Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Testing 1...2...3...

1Peter 4:12 Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. 13 But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed. 14 If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you. 15 If you suffer, it should not be as a murderer or thief or any other kind of criminal, or even as a meddler. 16 However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name. 17 For it is time for judgment to begin with God’s household; and if it begins with us, what will the outcome be for those who do not obey the gospel of God? 18 And,

“If it is hard for the righteous to be saved,
what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?”a]">[a]

19 So then, those who suffer according to God’s will should commit themselves to their faithful Creator and continue to do good.


Psalm 66:10 For you, God, tested us;
you refined us like silver.
11 You brought us into prison
and laid burdens on our backs.
12 You let people ride over our heads;
we went through fire and water,
but you brought us to a place of abundance.

So many times I curse my problems. I'll walk a mile around something if I think it will avoid a confrontation. When the Lord calls me to the test I'm usually hiding like Saul among the stuff. Often we view opposition or hardship as a fight against the Devil and sometimes it is. However there are also two other things to consider.

1. Your hardship may be chastisement from God for a previous sin or sin in your life right now.

Hebrews 12: 7 Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. For what children are not disciplined by their father? 8 If you are not disciplined—and everyone undergoes discipline—then you are not legitimate, not true sons and daughters at all. 9 Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of spirits and live! 10 They disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share in his holiness. 11 No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.

I know that I can tell my boys not to do something a billion times. I can make them go to their rooms and threaten them with a spanking but it never works. There they are back doing what I told them not to do. It's not until I get serious and get the paddle and administer loving discipline that they decide that maybe listening would be better. God is the same way. And much like parents, God's discipline never really comes close to the sin we've committed. I thank God because I would be dead from his discipline if so. What I really wanted to talk about in this post is the second thing though.

2. Your hardship may be a trial to see how pure you are. The Bible talks about God refining us as silver is refined. Putting the fire to us. Silver has to be heated to 1200 degrees to start the refining process. It must be melted from it's rigid state and the impurities removed. We've developed a few ways to refine silver, but refining by fire is still considered the purest way. Consider:

Isaiah 1:25 I will turn my hand against you;b]">[b]
I will thoroughly purge away your dross
and remove all your impurities.

Now this is where it gets tricky. Imagine that Silver costs $464 a pound. A 100 ounce bar would weigh 6.25 pounds and cost right at $2900. That's a normal silver bar that is the most common to sell. Now let's imagine that we're a silver trader and we see people every day come in and buy silver and they have no idea what they're doing. One day you decide to take a drill and take 1lb out of the bar and replace it with lead. Well, lead is like $2 a pound so you've just made $462 by lying and cheating the buyer. But it never ends with a little. Once you see that you can get away with 1lb you'll move up to 2. Then before you know it you're selling 6 pounds of junk and silver plating it with the .25lb of silver. So you have about $120 in a bar you've sold for $2900.

This is what we do with our lives. We start off pure children though born into it, not knowing sin and from there start cheating God. Now God isn't an unsuspecting buyer though. Even back when God was squashing people like ants they still tried and tried to get one over on him. So what does God do? He adds a little heat which melts the silver plate and reveals the deception underneath. What does God want? He wants us sold out to him completely. Jesus wants the best bride. He doesn't want a cheap Vegas hooker as a bride. So he adds heat which if we react right will provide purer silver in return. This is why Peter says we should rejoice in this type of testing. Why rejoice? Because God has seen you fit to even try to refine and test. When God says he will purge away our dross what he means is that he will remove those impurities. Dross is what usually floats to the top when you melt a metal. It may be Tin or lead or some other impurity, but in the end it gets removed and thrown out. Though I run from tests and really find no revelry in being tested, I love the idea of being made purer for Jesus.

I read something yesterday that I really loved...

John 14:16-17 (NAS) "And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not behold Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you, and will be in you."

With this commentary:
"The eternal purpose of the Holy Spirit is to bring us home to Jesus Christ as His eternal, spotless, bride."

"The Holy Ghost does not come to entertain, to provide signs and wonders and miracles just to thrill us or make us feel good. No, every one of His workings has this divine purpose: 'I'm preparing a bride.'

"The work, ministry and mission of the Holy Spirit is singular: It is to wean us from this world... to create a longing in us for Jesus's soon appearance... to convict us of everything that would blemish us... to turn our eyes away from everything but Jesus... to adorn us with the ornaments of a passionate desire to be with Him as His bride!

"The Holy Spirit must grieve as He beholds pastors and evangelists today turning His ministry into a circus. The Spirit cannot bear the manipulations and fleshly showmanship, all done in His name! I couldn't begin to explain to you some of the recent gimmicks I've heard about that are used to try to create a sense of His presence. How grievous that must be to God's heart.

"If the Holy Spirit is at work in a church, then every song, every word of praise, every note of every instrument are all given unction by the Spirit to exalt Christ. The Spirit is doing what He has been called to do--presenting us to our Bridegroom in all His glory and majesty.

"In every healing, prophecy and manifestation of God's glory in His house, the Holy Spirit is at work, saying to us, 'This is the love of your espoused--this is what He is like. Isn't He wonderful? Isn't He kind, gentle, considerate, merciful? Yet you're seeing only a glimpse of Him to whom I lead you!'"

I so love the thought that here is the Holy Spirit coming into our lives to remove the impurities. To continually put us to the test so that we can see our dross and get rid of it. I never want to be away from the testing or God's discipline ever. I appreciate God's love and am flattered that he would spend enough time to even consider me for his Son's bride. Just give that a little time to sink in. One day we will be there with Jesus dressed in white raiment. Thoroughly purged and tested. Pure and clean from his washing of our sins with his blood. It's this that Paul and Peter tell us to take joy in. So maybe I should print this out and keep it for times of testing then I can look upon this instead of the test and hardship. So when we're going through a test we should focus our eyes on our bride to be and let him know that we're preparing ourselves for him. What an awesome God we serve!

1 comment:

  1. I think that the idea of us being tested and tried scares people. Not of the test, but of failure.

    So people bury their head in the sand and pretend that every day, hour, minute, and second we are not being examined by our Lord.

    2 Chron 16:9 For the eyes of the LORD range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him. ..."

    He is always looking, watching, seeing to whom He can strengthen for the same battles Doc was talking about!!