Humans can be very self-centred, this is really highlighted within relationships whether with man or God. Yet relationships are or should be about reciprocity, mutual benefit or put another way give and take.
We are OK when it comes to taking but not so much when it comes to giving. We find it much more easy to receive and very difficult to release.
I see this a lot in the online world, people are used to taking. There are free offers everywhere and we collect and hoard them, store them away but they hardly see the light of day if at all. They are like trophies or tools that we collect just in case we need them.
Like the gradual and highly taxing transformation of a caterpillar to a chrysalis and then to butterfly, change, godly change is hard work. There are so many characteristics which make it so, not least its unpredictable nature and the onwards momentum which makes control a thing of the past; once change is embarked upon we can only ever be swept along by its tide or struggle in futility against its current. Although both methods are strenuous and even torturous in their way, only one can ever be productive in securing our growth and development. For godly change to take place in us we need to be submissive to the workings of God’s Spirit, but how do we submit to something which causes us so much pain?
This morning as I struggled to get up from bed (as I have been dealing with some health issues of late) I couldn’t help but meditate on two scriptures; the first scripture is 2 Corinthians 3: 18 (KJV):
But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.
This speaks of gradual transformation into the image of God, what a beautiful depiction of change, by simply keeping our eyes focussed on the LORD and beholding His beauty and glory we are transformed degree by degree from fleshly to spiritual creatures and from the worldly to the divine. But what trials and tribulations must we have to encounter along the way to such a butterfly moment? What are the strains that will try to hold us down and the worries which will overwhelm us? What are the bonds that will need to be broken along the way? And surely, if such things exist then we must realise that our transformation will not be an easy one. Paul knows this already and encourages us with these words (Romans 8: 18 KJV):
For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.
Amen! Isn’t this a thought for me to hold on to in my times of distress, that no matter what I go through or how I may feel today that the pain of it can never compare to the joy I will experience and what I will gain at this journey’s end!
But oh…! How do I make it through each day at a time without losing sight of His beautiful visage? Every day is a prayer of courage and strength that I need soooo much on this road to victory. Please pray with me.
The second scripture is taken from 1 Corinthians 3: 13-15 (AMP), it says:
The work of each [one] will become [plainly, openly] known (shown for what it is); for the day [of Christ] will disclose and declare it, because it will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test and critically appraise the character and worth of the work each person has done.
If the work which any person has built on this Foundation [any product of his efforts whatever] survives [this test], he will get his reward.
But if any person’s work is burned up [under the test], he will suffer the loss [of it all, losing his reward], though he himself will be saved, but only as [one who has passed] through fire.
I have to admit that this scripture confused me a bit particularly the ending, but after some reflection I believe that this scripture speaks of refinement. God has already laid the foundation for us and in us, that foundation is Jesus. Our job is to build upon the foundation with materials that can withstand the fiery refinement process (Silver, gold and precious stones) and those that will be consumed by it (wood, hay and stubble). Building is hard work without having to be subjected to rigorous testing procedures but imagine, if after spending your life building how you will feel if all that is left before you in the wake of this fire is a pile of rubble and ash. I do not imagine that we will build with only good or bad materials, I am sure that at times we will build wisely and at times unwisely but I believe the degree of wisdom will be a consequence of our ability to submit to what we go through here and now.
God is so kind, that He is already teaching us how to make wise decisions through the trials and tribulations we face in this life. Even now we are undergoing the cleansing and refining fire so that we will only know how to build with materials that last. And it makes me ask myself this question, would I rather be changed slowly here and now, by facing trials sent to test me and cleanse me so that I can overcome at last or would I rather fight against what I can’t control and be stubborn, bathing in my pain until the day when I stand before God and everything around me that I have built up is consumed but yet by His grace I remain standing? Would I temporarily experience challenge and discomfort here now in order to gain a much greater reward later or, live in ease and comfort just to narrowly escape fiery wrath at a later date? Is this a difficult question for me to answer?
No. It is such reflections as this that gives me the necessary strength and courage to continue on with this journey one day at a time.
I hope that these reflections will also encourage you to believe, hope and walk in strength and courage in your own trials and tribulations.
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