I realize some of my socially conservative readers may not fully agree with the topic of this post, but I encourage you to read on. Beer brewing provides a metaphor for how spiritual formation, or following Jesus, gets sidetracked so easily, often without our knowledge. Enjoy the message even as you avoid the brew. For those who make home brew, you’ll quickly get the point! For those who imbibe but don’t brew, you’ll like it too!
Grain and malted barley
hops and yeast
cooked and cooled and left to ferment
to transform themselves
into a fine red ale
Specific gravity reveals the stage to come next
bottled and left to age
the bottle chilled
the cap popped off
tipped and sipped
and just as quickly spat out
Bacteria hidden in the siphon
spread its poison to the brew
and the promise of red ale
faded into skunky waste
Flush me clean
This batch of beer my son-in-law and I made was bad. Undrinkable. We’d put a lot of time into it, only to see it wasted. Who bore the blame? The bacteria hiding in the siphon?
Not at all. Oh, we washed it and rinsed it and air dried it. But not thoroughly enough. Just enough bacteria remained to ruin the brew.
What a frightening metaphor for the spiritual life. If we don’t regularly and thoroughly examine our lives, and clean them fully, we likely will experience some bad results at some point in the future. My current life verse says, “Test everything. Hold on to the good. Avoid every kind of evil” (1 Thessalonians 5:21).
Three absolutes. Test everything—to effectively follow, we need to explore the spiritual consequences of each facet of our lives. That will allow us to not only recognize but retain the good, and avoid every form of evil.
I learned this lesson early on, but I wish it had been once, fully and for all time. However, I’m not that wise, and stubbornness dwells deep in me. No, let’s be honest, that stubbornness is a spiritual matter, how I keep weaknesses that I sometimes cherish too much. So, my neglect has ruined more than one batch of spiritual brew.
Yeah, I’m thinking of a couple of personal issues right now. Issues that need to be addressed more rigorously, before they ruin some batches.
Kick Starting the Application
Do some issues come to mind where you need flushing? How deeply imbedded are they in your history? What damages have you experienced already from not avoiding all forms of evil? What’s the best next step in dealing with one of them?
By the way, “more prayer” alone seldom works. More intimacy with God helps, as does transparency and accountability with a trusted friend.