It is no comfort to know that everyone goes through trials (1 Cor 10:13; 1 Peter 5:8-9) unless you see that those trials melt us together to become one golden masterpiece. I love those who have melted in him, with me. The fellowship of his sufferings bring us together as Jesus prayed, “that they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.” (John 17:21-23).
You will be at your very worst and very best in trial. But when the futility of my own works is clearly seen I begin to feel after these trials as Job, “my soul chooseth strangling, and death rather than my life.” (Job 7:15KJV). I have grown weary with the ineffectiveness of my ministry. But I realize that God is doing a very deep work of humiliation and holiness in me. I hate these times. I do repent that I have despised the chastening of the Lord because if I despise it I deem him unjust and He is not. It is just everything is fire, smoke and I can hardly breathe.
I realize that the three Hebrew boys thrown into the furnace came out with no smoke, but they did have a flavor in them that they did not before. I cough, gasp, struggle for breath and cry for help. I am like a burning piece of wood, when will I be plucked from the flames (Amos 4:11)? All my pride is worthless, my heart naked, the varnish of my reputation stripped. All I hear and feel is a spiritual burning! My soul, mind and body melt in the crucible of God!
My soul is in prison and one can deliver me from his hands (Psalm 142:7). I am incarcerated, sentenced to these flames-he pours the liquor of heaven on me and set me afire so that somehow the taste of the brazen altar and its savor is in me! No one can remove me from this inferno, this purgatory! He looks the other way as I give my prayer performance in order to cause a diversion in his heart from being in this fire!
He has no regard to my Bible reading in hopes, reminding him of his promises and profession of faith in order to escape. I must go through the molten sanctification. The time has come that, “I must think of my sufferings as a weaning from that old sinful habit of always expecting to get my own way. Then I’ll be able to live out my days free to pursue what God wants instead of being tyrannized by what I want.” (1 Peter 4:1-2 MSG).
“Even from eternity I am He, and there is none who can deliver out of My hand; I act and who can reverse it?” (Isaiah 43:13NASB). All the prayers of my friends leave me untouched, I am invulnerable to my enemies I am in the fearful place, in the hands of the Sovereign God-the all consuming fire. He has swallowed me up in the belly of his fire, to separate the useless things from me. The thing I cannot use, should not use and will not use. Because they are burned! Useless, worthless, there is so much in me that desecrates the temple, defiling pollution!
Before I am transfigured it seems I must be disfigured. Or have I always been disfigured? All the comeliness, the perfect beauty God bestows upon me (Ezekiel 16:14) is removed. “For my comeliness was turned in me into corruption, and I retained no strength.” (Daniel 10:8). It is a deathly pallor, or a face pale with death to self weakness, cowardice! There is only burning instead of beauty (Isaiah 3:24).
God is not an irresponsible parent. He beats me with his rod to deliver my soul from hell (Prov 23:14). Obedience is for my spiritual health and operating in wisdom to his intention and design in creating us and all around us we must use those things in the context he gave. If God sees an area in my life that refuses to respond in obedience and there are many he will resort to other measures that will cause “a quiet harvest of right living for those who are trained in this way.” (Heb. 12:11NLT).
God will not fight for me (Psalm 44:9) while he is fighting with me (Acts 5:39)! I try to fight him but he has beaten my resolve, my ability to fight as he turns my swords in to shovels, my spears into hoes-gardening tools (Isaiah 2:4). He uses that fight in me against me to accomplish his work of husbandry and farming! My life pours out of me like blood that he holds in his hands and absorbs like a cup. I am like a sacrifice, a burnt offering on his burning altar (Rom. 12:1). Flesh and blood cannot inherit his kingdom! My flesh, my blood cannot do what his spirit and life can do! (John 6:63).
He does the deliberate work of sanctification exterminating the compound uselessness from my soul and unscrambling the useless wasteful abilities of my life-the ore of my life; refining, producing purity a nearly uncontaminated and a state suitable for his use. My filth pours out of me by this spirit of judgment and burning (Isaiah 4:4).
I cannot stand it any longer. “But who can endure the day of His coming and who can stand when He appears? For, He is like a refiner’s fire and like launderers’ soap. He will sit as a refiner and a purifier of silver; He will purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer to the LORD an offering in righteousness.” (Malachi 3:2-3NKJV). Don’t sing to me of this fire! There is nothing quixotic or romantic about it! “The crucible is for silver, and the furnace is for gold, and the LORD tests hearts.” (Prov. 17:3).
The crucible is not just the furnace-but the bottom of the furnace! It is why he must lift me up out of the scum and excrement of self will, rebellion for it is ugly and vile. It is the only way I can have hope of being a vessel useful for God. It is all dross. That archaic word means Take away the dross from the silver, and there shall come forth a vessel for the finer. (Prov 25:4KJV). In another version it says, “Remove impurities from the silver and the silversmith can craft a fine chalice.” (Prov 25:4). A chalice, an extraordinary vessel in my Lord’s eyes, a cup of communion! Oh I long to be lifted to the Lord’s lips as such! He communed with his Father and I was a horrible prospect (Rev 17:4). In a state where I desire not purity and embrace this fire he would rightly says over and over again, “Father let this cup pass from me!” (Mk 14: 36-39). But instead the Crucified one drinks from this weary cup as part of his Father’s will, the wrath of God against sinners, for my sake and drains it of all its impurity for he himself took on my diseased nature, sin sick nature and gave me his righteousness (Isaiah 53:4-5).
Now let him lift me to his lips as a chalice-a cup that the glorified Christ would drink from! He took the cup and if not mans eyes! Don’t preach to me theology about me difference between salvation and sanctification because if I am not cleansed eventually I would be lost-if I am his, really his I will bear fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life.” (Romans 6:22). Do not interfere with my beloved and I (Song 2:7; 8:4)
I must be holy in all I am and do! A life energetic and blazing with holiness! (1 Peter 1:15). He must make me holy even if he must teach me to resist sin with the surrender of my own life (Heb 12:4). To live is Christ to die is gain (Phil 1:21)! I cannot love my life, family, friends and dreams more than him or I will lose my life to sin and self’s destructive grasp (Mt 10:39)!
I know of his grace of his imputed righteousness but forgiveness is not enough I must find my fulfillment in doing the will of God, after that I have done the will of God I might receive the promise (Heb 10:36). Oh God strengthen me complete and perfect me and make me what I ought to be and equip me with everything good that I may carry out Your will while You Yourself work in me and accomplishes that which is pleasing in Your sight, through Jesus Christ! (Heb 13:21).
I can only rest in the Crucified One and somehow believe that, “My beloved is mine, and I am his” (Song 2:6). It is amazing. After a long study on the Song of Solomon and in the first chapter the Shulamite says, “I am weathered but still elegant, oh, dear sisters in Jerusalem, Weather–darkened like Kedar desert tents, time-softened like Solomon’s Temple hangings.” (Song 1:5MESSAGE).
Weathered- that is it! Weather beaten is more like it. How the trials of life can make us elegant is hard to comprehend. I feel ugly and useless. God erodes all our substances and our beauty (what we think is our beauty or righteousness) and softens us. It is when your heart is bruised, sore when you feel the stitches-God attempts to heal us after these spiritual surgeries. But like anything you have to be careful in your movements, if you do not rest or let it heal it bleeds all over again.
If you find another way than by all means take it, though it I say that with much reservation. We all have a love hate relationship with the pressures of life and the squeezing of GOD’s hand to bring forth the juice of the fruit of the Spirit in us. When Paul visited Lystra, Iconium and Antioch he was “putting muscle and sinew in the lives of the disciples, urging them to stick with what they had begun to believe and not quit, making it clear to them that it wouldn’t be easy: “Anyone signing up for the kingdom of God has to go through plenty of hard times.” (Acts 14:22Message).