Developing a heart for Jesus is a lot like baking bread. If you add the right ingredients and take some intentional steps, out of the oven will come a delicious, mouth-watering loaf of bread. Can you imagine it now? Warm, soft, artisan sourdough fresh out of the oven, the steam from it warming your face as your ears hear the crunch of the crust breaking under the knife.
Quick! Somebody get the butter!
Now that you’re hungry, grab yourself a snack. We’re going to review the steps in the bread-making process and discuss how it connects to cultivating a heart for Jesus.
4 Steps to Developing a Heart for Jesus
Here are 4 steps in the recipe for developing a heart for Jesus…
– Mix the Right Ingredients (Apply the Word of God)
The first step when developing a heart for Jesus is mixing all the right ingredients together. In the art of making bread, if you don’t have at least flour, salt, yeast, and water, you don’t have…um…well…bread! These ingredients are everything! It’s the substance of bread and what holds everything together.
I liken these ingredients to the Word of God.
At the core of developing a heart for Jesus is the Word of God. Without the Bible, you simply won’t bake the heart for Jesus you’re hoping for. Trying to develop a heart for Jesus without the Bible is like trying to bake bread without the essential ingredients. It simply doesn’t work.
As you reflect on your own heart for Jesus, is the Word of God present in your relationship with Him?
– Beat the Dough (Embrace Suffering)
The second step when developing a heart for Jesus is beating the dough. Whether it’s by using a stand mixer or beating the dough by hand, this step is essential to build up the gluten and strengthen the bread. Take a look at a piece of bread the next time you see one, and you’ll find all kinds of little holes in the slice. Those holes are formed in part by the strength of the bread developed in the beating it takes. In fact, if you try to bake the bread without beating the dough, the bread will fall flat and lose its appealing shape and size.
I liken this step in the bread-making process to suffering.
Suffering is a vital part of developing a heart for Jesus. Unfortunately, suffering is sometimes skimmed over in the West. But Jesus clearly identified suffering as a part of the process of developing a heart for him. The book of James says that suffering is essential to strengthen us and make us who we are in Christ. Although suffering is painful in the moment, it will produce an eternal glory greater than anything we can imagine.
As you reflect on your own heart for Jesus, do you embrace Christian suffering and let it shape you, or do you try to avoid suffering at all costs?
– Give It Time (Spend Time with Jesus)
The third step in developing a heart for Jesus is time. After mixing the ingredients and beating the dough, a careful baker gives the dough time to rise. Although the hands-on prep of this bread-making process is done, something profound happens as the dough rests. With the addition of time, the carbon dioxide from the yeast builds up in the dough, giving it flavor and helping ensure it’s baked all the way through.
I liken this step in the bread-making process to, well…time!
Time spent with Jesus will unsurprisingly help one cultivate a heart for Him. This is the most simple yet most profound part of developing a heart for Jesus. There isn’t a secret to this other than simply scheduling it in your calendar, fiercely protecting this time, and then sitting with Jesus.
As you reflect on your own heart for Jesus, do you take the time to schedule dates with Jesus and sit at his feet, or does your schedule squeeze Him out of your day?
– Apply Heat (Step Out of Your Comfort Zone)
The final step in developing a heart for Jesus is heat. After this whole process, the bread is put into the oven, and the addition of heat solidifies the ingredients into the bread people love and enjoy. Without heat and without the dough’s exposure to that heat, it won’t become the finished product.
I liken the step of heat to a Christian stepping out of their comfort zone.
Christians who step out of their comfort zone and step into the heat of evangelism, discipleship, and the act of loving the unloved develop into who God made them to be. Stepping out of one’s comfort zone into a new oven (environment) causes one to develop a heart for Jesus and depend on him, all while getting the work of a Kingdom Laborer done.
As you reflect on your own heart for Jesus, do you intentionally challenge yourself to step out of your comfort zone, or do you cling to safety and familiarity?
Start Baking and Develop a Heart on Fire for Jesus!
The bread-making process of combining the ingredients, beating the dough, letting it rise, and baking it are all essential to producing a delightful loaf of fresh baked bread. And much like making bread, reading the Word of God, suffering for God, spending time with God, and stepping into a new environment with God all help us develop a heart for Jesus.
As you look at your own life, is there any part of this process that seems to be absent? Take a moment to reflect and ask God what parts of this process seem to be missing. After you do this, challenge yourself to…
- Read the Word of God
- Embrace suffering
- Spend more time with God
- Step out of your comfort zone
Imagine the delicious bread that will develop and how you might be able to bless others once you have and actively keep your heart on fire!