Let's Be Inspired Together Blog Articles

 

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Responding Courageously

Jesus wants us to be courageous in our faith. Per my previous blog (see below) this is something that he is emphatic about. I think it is debatable intellectually to consider whether faith without courage is actually faith, but it is very true that in our life and relationship with God if we don’t live with courageous faith we not only miss out on the big adventure that Jesus invites us on, but our faith actually shrinks.

Precious Metal

I have been meditating recently on the old-fashioned term, "Chastening." This is the process by which God lovingly and purposefully corrects and purifies us. The process presents us with a problematic tension because it is something we know that we need but, often, really don't want.

 

One favorite metaphor for this area of growth is the process of refinement that God puts us through - similar to when valuable metals are being perfected.

 

There are a few times in the scripture where this metaphor is used. One of them is Malachi 3:3, where we read of about our Gracious Father, "He will sit as the refiner and purifier of silver; he will purify the Levites and refine them like Gold and silver. Then the Lord will have men who bring offerings in righteousness."

 

I want my offerings (my life!) to be pleasing and right before God! As I have studied and reflected on this aspect of the chastening process, there are three things that I would ask, with trepidation, for God to do in me.

 

1) Turn the Heat Up. To purify precious metals, they have to experience heat. It is in the heating process that the impurities come to the surface and can be removed. I know that there are all kinds of impurities buried within me that aren't going to be removed if I seek a safe and comfortable life. If we sidestep challenges, back away from difficulties and avoid significant decisions, we may be able to avoid some pain, but the cost doing so ensures that impurities will remain within. Our character is defined, shaped and revealed when the heat is on.

 

2) See His Reflection. Precious metal workers would heat the metal, continuing to wipe off the impurities once they came to the surface until they could see their reflection in the precious metal. Wouldn't it be great if we could get rid of our impurities so that the representation of Christ could be seen in and through us? The world doesn't need a better version of me; it needs Jesus to shine through me as my impurities are removed.

 

3) Not allow things to get too hot. The scripture in Malachi talks about the worker 'sitting' while the process takes place. The reason for this is that the one doing the refining had to continually keep an eye on the melting metal to ensure that it was just the impurities that were getting burned. To burn the precious metals were not a good thing. In the same way, God watches over us, ensuring that things won't get hotter than we can handle. He doesn't want to destroy us, just the sin within.

 

Do you want to ask God to "Purify your heart"? Will you?

The Goal

Who do you want to become this year? We’ll all change in some way… for some, it will be a huge transition, while for others it will be a slight tweak in attitude or perspective. One thing is for sure… as long as we’re still breathing. we’ll still be changing! The good news is that very often we have a choice as to how we change and certainly who we become as a result of change.

New You

Who do you want to become this year? We’ll all change in some way. For some, it will be a considerable transition, while for others it will be a slight tweak in attitude or perspective. One thing is for sure, as long as we’re still breathing. We’ll always be changing! The good news is that very often we have a choice as to how we change and certainly who we become as a result of the change.

As followers of Christ, our goal is to become transformed into the “Imago Dei” – The Image of God. There are many ways that we can do this that have varying degrees of success. As I prepare for the New Year, I am reminded of my previous failures as a ‘resolution keeper’ and how these attempts to change my behavior simply fizzles out after a few days. I know in my life that if I want to become more like the One who I seek to follow, then resolutions probably aren’t going to get me there!

Throughout his ministry, Jesus offered a somewhat unorthodox agent of change that helps us to reflect who He is. The change is not found in doing more, adding to, or living higher, it is a change that often involves keeping things simple, subtracting, and stooping lower. Jesus modeled for us the way to effect change comes through submitting (Phil 2:5-8) to God the Father (John 6:38). It is as we submit to God that our heart is changed and from a submitted heart that our behavior begins to change as well.

At the start of each year, John Wesley, the founder of the Methodist Church would conduct what he called a “Covenant Service.” He first held this service in 1755, and the service was centered on a prayer that he had written that called people to change as they affirmed the commitment they made to follow Jesus.

I would encourage you at the beginning of this year to read this ancient prayer of submission - seek to understand it, evaluate how it applies to you today, pray it… and then try and do the hard work of living it out!

I am no longer my own, but thine.
Put me to what thou wilt, rank me with whom thou wilt.
Put me to doing, put me to suffering.
Let me be employed for thee or laid aside for thee,
exalted for thee or brought low for thee.
Let me be full, let me be empty.
Let me have all things, let me have nothing.
I freely and heartily yield all things to thy pleasure and disposal.
And now, O glorious and blessed God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit,
thou art mine, and I am thine.
So be it.
And the covenant which I have made on earth,
let it be ratified in heaven.
Amen.

Become more like Jesus this year!

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