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 (Showers of Blessing 5)
Are We Responding to God's Refinement?
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Are We Responding to God's Refinement?

REFINING is a process whereby something is improved in quality and purity.  Like gold, we, the believers of Jesus Christ, have to be refined to purge our impurities.

As Peter succinctly puts it,”....... though now for a little while you may have to suffer various trials, so that the genuineness of your faith, more precious than gold which though perishable is tested by fire, may be found to praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ” (I Pet 1:6-7).  He highlights the function of trials which come in various forms such as misfortunes, confusion, sufferings and persecutions in life, so that our faith in God is made genuine and established through refinement.

Our Heavenly path begins, continues and ends with faith.  "That is why it depends on faith in order that the promise may rest on grace and be guaranteed to all his (Abraham's) descendants (Rom 4:16).

Abraham, our father of faith, responded to God's call without hesitation, left his country, kindred and father's house, not knowing where he was to go (Heb 11:8).  That was because he had faith in God's words: “I will make you a great nation, I will bless you, and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and him who curses you I will curse; and by you all the families of the earth shall bless themselves" (Gen12:2-3).  God who called Abraham, also called us out of darkness into His marvelous light (I Pet 2:9; Acts 26:18).

In his faith journey, Abraham was further refined by God. His belief in God's promise to give him a son was reckoned to him as righteousness (Gen 15:6).  The highest form of refinement came when God commanded him to sacrifice his son Isaac (Gen 22:2).  In this dramatic account of God's test of Abraham's obedience, it was the final refinement test of his faith in God's word.  He believed fully in God that Isaac would be the heir of his promise (Gen 17:19).  No one else would come forth from Abraham to receive the same covenant from God.  It was to be Isaac through whom Abraham was to gain numerous descendants.

Indeed, God desires those who follow Him to truly believe in Him.  We believe in Jesus Christ and that God can raise the dead and transform the living when He comes again.  Sometimes, He brings upon us blessings in disguise and trials.  Trials for refinement which we have not experienced before push us to the limits of human imagination and into the purest of faith to call upon God (2 Tim 2:22).  A pure heart where there is no doubt in what God has done through Jesus Christ, no doubt in what He is doing through the Spirit of Christ in His believers, and no doubt in what He will do in the future.  However, in this world, there are more downs than ups in our lives.  We could be worn beyond our ability to bear the unexpected adversities in our heavenly journey.  These can manifest in unrest or rift in the family; financial constraint at home, work trepidation and pressure from the boss and stress from studies.

Job was stripped of everything he owned, lost all his children in a single day, afflicted with boils all over the body.  The highest refinement point was reached when Job still held on to his faith in God in times of calamities.  His faith was indeed refined as pure gold.  Our genuine spirituality is only revealed in times of sufferings and tribulation.  Our faith is only tried and refined when we know how to reach out to Jesus in circumstances beyond our own ability to bear.  According to His will, through tragedies, He brings us closer to Him.  Thus, we have to respond to each trial positively.  We can then say, "The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away, blessed be the name of the Lord (Job 1:21).

Hence, in times when we feel most distressed, we take it as strength to push us forward and yearn for the best that lies ahead.  With faith, we are reassured that He will not let anything happen without a purpose.  Faith is believing every single word that is written in the Bible about what God is, what he has done, is doing, and will do for His saints.  No wonder James tells us to count it all joy when we fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of our faith produces patience, making us perfect and complete (Jas 1:2-3).

God’s refinement also comes upon us because He wants us to turn back to Him.  We can be led astray by the false spirits.  The Israelites rebelled against God repeatedly both in the wilderness and in the land of Canaan.  God disciplined them with severe punishment because He loved them and yet they would not return to Him.

We therefore must respond to his refinement in order to receive His heavenly reward.  In times of hardship, sufferings or tribulation, let us submit to Him wholeheartedly, examine ourselves and turn back to Him.  Remember, God's arrangement is always wonderful and has a purpose, which we can easily overlook.  Whether He refines us or betters our faith in Him, may all praises be unto His Holy Name, Jesus Christ.  Amen!