Have you ever had the pleasure of biting into a tender, richly flavorful cut of meat? Perhaps a bit of beef that was allowed the time to marinate for many hours so that it would become infused with flavor, making each bite scrumptious and worth savoring? The process of marinating can transform meat from ordinary to extraordinary.
To marinate means to steep or soak in a marinade. When working in the kitchen a marinade is generally a sauce that helps to add flavor and to tenderize what is being soaked.
What about us? What do we marinate in? Can we be transformed by what we soak in?
What are we steeped in?
We need to begin by asking ourselves, what do we soak in? What do we spend our time absorbing into our minds and hearts and bodies?
Do we drink plenty of water to keep us moving or do we drench ourselves in a shower of sugar and caffeine? Do we binge watch the latest Netflix original series or do we study scriptures, listen to messages of wisdom from those who have gone before us and participate in conversations of community with those around us?
To be steeped in something is to soak, over long periods of time. This is different than a quick splash. To be totally honest, I enjoy sipping on a nice high sugar, caffeine laden latte, preferably sauced with caramel. I am very fond of the Great British Baker on Netflix, especially the Masterclass series that gives all the how to baking tips. A splash and a soak are two very different things.
Flavorful and Tender
What would I like people to say about me, to say about the life that I live? I think it would be absolutely splendid if people used the words flavorful and tender.
I can hear it in my mind…“Julie lived a flavorful life. She was filled with zest, vigor, and spunk. She had an abundant life that just drew people to her.” AND “Julie was incredibly tender. She had a soft heart, a gentle touch, and an encouraging word for those around her. She allowed people to be at ease with themselves in her presence.”
I think that would be an incredible legacy to achieve. So how does one become flavorful and tender, to have a juicy legacy?
“Soak and soak and soak continually in the one great truth of which you have had a vision; take it to bed with you, sleep with it, rise up in the morning with it, continually bring your imagination into captivity to it, and slowly and surely as months and years go by God will make you one of His specialists in that particular truth.” Oswald Chambers.
I love this quote. I carry it with me in my Bible. Soak and soak and soak continually. That sounds like marinating to me.
While this quote is good, it gives me the chills as well, especially the who part about months and years go by. We live in an instant society. Months seems like a very long time. Years is hardly fathomable. The other thing that gets me is the word “ONE”. One great truth. One of His specialists. So I can’t do it all?
Cinnamon and Pepper, Both Flavorful
I love cinnamon. I also like black pepper. Cinnamon and sugar is a really good combination of flavors. Salt and pepper are also a classic combination. Even though I like both flavors, cinnamon and black pepper, it has never crossed my mind to use them together at the same time, in the same dish.
I think it is like the flavors we carry as well. We are absolutely delicious in our own rights, and made even better in some combinations, but we are not made for all combinations at all times. That is not a bad thing. It’s a great thing. Apple pie would not be the same without cinnamon. Grilled chicken would be bland without pepper. Go ahead, be bold and rich in the flavor that you were given.
Tenderized by Acid
When you hear the word “acid” what do you think? Do you think of a liquid that is sharp, sour, bitter? Perhaps you think of a liquid that breakdowns or burns something? Many marinades are actually made with mild acids including citrus juices, wine and vinegar. The acid breaks bonds between the proteins of the meat.
In my mind, I like the idea of being a tender person. I do not, however, like the thought of going through or soaking in acidic times that are sharp, sour and bitter. But what if it is the bitter that makes us better?
This morning I pulled out my Grandfather’s Bible. I inherited it after he passed away. There is a note section in his Bible that I had previously thought was empty. This is what I saw.
It says “How can I make these times of pain and problem meaningful? Psalm 43v5 ‘Hope in God; for I shall praise him, my help and my God’ (May my faith overcome my fears)”
How can I make these times of pain and problem meaningful? How can I let the acidic times make me more tender?
Wisdom from my Grandfather, from a saint who has gone before me. Isn’t it odd that sometimes it is the questions we are asked, questions that give us pause to think, which make a greater difference than just being told what to do in a situation?
I have absolutely no idea what pain or problems my grandfather was facing when he wrote this. It could have been physical or financial or spiritual or emotional or relational or any combination of the above. Whatever the problem was, the acid that he was in, he turned to scripture.
Psalm 43:5 (NIV) “Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.”
To take the time to make a note, to write it out, to me it means this was a verse he wanted to hold onto. I do not often write down my fleeting thoughts of little consequence. I document what I want to remember, what I do not want to escape from me, what I want to soak in.
“May my faith overcome my fears” If we want to have a faith that overcomes fears, so that we may be tender and flavorful, we need to take care with what we choose to soak in. We need to give ourselves the time to marinate our faith, our minds and our hearts so that we may be transformed.
Thank You so much for the ways that You can use the acidic circumstances we live through to make us flavorful and tender. Please help us to choose to use our time to soak in that which will transform us. Help us to marinate in Your Love.
Lord, I pray for each of my readers. I ask that You would draw them near to You. May they experience more of Your character in their days. May they hold tightly to the truths that you give them for so long that it becomes a part of who they are. Help them to take captive any thoughts and feelings that are in pattern to this world so they may be transformed by the renewing of their minds marinating in that which is pure, noble and true.
In the flavorful and tender name of Jesus, amen.