Trial. Adversity. Crisis.
No matter what you call it, we’ve all been there. Or possibly you feel that you hold a Green Card to the valley of shadows.
Anyway you look at it, you are either trying to get out of there or trying to not slip back in, right?
Yet, in reality, “both the house built on the rock and the one built on the sand experience the tempest.” Maybe it would be better to just face the inevitable and understand the reason for our storms.
What better place to start with than the writing of the Apostle Peter? He was a man who Satan specifically target to “sift” and knew what it felt like to be crushed. In fact, what better illustration for the testing process than one of refining gold?
Let’s join Peter over the next four weeks for insights in just what the Father is doing as He purifies us for His purposes.
…if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold…even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor… 1 Peter 1:6-7
Okay, so faith is the key to our spiritual progress.
The question is, just how does that work?
Our Great Prospector wants to take us on a trip through the mining process. Let’s walk with Him this week and learn from His experience.
…your faith, being more precious than gold… 1 Peter 1:6-7
So how does gold get to be usable and precious?
When gold ore comes out of the ground, it does not look much like true gold. It is most usually hidden deep within the ground, mixed with common rock. It takes a trained eye to even recognize the vein of gold sectioned between the lesser ore and quartz.
Our faith is truly like gold. It does not really look like much, in the original source. Sourced from a God who often hides Himself, this gift of faith is hidden deep within our very coarse-looking bodies (Isaiah 45:15; Ephesians 2:8). Our vein of faith may be so disguised amidst impatience and gossip that it is fairly unrecognizable to the naked eye.
Yet our Creator sees the value of our land. He has streaked us with the ore of the heavenlies. Now, He wants to refine our faith into a vessel useful in His very own household (2 Timothy 2:21).
If you have believed in Him, then you have given Him the initial deed to your property. However, He can work within the shafts of your life only as you grant Him entrance. Will you walk beside the Master Miner as He excavates the pure from the dross?
Thank You for endowing me with the vein of faith. I know that I have devalued the importance that You place on this mother lode of my spirituality.
I have given You the deed. Now, I want to walk together with You to discover and extract this faith to its purest form.
I know nothing about mining, and I am a little afraid of the dark. Thank You for being the Light. Please do not walk too quickly, or I will get terribly lost. Take my hand, and let’s go.
…the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold… 1 Peter 1:7
Residing in you is a hidden lode of faith. Your Holy Prospector knows your value in Christ and desires to reveal these rich pockets. First, however, He must bring it to the surface so that it can be used.
Our faith-refinement is much like the process for gold. It begins with crushing and milling. Crushing our faith never destroys it, although it usually feels like it at the time. In fact, it is actually the opposite.
For gold, a device called a crusher is actually placed on the site of the mine to help break the gold apart from the lesser ore compounds. In early history, miners used something much like a mortar-and-pestle approach. Now, hydraulic technology has introduced two types of mobile milling that can crush the mineral into smaller bulk. The first, called a jaw crusher, is used for that initial breaking.
In our own lives, we too have our own jaw crusher onsite. It is in the form of our own sin. We may try really hard, yet we seem to fall into the same sin again and again. David knew the crushing of his own iniquity and cried out to God for deliverance.
For my iniquities are gone over my head; as a heavy burden they weigh too much for me. I am benumbed and badly crushed; I groan because of the agitation of my heart. Lord, all my desire is before You, and my sighing is not hidden from You. My heart throbs, my strength fails me, and the light of my eyes, even that has gone from me. (Psalm 38:4, 8-10)
Yes, our own sin can begin the crushing stage of refinement. However, I have found that that actually is just God’s way of leading us back to Himself.
We must first remember the difference between His voice of correction and the evil one’s voice of condemnation. God’s voice always points out specific sin, not the general lot of it. A voice that nit-picks your every action is not the voice of the Holy One. When He lives inside, He takes care of the entirety of sin. Your responsibility is just to respond in confession to the individual sin of which He reminds you.
As long as we want to perfect our own way of life rather than dissolving into His, He will lead us back to the jaw crusher. Just modifying our behavior cannot achieve perfection. Nevertheless, if we insist upon using this approach, He will allow us to keep trying. Once we realize (yet again!) that in our own strength perfection is hopeless, He will shut off jaw crusher of sin.
When I kept silent about my sin, my body wasted away through my groaning all day long. For day and night Thy hand was heavy upon me; my vitality was drained away as with the fever heat of summer. I acknowledged my sin to Thee, and my iniquity I did not hide; I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord,” and Thou didst forgive the guilt of my sin. (Psalm 32:3-5)
Do you really believe that He is bigger than your sin? His whole purpose for coming was to take away sins (1 John 3:5). Do you believe that applies to you?
Are you living like it?
Believe His promise and let Him pull the plug on sin’s jaw crusher in your life. I am praying for you.
Questions to consider: Do you really believe that He is bigger than your sin? Are you living like it?