“being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ;” Phil. 1;16
“In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ,” 1 Peter 1:6-7
“Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you; but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy.” 1 Peter four:12-13
If there’s one thing the human flesh tends to despise, it’s discomfort. A whole lot of discomfort, and it’s not uncommon for us to want to get the heck out of wherever we are as quickly as possible to get rid of the discomfort, right? But if there’s one thing I’ve learned over the years about when the Lord takes us through a refining fire, it’s this. We need to stay in the fire as long as He desires until He has fulfilled His purpose for us there. No matter the discomfort of being in the refining fire. Let me give you an example.
Years ago, I begged the Lord to change my circumstances because I felt indescribably overwhelmed, uncomfortable, exhausted, discouraged, and like I simply wouldn’t make it if I continued forth with my life’s circumstances the way they were. His Spirit spoke to my heart that He wouldn’t change my circumstances because He was using my circumstances to change my heart. In retrospect, I see now, He was refining me!
Years later now, I find myself in similar circumstances. Hard and uncomfortable ones. This time, the Spirit of God spoke to my heart He has me in a refining fire to grow me in His image, to perfect His love in me, to purify me to a degree I have not yet reached, and to bring to pass the plan He has had all along. And that I need to trust Him even though I only know part of His plan in this.
We have a choice when the Lord has us in a refining fire, don’t we? We can yield ourselves utterly to Him, trust Him to bring His plan and purpose to pass, and let His Spirit lead us through the fire and remind us He is there with us in the midst of it. Or, we can willfully and rebelliously jump out of the fire and run off and orchestrate our lives according to our own self-centered, sinful will and miss what God intended in the fire. And pay the consequences of our rebellion!
Sometimes our hard circumstances are consequences of our sin, and we simply need to humble ourselves and repent before God and let Him lead us where He wants us. But other times, we face challenging circumstances simply because the Lord is using them to take us through a refining fire to further conform us to the image of the Lord Jesus Christ.
If the Lord has you in a refining fire right now, stay in the fire and yield yourself wholly to God almighty so His Spirit can continue conforming you to the image of the Lord Jesus Christ!