One of the best parts of watching Gordon Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares is when he finally inspects the kitchen and storage of the restaurants. Often doing it during a dinner service what he finds is shocking and disgusting beyond words. On numerous occasions he has to shut down the restaurants there and then before someone gets seriously sick.
Rotting food in room temperature walk in freezers. Piles upon piles of frozen fake mush instead of fresh produce—often prepared a week before and then frozen. Grime and dirt and mould growing and festering on the shelves and in the kitchen units. Cockroaches and rat droppings. Dirty floors, sticky walls, encrusted slime. Then there are the basic errors beyond general cleanliness like keeping cooked chicken and raw chicken not just on the same shelf—which would be bad enough—but even in the same container. Watching the programme almost makes you develop a fear of eating out anywhere that you cannot see the kitchen before you eat!
All of this filth impacts the business. It is no wonder the food tastes bland or sour when the materials in the kitchen are rotten and the basic cleanliness is so poor. Of course the bad food springing from these kitchen problems puts off the customers and kills the business.
Believe it or not this is a very good metaphor for the Christian life. Your life has two parts just like a restaurant. It has the front of house—that which everyone sees and knows and where they experience you. It also the back of house—that is the kitchen from which all the things in the front are made and developed in. As Christians it is not enough to appear holy, to appear to know the Lord because when people taste the fruit coming out of our lives they know when it is rotten and bad. As Jesus said "a good tree produces good fruit and a bad tree produces bad fruit."
The 'kitchen' of our lives as saints of God is our prayer life and devotional life. The time we spend away from others with the Lord and His word. Jesus calls on us to pray and to do so daily alone and out of sight. Sin is the filthy mould that builds up inside us when we neglect the basic chores and hygiene of our spiritual lives—personal repentance, prayer, reading and reflecting on Scripture etc. As Gordon Ramsay often says "COME ON GUYS JUST 30 MINUTES A DAY AND YOU CAN KEEP THIS PLACE CLEAN!!"
When we let filth and sin build up and corrupt our spiritual kitchen it slowly begins to appear normal, we just don't see it and eventually we become deluded into accepting it. But it is not acceptable. If we are to produce good fruit which gives glory to King Jesus and draws in the crowds that they might hear of Him then we cannot neglect the back of house.
As Christians we must be dedicated to spiritual hygiene and good practice. Importantly, we need friends, family, and experts (men like Gordon Ramsay who know what a clean back of house is and how to get things in order) to step in and help us clean things up—help us see the errors and faults, to understand how things got how they are. That means a humble willingness to invite people in and also a preparedness to get our hands dirty in the spiritual warfare we all must wage.
Unless we are willing to sort out our spiritual kitchens and be passionate about keeping it clean we might as well just close up shop now and stop pretending to be Christians before someone else steps in and shuts us down.