Just because we are Christians, definitely doesn't mean we are perfect or have no sin in our lives. We are in and always will be in constant refinement to become more and more like Christ. We have to accept that refinement offered because it is for our good so that we can be molded to be more in His image!
"And I will put this third into the fire, and refine them as one refines silver, and test them as gold is tested. They will call upon my name, and I will answer them. I will say, ‘They are my people’; and they will say, ‘The Lord is my God.’” Zechariah 13:9
"o that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ."
1 Peter 1:7
"Behold, I have refined you, but not as silver I have tried you in the furnace of affliction." Isaiah 48:10
And my favorite,
"And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you." 1 Peter 5:10
I am starting to understand that believers of Christ may even experience more trials and struggles at times. The saying that church is full of hypocrites, it sure is, because ALL have sinned and fall short.
"for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God," Romans 3:23
Did you catch that small word, ALL?! No limits there. Doesn't say only Christians or only short people or only beautiful or whatever, ALL! So Christians are not exempt by any means.
Something else I've learned is that refinement also comes in the way of being sifted by Satan.
“Simon, Simon, behold, Satan demanded to have you, that he might sift you like wheat, but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.” Luke 22:31-32
I know I was being sifted by Satan through these years. Satan was desiring me to be separated from God's goodness or blessings and His ways. Satan wanted me to live beaten down and to stay quite about God and the opportunities I had to glorify Him. I was so consumed with fear my eyes were off my Lord. I never said anything or told people about God and how He was working in my life. My fear was holding me back. I didn't want to draw attention to myself and in that I never drew attention to Jesus either. I was living in fear of what people might think of me so I would sit quietly. I wasn't allowing my boast to be in Christ and what He is doing to change my life.
Satan is going to constantly try to keep our hearts and minds off God. He will use any way, any situation, any lie, anything, anything, anything, so that God doesn't receive the glory He is worthy of! Satan used that on me, I see that now. It kept me quite for many years, but I have broken free! Sure he'll try again in the future and pretty sure it will be sooner then later.
I LOVE Chris Tomlin! He is one of my favorite artist, right after you Overflow!
Chris's song "Whom Shall I Fear" is awesome! This particular part of the lyrics is perfect!
"You crush the enemy
Underneath my feet
You are my sword and shield
Though troubles linger still
Whom shall I fear
I know who goes before me
I know who stands behind
The God of angel armies
Is always by my side"
I know who goes before me and who stands behind, God of Angel Armies always by my side! Woohoo!
Keep your chin up christian soldier! :) Jesus is praying directly for you and me.
"but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail" Luke 22:32
We can come to Christ just as we are, filthy, broken, crazy, whatever; we can have confidence that He loves us so much to not leave us as we are. He continues to refine and allow that sifting, so that through the process and after it's done we can give Him ALL the glory for what He is creating us to be for Him.
Praise be to God and to God be the glory!