In my younger years, I made homemade yeast bread the old fashion way: starting from scratch (that means no frozen bread, no prepackaged mixture or bread machine was in use). I began with basic ingredients such as flour, sugar, salt, shortening, yeast, etc. and mixed them together then set them aside to rise. This rising process takes time as the yeast in the mixture begins to release gases to make the dough rise.
Once the dough doubles in size, it is punched down with your fist during a process called “kneading”. “Kneading” means simply hitting or punching the dough. Kneading helps remove some of the gas bubbles that have been produced by the yeast and develops a protein called gluten giving the dough elasticity and causing the dough to rise properly. It is stretched to develop tenderness and is then put in a warm place to rise again before baking. Left to itself without the kneading process, the dough would become tough resulting in bread with a heavy texture and unpleasant taste.
The Christian life is much like the kneading process. When we accept Christ as our Savior, God shapes us to conform us to the image of Jesus. Much like the kneading process where the bread is punched and hit to remove the results of the yeast, God sometimes has to do the same with us in order to remove sin or unChrist-like attitudes in our life and shape us into dough that will rise to His desired heights for our lives as we are shaped into the image of His Son.
Oswald Chambers refers to the kneading process by using the word batter'd. Battered means to beat with precision, given blows so as to bruise, shatter or demolish. In his book My Utmost for His Highest, Chambers makes this statement: “God takes us out of our own ideas for our lives and we are ‘batter’d to shape and use’…”. God batters/kneads us in order to use us for His kingdom’s purpose.
Are you being bruised by circumstances? Have you been batter’d, kneaded or bruised by someone or something lately? Is there something in your life that needs to be removed: an attitude, unforgiveness, a sin? Is God kneading you for a purpose? Want to find out? Open your heart and seek His answers.
1 Corinthians 5:6-8
Your boasting is not
good. Don’t you know that a little yeast leavens the whole batch of
dough? Get rid of the old yeast, so that you may be a new unleavened
batch–as you really are. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been
sacrificed. Therefore, let us keep the Festival, not with the old bread
leavened with malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of
sincerity and truth.