Today is Monday and I am still mulling over the implications of yesterday’s message in church. This happens a lot actually and I’ve got to say I’m feeling very convicted by what the Lord had to say to me through our Pastor yesterday. But this post isn’t actually about what is being done in me because, well, that doesn’t really matter to you, does it? It shouldn’t. The point is what is being done inside all of us as believers and whether or not we can learn to appreciate and grow within conviction or if we will justify ourselves and push back against what God is trying to do in us.
Can we prepare our hearts to be softened to His message without offense or justification? Can we feel grateful when God calls us out and humbles us, or will we continue to turn a blind eye to the ways in which we are not living up to the standard set before us?
Let’s be grateful for the churches where leadership presents unapologetic and uncompromisingly scriptural truths rather than the feel-good, watered-down, sugar-coated “gospel” that has some American churches growing in number but decaying inside. It is all only ever about Jesus and what He did for us. When we hear that God wants us to be financially comfortable and physically healthy, I have to question that. Is that how Jesus lived? Is that how Paul and the disciples lived? Why would we preach this?
The entire New Testament is preparing us for the hardship that awaits us in choosing this, yet we seem shocked and act as though God himself has betrayed us when things don’t go our way.
When we choose Christ we are choosing to deny ourselves. This isn’t automatic but a continual death to self that keeps growing as we continue to follow Christ, as we try to become more like Him. Our churches should give messages that reflect God’s sovereignty, Christ’s love and self-sacrifice, and the Holy spirit’s very real presence within us as believers.
Can we learn to be grateful for the refining process? Christianity is simple, it’s not rocket science, but it is not easy. Giving up our will, our comfort, our lives, everything we have built and surrendering it all to God is not easy. But if we truly believe that Jesus died on the cross for us then we must believe that he died for everyone. Our loved ones. Strangers. People we can’t stand. Everyone. If you have already accepted Christ then you possess a gift that is more precious than any other, a gem that is priceless. Something that the world desperately needs.
Maybe we should act like it?
So when you hear a tough message, stew in it. Reflect on or journal about why it bothers you, why exactly is this getting under your skin? More likely than not God is trying to refine some part of you. Be grateful for truth, no matter how uncomfortable it is to hear and even if it means big, burdensome changes on your part.
Be grateful that iron sharpens iron. We are to be accountable to each other as believers. Can we stop stewing in our perceived grievances and accept that God has chosen us to represent Him? With all of our imperfections and even though we are weak and insufficient, we are to be the hands and feet. We need to be there for each other and build each other up, for the greater good.
Let’s check out the word of God often. Like, all the time. So whatever you are reading in the Bible now, start reading more. Don’t be satisfied with a devotional that simply reassures us that we are doing ok, push yourself.
Our joy and our purpose in life come from God. But He may need us to go through some tough stuff before we are ready to minister. I certainly can relate to that! I can be grateful for cancer as it has been the catalyst for a whole lot of change and spiritual growth.
Can we accept that God is not up there waiting to grant our wishes or to make us happy and comfortable? The truth is He is down here with us and within us to push us past our breaking point to prove that He will be there for us after. To show that He will pick up the pieces and put us back together as something even more beautiful and usable than before. He will obliterate our comfort zones in order to show us that He really does know best and once we fully trust and surrender then we can experience a oneness with Him and a deep peace that surpasses all logic and reason.
He is our reason for being, not the other way around. We exist to please Him, not the other way around. When we embrace this, then we really start living.
The refining fire can be painful, in fact it will likely be unpleasant, but we will come out of it better than before if we let him do the work in us to prepare us to produce fruit for His glory.
That is our common goal, right?