I don’t know about you, but the very idea of being refined doesn’t exactly appeal to me. In most instances, refining processes require something to be pressed until the insides drip out or heated at such a high degree that the impurities have no choice but to jump ship. In my mind, these processes imply two things: pain and discomfort. I am not about that life, y’all.
Give me all the lazy Saturdays, an hour’s worth of hitting the snooze button, and double desserts. Please and thank you. When left to my own whims, I’m prone to indulgence and complacency.
Recently I started working out, and to be honest, I hate it. I dream of being the type of human that actually enjoys running until I can barely breathe and squatting until my legs feel like jell-o, but alas, I am not. (See my list of preferences above- none of which include sweating on purpose.)
So why have I begun this trek into the wilds of physical transformation? Glad you asked. It started with an ordinary day with my kids. You see, I have two small boys, and they are constantly moving. Con. stant. ly. And I love that about them. They are wild and curious and full of life. On this particular day, instead of celebrating their adventurous spirits, I found myself wishing it away. Just for the day, or even for just a few brief hours so I could rest because I was physically tired and didn’t want to put forth the effort to keep up. Mind you, I’m a full-time working mama, so I extended myself the grace to not have the energy because my life is a whirlwind of deadlines, meetings, grocery shopping, nose wiping, shoe finding, and care giving, and one human can only do so much. Am I right?
In those moments, wishing my boys would be just a little less themselves, I realized that I was not able to fully enjoy the precious time I had with them because my body was exhausted. I couldn’t fully be the mom I was created to be- the one those boys need- because I wasn’t willing to be inconvenienced and made uncomfortable for the sake of the health of my physical body.
How often do we do that in the spiritual? We get comfortable and a little bit lazy, because (let’s be honest), it’s easier that way. The path of least resistance allows us to celebrate our own ways and our own thoughts, ignoring the fact that His ways and thoughts are higher and that we have been called to a higher standard- not to mention the fact that we simply cannot live to our fullest potential in Christ without participating in a refining process.
We simply cannot live to our fullest potential in Christ without participating in a refining process.
Submission to a transformative work requires us to bend and burn and see ourselves through the uncompromising lens of holiness. Make no mistake, my friend. The moment you submitted your life to Jesus, spiritually speaking you became the very righteousness of Christ. Your life is hidden in Jesus, and you are now legally blameless in the sight of God. That’s called imputed righteousness. It’s instantaneous. It gives us immediate access to the presence of God. But here’s the thing: when you spend time in His presence, it changes you. That’s called sanctification. It’s an ongoing process, a refining if you will, that burns away our nature and leaves us looking more and more like Christ. This refining, if we so choose to submit, leads us into a better way- a way of freedom, power, and fullness of life.
Are you willing to take that journey? I can’t promise it will be easy, but I can promise that it will be entirely worth it.
[Sanctification] is an ongoing process, a refining if you will, that burns away our nature and leaves us looking more and more like Christ.
Let's Talk About It
1. Today you can take your first step into transformation, and the motivation for that step is a steadfast belief that God is good.
If we don’t believe that He only has good intentions for us, submitting to a process that doesn’t feel pleasant won’t be our go-to response.
Let’s start there- reminding ourselves of just how good He is. Let’s read Psalm 23 together. Ask Holy Spirit to highlight a portion of it to your heart. Did any phrase or verse stand out or help you see God’s heart for you more clearly? I love the way Psalm 23 ends- with a picture of His goodness relentlessly pursuing us. This is what we must recall when we’re in the midst of the refining process.
2. Hebrews 12:10-11 says, “For our earthly fathers disciplined us for a few years, doing the best they knew how. But God’s discipline is always good for us, so that we might share in His holiness. No discipline is enjoyable while it is happening- it’s painful! But afterward there will be a peaceful harvest of right living for those who are trained in this way.”
According to this verse, God has invited us to share in His holiness by way of discipline. What is the Lord bringing to the surface to refine in your life?
3."I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed. For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God." Romans 8:18-21
According to this passage in Romans 8, what is the Lord’s end goal for us as children of God? In light of His heart for us, begin to ask the Lord what parts of you He would like to refine in this season- knowing that freedom is the Father’s heart for us.
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