Monday, September 2, 2013

When the Going Gets Tough

Revelation 3:15-18  "I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot.  I could wish you were cold or hot.  So then, because you are neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth.  Because you say, 'I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing' -- and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked -- I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich; and white garments, that you may be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see."

Seems like the worst position to take with Christ is "lukewarm" -- if He feels strongly enough to say that He will "vomit" the lukewarm out of His mouth, that's cause for alarm if that's your situation.  Since so many of the people around me are lukewarm, it bothers me immensely.  I spent a good portion of my life lukewarm as well, and I thank God that He saw fit to show me how much I need to rely on Him, and He did so through some extremely difficult circumstances in my life - not once, but several times, each time changing me in ways that would never have been possible apart from Him.  While I would never have chosen those periods of crisis, I treasure the work He did in me during those times.

The Bible passage goes on to say, "I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire."  The process of refining gold in a furnace results in the removal of impurities. Is He saying to go through our life's difficulties under His direction, and He will remove our impurities?  I think so!  Going through a crisis without Him will either produce a negative change in us (bitterness, anger) or no change at all.    But done under God's direction, and handling our difficult circumstances according to God's word, we will certainly be spiritually refined.

Since I'm still quite far from perfect, I can assume there will be more "refining" circumstances in my future.  But since I've been through a few of them already, when the next one comes, I can go into it with the assurance that God will indeed bring me to the other side of it, and much better than I was.  And that's of great comfort when the ride starts to get rough.