Today I am struggling. There are so many distractions and temptations in my heart that I feel like I’ve been plunged deep into the ocean. I feel weighed down and alone. Have you ever felt that way? All morning I have been battling these thoughts that I know are not from the Lord. I have been praying for those that hate and despise me. I have been fighting against negative thoughts, attempting to bring my mind under control. I want to live Philippians 4:8 in my life every moment, but sometimes I fail.
“Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are our, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of a good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy — meditate on these things.” -Philippians 4:8
Instead of taking this biblical wisdom and applying it to my situation, all morning I have been wavering between feeling like God doesn’t see the suffering I am enduring, and knowing that He is refining me by the fire. I have had moments when I wanted to yell, “God, this isn’t fair,” and throw a proper toddler tantrum. I have also had thoughts like this, “Lord, I know You won’t force people to do the right thing, and I wouldn’t want You to do that, but have you forgotten about me?”
When I go through these seasons I think of the song, “Ba55” by Switchfoot. The chorus is, “I believe You’re the fire that could burn me clean.” It sounds painful, doesn’t it? No one likes getting burned. But through the burning away of our old man (Colossians 3:9-10), we are made clean. It is such an excruciating process. We also see this in the Bible (which is where I’m sure Switchfoot got the idea).
“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.” -Malachi 3:2
This verse is talking about Jesus’ coming in the future, when He sits on His throne in Jerusalem and judges the people on the Earth as our righteous King.
Going through the process of being refined is painful, but that is the only way to get the gross stuff out. And being refined doesn’t always mean that you sin and are going through some type of discipline. Sometimes it is an obstacle that God sets before us. One of my favorite authors and past missionaries put it this way.
“If this obstacle is from Thee, Lord, I accept it; but if it is from Satan, I refuse him and all his works in the name of Calvary.” -Isobel Kuhn
Then other times this purification process means being unjustly accused, reviled, and persecuted, just like Jesus was. I can’t imagine a more powerful process to help us conform more to the image of Jesus Christ (Romans 8:29).
There are also satanic forces, as Isobel mentioned. Something that keeps happening to me recently is Satan attacking me about my physical appearance. I’m currently writing a book about godly confidence where I dispel common psychological ideas that Christians have wrongfully adopted, so this makes perfect sense. I’ve painted a target on my back. The other day I was getting ready and when I looked in the mirror I heard, “Look at you (insert tones of disgust), can you really say you are confident in the way God made you?” It was so demonic!! Thankfully, I have been hiding verses about this topic in my heart and was quickly able to argue against this satanic insinuation. “Yes, I am.” I thought, “God cannot lie. God does not make mistakes. I am not a mistake. The Lord rebuke you.” (Jude 1:9)
I hope my openness encourages you that we all struggle at different points in our lives. We are all going through a refining process in Christ Jesus. We all experience spiritual warfare. With that in mind let me share these verses with you,
“For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life. And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.” -Galatians 6:8-9
Doing good, sowing to the Spirit, is exhausting. Sometimes I just want to quit. I want to give into my flesh and throw myself a pity party. I’m tempted to write a nasty letter to the person that has been persecuting me. I’m tempted to yell at my kids and husband and crawl into some cave into the distance. I’m tempted to complain against God and give up. But I can’t afford to grow weary in doing good. That isn’t God’s will for me, and I know that He alone will help me persevere. I want to reap!! I want to reap so badly, because my Heavenly Father first loved me, and I want to do everything I can to be close to Him and please Him. I pray that your loving relationship with God would also keep you pressing toward the goal (Philippians 3:14), determined not to grow weary in doing good.
And if you think about it, I humbly ask you to please say a prayer for me. I need prayer right now in all the different refining processes I’m going through.