“Do not remember the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold, I will do a new thing, now it shall spring forth; shall you not know it? I will even make a road in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.” Isaiah 43:18-19 (NKJV)
“Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:12-14 (NKJV)
THIS DEVOTION is in my upcoming book FACING ADVERSITY: THOUGHTS OF WISDOM, PRAISE AND PROMISE. Look for it December 2014.
New beginnings can be filled with joy, fear, confusion and hope. They are the catalyst by which we take our first steps in a new spiritual direction. They help in our refinement since we must trust God to guide us down unfamiliar and brand new footpaths.
Some people welcome a fresh start while others will resist it with all their strength, not wanting to leave their past behind. But how can one toss aside the past when it contributes to who we are in the present? Can people forget, completely forget, abuse and pain or the love of their life? No.
We take our wounds, memories, and sorrows into each new day. But because we serve a God who heals, our suffering becomes more endurable over time. Eventually our injuries scab over and become scars. Wounds heal but scars remain as permanent reminders of what we have overcome thanks to the grace of God.
Our Creator is continually molding us into that perfect vessel intended for service. This metamorphosis takes an entire lifetime, so we are in a constant state of transformation. As clay must yield to the Potter’s hand so must we yield our hearts to God.
The refining process causes impurities to rise. The refiner of gold or silver must keep a constant watch during the purification process lest the precious metals are destroyed due to excessive heat. If gold or silver is left in the flames for too long it will be damaged. God, who is our refiner, keeps a close watch over our refinement process. His intent is to bring our sins (dross/impurities) to the surface so that we are made stronger and more stable, for impurities make us weak.
Is there a reward for submitting to this painful process of sanctification? Yes! A greater likeness and relationship with Jesus Christ is our glorious reward. What is better than having an intimate relationship with someone who loves us beyond our imagination?
When you asked God to enter your heart, you took off your old self and exchanged it for the new one God provided. If your personal plans in life are not aligned with God’s purpose He will ask you to exchange them for His. This calls for humble obedience and a sacrificial love for the Savior.
Releasing personal plans and submitting to God’s will is a reoccurring test God gives His children. He wants continuous obedience. And since you are a new creation in Christ, loved far too much to be blemished by sinful impurities, the Savior brings them to the surface through tests and affliction. As He removes the corruption that hinders your ability to serve Him in complete righteousness, consider your old man and acknowledge how much better life is now that you are living it for Christ. Going down new paths with new beginnings is just one way He refines us and makes us whole.
CONSIDER THESE LOVING PROMISES THEN ASK GOD TO REFINE ANY SIN AREAS YOU ARE STRUGGLING WITH AT PRESENT.
“You number my wanderings; put my tears into Your bottle; are they not in Your book?“ Psalm 56:6 (NKJV)
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.“ 2 Corinthians 5:17 (NKJV)
“And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.” Revelations 21:4 (NKJV)
Malachi 3:3 says: “He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver.”
This verse puzzled some women in a Bible study and they wondered what this statement meant about the character and nature of God.
One of the women offered to find out the process of refining silver and get back to the group at their next Bible study.
That week, the woman called silversmith and made an appointment to watch him at work. She didn’t mention anything about the reason for interest beyond her curiosity about the process of refining silver. As she watched the silversmith, he held a piece of silver over the fire and let it heat up. He explained that in refining silver, one needed to hold the silver in the middle of the fire where the flames were hottest as to but away all the impurities.
The woman thought about God holding us in such a hot spot; then she thought again about the verse that says: “He sits as a refiner and purifier of silver.” She asked the silversmith if it was true that he had to sit there in front of the fire the whole time the silver was being refined.
The man answered that yes, he not only had to sit there holding the silver, but he had to keep his eyes on the silver the entire time it was in the fire. If the silver was left a moment too long in the flames, it would be destroyed.
The woman was silent for a moment. Then she asked the silversmith, “How do you know when the silver is fully refined?”
He smiled at her and answered, “Oh, that’s easy–when I see my image in it.”