“Take away the dross from the silver, and there shall come forth a vessel for the finer.” ~Proverbs 25:4
It is so easy to get discouraged in my walk with the Lord because I tend to look at all the impurities that are still in me. The ways that I fall (yet again), yield to temptation or fail to be a witness or testimony when I have the opportunity to do so. I get to the point where I feel like I am not growing in my relationship with the Lord and feel stuck.
God knows exactly how I feel though, and there are also times like this morning when I read a verse, and it jumps off the page and hits me square in the face.
Silver is beautiful, even impure silver is beautiful, and as the dross and imperfections are gradually worked out, it becomes even more beautiful and shines of its crafter’s loving touch and wise workmanship.
Focusing on the dross and impurities of my life while God is still working on me is like someone who has no idea of a craft criticizing a crafter long before His work is finished. There is a reason He commands us to “(forget) those things which are behind and (reach) forth unto those things which are before,” (Philippians 3:13). The longer I focus on the impurities and failings of my life, the harder I make it for myself to look forward to the finished work I know God will accomplish in my life.
If I were instead to look at the finished product God promises to make me through His word, I would then be able to see the beauty of today, even among its dross and impurities, and live a life of hope and joyful anticipation of the completed work to come.
“And Pharaoh said, Who is the Lord, that I should obey his voice to let Israel go? I know not the Lord, Neither will I let Israel go.” ~Exodus 5:2
“And Moses said unto God, Who am I, that I should go unto Pharoh, and that I should bring forth the children of Israel out of Egypt?” ~Exodus 3:11
There are so many times in life where someone may have known the answers, known what they should do or the way things ought to be, but couldn’t “get it” because they didn’t REALLY know. One can be told something over and over again, so they “know” it, but when God tells them, they know it. And when God starts working in and through that knowledge, they start to KNOW it!
So many times sharing what is being learned helps one to process the information even better, so you’re helping by allowing them to share!
So just because someone may write an amazing blog post, article or thought, it doesn’t mean that they are fully spiritually mature or have fully learned that lesson and have it fully under control, just that the Lord is showing them, teaching them and growing them in that knowledge.
“For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.” -Romans 12:3
Pride is a natural thing. I don’t have to put forth any effort to become immersed in pride of some form or another. It is so easy to esteem myself overmuch and become vain or arrogant in any of the areas of my life.
When I looked at what it meant to “think soberly,” I was interested to find that this form of thinking is an action, an exercising of the mind to be of sound mind and moderate in all things. It takes effort, a conscious decision to be of sound mind and settled in Christ.
Why does it matter so much that I not think highly of myself? Because there is absolutely no reason to! God has given the measure of faith to each and every one of us. (THE measure, meaning there is no difference in what He gives each and every one of us!)
It is like a piano teacher teaching the same lesson to ten children. What they do with the lesson will determine the outcome of their progress and knowledge in piano, but EVERY one of them was given the capability to increase in their knowledge and skill of the piano. The depth of increase may vary, but there can always be increase. God has given to every one of us the measure of faith, and it is what we do with it that determines the outcome of that faith in our lives.
We have no reason to boast, because everyone is capable of increase of knowledge and skill in faith, no matter where they currently are in their lives.
“And be ye not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” – Romans 12:2
As a lizard becomes a part of the scenery around him, blending in color and texture, he becomes an insignificant and indiscernible part of the world he is in. As we conform to the world in actions and appearance, there is nothing that sets us apart from the world we are in.
But as a butterfly is transformed from a caterpillar to a beautiful winged creature, it is completely changed from the inside out, shining forth in the brilliance and splendor of its Creator, catching the eyes and attention of those who see it and the unexplainable beauty brought by the transformation. Even so will our lives stand forth declaring the change brought forth by our Father and Creator as we allow His Word and Holy Spirit to transform us into the beautiful, set apart creature He wills us to be.
With renewing our minds comes a complete renovation of who we are and were to who God leads us to be. The old, worldly and fleshly that constructs who we are is changed out for the new, righteous and godly, made possible only by the grace and through the power of God and His Word.
Do I want to be conformed, or transformed?
“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.” – Romans 12:1
A Living Sacrifice is not a special calling on certain people, but a fully rational and logical means by to worship God in our daily lives.
Being a Living Sacrifice means two things.
1) It is alive while going through the smoke and flames of sacrifice, and
2) It is an ongoing process “ending” only when there is no longer life in the body.
There is great effort in sacrifice; pain, fear, and even struggling! But that is a part of what brings it to fully surrendering to the flames of sacrifice, making it pure and consecrated in God’s eyes.
A Living Sacrifice feels the pain of going through the fire, but is at that point most holy and acceptable to God.