Any day now. Any minute. By then, I’ll be like that. By then, I’ll have mastered it.
Baking is systematic. You have your ingredients. You have your oven. You have your countertop and measuring cups and (potentially) a fancy kitchen island for those #baking selfies. We mix the materials together, plop it in the heat, and wait for the timer to go off. And when the beep-beep comes, we open the oven door, hoping for a show-and-tell grand finale.
If done properly, our product is completed. Ready. It’s a step-by-step process many Christians expect when it comes to their spiritual growth.
Just Add Salt
I felt this frustration first when I entered the adult world and noticed my plethora of imperfections. Children put time-markers on their lives the same way a chef relies on a timer. “By then, I’ll be done.”
The more I messed up, the more paralyzed I felt by my lack of control. I wanted it to be as uncomplicated as adding ingredients. If a batch is lacking in flavor, just add salt or sugar. If the dry materials have clumps, sift before mixing. And even though I was allowing God to sift and stir me into the right batch, I was still recognizing a quite uncooked Christian.
But the truth is if baking a cake is a systematic process, creating a Christian is a continual peeling-back-the-dead and breathing-in-new-life complexity.
Done and Redone
Scripture tells us that after we come to Christ, we are a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17). But “we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit,” (ESV 2 Corinthians 3: 18).
We “are being transformed” from “one degree of glory to another.” In other words, our path to holiness is a done and redone kind of thing. It’s a constant metamorphosis- orchestrated by the Spirit- to ensure that He finishes the good work He’s started (Philippians 1:6).
Watching too many Marvel movies has altered my transformation expectations. You see, we aren’t put into a machine where the chemicals swirl, the temperatures rise, and we exit like Captain America- automatically ready for superhero glory.
If we remember that God is making more than just a tea-party dessert, we will remember that we are destined for ordained authority. He has placed us in this world and has crowned us with glory and honor (Psalm 8: 4-5 NIV). And because our bones are holier than flour and salt, our maturation is greater, too. We should take it as a compliment that we are more complex than a forty-minute, store-brand recipe.
God the Baker
The Lord has fashioned you with great care and attention. There is nothing about you that was left behind or forgotten. Every part of your creation was “intricately woven in the depths of the earth” (Psalm 139 ESV). And so, if we can’t compare our creation, we can’t compare our baking process.
We wouldn’t use the same ingredients for an ice cream cake and a double-fudge brownie. The two aren’t cooked the same, cooled the same, or even sliced for plastic plates the same. The two are independent of one another and worthy of individual attention. The same goes for the blessings and hardships we are each handed. If we begin to compare our spiritual deserts and triumphs to one another, we will miss our individual transformation entirely.
Let us welcome His hand and His timing. Let us not be afraid of the heat, but embrace the change found within. Let us not tap our feet in impatience outside the oven door, but step back in thankfulness, remembering from where He has brought us.
The clay does not challenge what the Potter is doing (Isaiah 64:8 NIV). Shouldn’t the flour not dare do the same with his Baker?
Featured Image by Alex Loup
In-Text Image by Daria Shevtsova