil can’t freeze you, he’ll try to fry you!” This churchy expression was trendy in many pulpits. In today’s church, we have preachers “unpacking the Scriptures,” which simply means, explaining them. Aren’t we preachers a funny bunch?

What were preachers from yesteryear trying to communicate when they used the “freeze-fry” analogy?

Apparently, it was a call for balanced Christian living. Another version of the same thought was, “He’s so heavenly-minded that he’s no earthly good.” I have personally known the Lord for 52 years, and I remain on a quest for authentic Christianity. I want the real deal! And I want my life to reflect the beauty of Jesus. In my experience as a pastor, I have watched many believers struggle with how to consistently walk out the claims of Jesus Christ. They tend to operate in extremes. They are experientially driven people. Emotions play an inconsistent role in their lives, often knocking them around like a ping-pong ball, causing them to live on highs and lows.

While we are emotional beings, we cannot allow our emotions to drive our faith. Faith does at times produce emotional responses. Who among us does not cherish moments in the presence of God that reduce us to tears or even laughter? I sure do! But whether I “feel” his presence or not, I know he’s with me. Some years ago, a well-meaning man asked me, “Pastor Roger, is the Spirit moving in your church?” Before I could comment he said, “I can’t remember the last time my pastor preached. The Holy Spirit is taking over the services. We’re in revival!”

I felt the man’s heart was pure, but his resolve to grow deeper in his faith seemed shallow. In other words, his experience was perhaps a mile wide and an inch deep! The apostle Paul told the leaders of the Ephesian church that when he was with them, he never “hesitated to declare among them the whole counsel of God” (Acts 20:27). My friend, we need to continually grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord. We need a Genesis to Revelation understanding of God’s Word. 

So, what constitutes a balanced Christian life? I believe Paul’s description of ministry while speaking to the elders in Ephesus describes the need for balanced ministry. And by the way, balance does not mean compromise. Consider the apostle’s words in Acts 20:17-27.

“From Miletus, Paul sent to Ephesus for the elders of the church. When they arrived, he said to them: “You know how I lived the whole time I was with you, from the first day I came into the province of Asia. I served the Lord with great humility and with tears and in the midst of severe testing by the plots of my Jewish opponents. You know that I have not hesitated to preach anything that would be helpful to you but have taught you publicly and from house to house. I have declared to both Jews and Greeks that they must turn to God in repentance and have faith in our Lord Jesus. Freeze 

“And now, compelled by the Spirit, I am going to Jerusalem, not knowing what will happen to me there. I only know that in every city the Holy Spirit warns me that prison and hardships are facing me. However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace. 

“Now I know that none of you among whom I have gone about preaching the kingdom will ever see me again. Therefore, I declare to you today that I am innocent of the blood of any of you. For I have not hesitated to proclaim to you the whole will of God.”

Saint of God, to be sure, we must guard against complacency in our Christian walk. There’s never time to coast in our spiritual life. But at the same time, we must avoid extremes that move us away from walking circumspect or maintaining a well-rounded lifestyle. I’m not talking about a lukewarm Christianity, which we should guard against; I’m referring to a life that’s grounded in God’s Word and that speaks well of the Lord we serve, whether we’re in an emotionally-charged Sunday service or maintaining our testimony before an unbelieving world, Monday through Saturday.

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