The Dreaded Brisket Stall
If there is something more enjoyable to eat than a perfectly cooked BBQ beef brisket, I don’t know what it is. Brisket is the quintessential exemplification of the term “good things come to those who wait.” Cooking them is not for the faint at heart as errors can have you eating something that has all the tenderness and juiciness of a baseball glove.
Anyone who knows anything about cooking brisket and other large meats knows something about the dreaded brisket stall. Click the link for more information on this phenomenon but suffice it to say that a perfect brisket needs to slowly get to an internal temperature of just over 200°. Due to science, the temperature of brisket seems to stall at around 160° as evaporation of moisture from the meat cools it much the same way as sweating cools you when you are hot. This goes on until enough moisture has evaporated to allow the temperature to continue to rise to smoky, juicy perfection.
I’m afraid that far too many Christians succumb to a Christian-growth stall at some point of their lives. They may be in the figurative smoker of living the faith to the level to which they have grown but they have stalled out because nothing has happened to cause them to press further into the Gospel and Jesus. Paul writes this admonition to the church in Philippi:
Not that I have already reached the goal or am already perfect, but I make every effort to take hold of it because I also have been taken hold of by Christ Jesus. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and reaching forward to what is ahead, I pursue as my goal the prize promised by God’s heavenly call in Christ Jesus.Therefore, let all of us who are mature think this way. And if you think differently about anything, God will reveal this also to you. In any case, we should live up to whatever truth we have attained. Join in imitating me, brothers and sisters, and pay careful attention to those who live according to the example you have in us. For I have often told you, and now say again with tears, that many live as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their end is destruction; their god is their stomach; their glory is in their shame. They are focused on earthly things, but our citizenship is in heaven, and we eagerly wait for a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ. He will transform the body of our humble condition into the likeness of his glorious body,by the power that enables him to subject everything to himself.
The Texas Crutch
If we’re not careful, we stop looking for the ways that Christ would choose to grow us. This can happen due to fear, complacency, satisfaction, laziness or any number of factors. The Apostle Paul was likely far more mature than any of us yet he seemed dissatisfied with settling for where he was. He determined to forget whatever was behind him and pursue God’s heavenly call in Christ Jesus. Paul was determined not to enter into a stall.
We need to do the same as believers. We can be tempted to look at what we may have attained or where we may have come from and become satisfied. We might look at someone else who is farther down the road of faith and determine that their life and level of devotion isn’t for us. It is important that we forget about our past victories and failures when it comes to pressing forward into the lives that God has called us to. We are also admonished to imitate others who set a good example in verse 17.
Get this: the word of God seems to indicate in verse 15 above that the mature believer shouldn’t settle for a stall and even if you are in a stall, God won’t let you stay there without warning. The savvy BBQ pit master knows that there is a technique that they can use to power them through the stall called the Texas crutch. The Texas crutch is a technique whereby you wrap the brisket in foil once it reaches around 150°. This keeps moisture from evaporating and cooling the meat so the temperature can continue to rise shaving hours off the cooking time.
The Christian life is a life of growth. We’ve never arrived until we are glorified by our sweet Savior. I’m not suggesting that the Christian wrap themselves in foil. I am however suggesting that every Christian make every effort to wrap themselves in prayer, worship, scripture, and accountability to be sure that they haven’t stalled in their growth. Our sanctification is a slow process that will conclude in Christ’s perfection. Never stop pursuing!
Herbert is a believer in Jesus Christ who is overwhelmed by the riches of the Gospel, the husband of April and the father of Cadence, Imani and Angel. He also serves as the worship pastor for the great Wallace Memorial Baptist Church in Knoxville, Tennessee. He has been serving in full time ministry for more than five years and was a public school music educator for twelve years prior to that. He loves deep philosophical conversation, barbecue and golf even though he stinks at it.