I baked my first successful sandwich bread last week. We just finished the loaf this morning, and so I need to go bake another! It was delicious- but coming to it was not without challenges. It was the second batch of dough I had made last Wednesday evening. The first was a larger recipe- it made 2 loaves- but was hailed as 'perfect' by Joy of Cooking, so I gave it a try. After following the directions and mixing the ingredients, the dough was completely unkneadable. It was dry and flaky and hard and not at all as it should be. It did not rise as it should either, obviously. I was very disappointed. Later, I found that the recipe was missing a cup of water and had been corrected on the publisher's site. All the older books in the series had the recipe correct- just the newest one had the misprint.
So how is this post not going to be about cooking?
I was sitting and reflecting and praying during church Sunday, and a familiar prayer entered my head- Lord, make my heart soft so You can shape me into who You want me to be I thought back to the successful dough I made- it was soft, like my heart ought to be. It was perfectly malleable. It could be kneaded to remove all the bubbles that inhibit yeast growth. It was really a joy to work with. The other dough however, was dry and solid. It did not knead. It did not flow. It flaked, and broke into pieces. It did not rise like it should have. It was worthless, and was thrown out.
What made the difference? The water. The first dough had no water in it (just some milk). The dough that worked had the right amount.
When I don't tap into the Living Water in my life, I become the same way. I am dry spiritually. I can't be molded and worked with by God. I don't grow like I should, and, in the end, I'm useless.
When I follow a correct recipe* however, and have enough Water, I can be worked with shaped and changed into what I should be. I grow (when I have the patience to sit still!) and, ultimately, when put through the fire, I will come out looking much more like The Bread of Life that is my example.
Again he asked, "What shall I compare the kingdom of God to? It is like yeast that a woman took and mixed into a large amount of flour until it worked all through the dough." - Luke 13:20-21
* I'm not saying there is a 'recipe' for correct spiritual growth. I don't believe there is. There are, however, necessary ingredients that are needed to facilitate the process. Just wanted to clarify.