Weather report from heaven: Sunny and bright with an abundance of light, and lots of singing and rejoicing.
Scripture- “For you, God, tested us; you refined us like silver.”- Psalm 66:10
“See, I have refined you, though not as silver; I have tested you in the furnace of affliction.”- Isaiah 48:10
“These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.”- 1 Peter 1:7
Insight: As we continue our series on Understanding The Times, today let’s consider in more detail the great hope we have as Christians because of the sufficiency, strength and power of Jesus Christ and the eternal nature of God’s Kingdom. Today’s verses focus on a Biblical Truth that from God’s perspective, we need to be refined until we become more like Christ Jesus. That means there is a lot of junk in our life that needs to be removed, and a lot of our character that needs to be refined, sometimes even through the tough tests that take us through the “furnace of affliction,” as Isaiah 48:10 says above. These are usually not fun tests, but they are very much meant to make us grow in becoming more like Christ, who was the most Humble Servant who ever lived.
I like to use an analogy I heard when thinking about how it is even possible for us to become more like Christ, when we are so broken and full of sin in our humanness. We know it can’t come from our own efforts, and thus the amazing work of grace is required as Ephesians 2:8-9 points out. The analogy I like is one of Michelangelo who was once asked to describe how he had created the statue of David out of a piece of marble. His response was enlightening. He simply said “I saw David trapped in the marble, and I had to chip away at the marble until I could see him, and let him out.” I think that is how God sees us, trapped in our sin and wandering on the earth, and He needs to use whatever tools necessary to refine us so we become more like Christ. For He knows when we are more like Christ, then we will be truly free. Galatians 5:1 says it this way “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.” Sin is slavery. God knows how, why and for what He created us to accomplish. He knows that we need to have all of our rough edges and sin chipped away at until we can become more like the person He wants us to be. Then when He sees us, we will be more like Jesus, and people will see Jesus in us. Refinement is never easy, but it is necessary. God is looking at us like Michelangelo looked at David stuck in the marble, and saying I need to do the work that will truly set them free.
Prayer: Father God, thank You that You love us enough that You want to refine us to become more like Jesus, free from the sin and shame that encumbers us and hinders us from being who You made us to be. We acknowledge that Your ways are perfect, even when we don’t fully understand them. Amen!