Early on in our marriage, I remember attempting to serve my wife by tackling the dishes before she could notice. After my whirlwind of scrubbing and rinsing, I sat down in the other room, enjoying the rare air of doing something good while anticipating its discovery. The atmosphere of awesomeness was punctured by an urgent inquiry from the kitchen. “Did you wash the baking stone?” I could tell by the tone that this was not a question of affirmation. What I did not know, but soon learned, was this baking stone was different from most dishes. The stone was to be rinsed and cleaned off but not scrubbed with soap. This is because the stone is porous and it absorbs what it is exposed to. Instead of absorbing and maintaining the seasoning from my wife’s excellent cooking it was now going to season our next meal with dish soap. An honest mistake, but, a mistake nonetheless.
I often think about that baking stone when I consider our pursuit of sanctification. Our minds are to be like baking stones seasoned by the promises of God in the Bible. The daily exposure to the Scriptures should seep into everything we do. Throughout our days, we are to retain the flavor of who God is, what he has done, and what he has promised.
The danger, of course, is that we wash the stone of our minds. We fill our porous minds with other things and as a result, it affects how things taste and feel. If we forget who God is and what he has promised we will be left in quite a pickle when we encounter a wide range of circumstances.
Consider some examples of how we must be seasoned by the Scriptures.
You lose your job. It is natural to feel like the bottom has fallen out. But does God not promise to take care of you? He has a track record of doing this very thing. It is a trial that means to produce trust not doubt (James 1:3-5; Mt. 6:25-34).
Your teenage child rebels. From the perspective of God’s providence, we are comforted to know that even this, while a surprise to us, is not a surprise to God. Even this is something that he will use for his glory and our good (Rom. 8:28). Without God’s promises, we’d never conclude that a crooked arrow would hit the target.
Your friends turn their back on you. We are reminded that Jesus’s friends left him. And because Christ was abandoned, not only by his friends and the entire world but also by God upon the cross, that he God will not every abandon us (Heb. 13:5; Mt. 28:19-20).
You are diagnosed with a serious medical condition. Under the banner of God’s providence and stated intention of good to his people, we can be comforted that our suffering is not pointless but purposeful (2 Cor. 4:17; Rom. 8:28).
Then on the other side, some positive examples:
You get a promotion. The God who promises to care for you has done this. While it’s tempting to pat ourselves on the back it is better to take a knee and give credit where credit is due (James 1:17).
You see your child walking with Jesus. God uses means to accomplish his ends. We get the privilege of watching him work according to his Word (Eph. 2:1-10).
You experience reconciliation with a friend. God loves unity, humility, and bragging on the gospel (Eph. 4:1-2).
You experience some respite, perhaps healing from a condition. Give thanks to God who has heard your prayers and dealt kindly with you.
We must interpret our circumstances in light of God’s character—especially his promises, rather than interpreting God’s character in light of our circumstances. It is far too easy (and common) to scrub clean the seasoning of God’s Word upon our minds while replacing it with something else. Like a baking stone, our hearts and minds are porous. We must greedily guard them and regularly season them the promises of God.
Editor's note: this originally published at Erik's blog on The Gospel Coalition.