But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you.
1 Peter 5:10
When a construction company decides to build a new skyscraper in the city, they begin by examining the measurements. The height of a skyscraper is determined by the depth of a skyscraper. In order for a building that so tall and massive to stand without falling, the builders must dig deep into the ground to lay the foundation. Sometimes we may not see things working in our lives the way we think it should. It seems as though God has been telling us to, “Be still and know that I am God.” Maybe you are in a waiting season, you have planted the word of God in your heart and you don’t see anything sprouting up. The good news is, the deeper God is working in your life, the sturdier your foundation to remain stable in your walk with God.
It seems as though when we ask God to change us to be more like Him, He immediately gets the dozers and jack hammers out. We start to see some things within ourselves that we didn’t even know was there. All of a sudden dirt is flying out of the heart, rocks and roots are being dug out of our soul. This is a process of elimination, so that our hearts will be emptied out of the negative, the bad, and the sinful things we may not even realize we hold.
We remember the parable that Jesus told about the wise man who built his house upon a rock and the foolish man who built his house upon the sand. He was illustrating the importance of foundation. The foundation of house determines the length of time that the house will stand, it affects the structure of the house, and it even determines how the house settles throughout the years. Have you ever noticed that in the summer a door in your house may not stay closed all the while, that same door, in the winter it may take all your strength to close? The reason why is that the house is settling. This is an illustration of something that may be happening in our spiritual lives. Sometimes doors won’t open because we are settling, sometimes there are uncertainties, because we are settling. God will settle you. This means he will secure you in the base of his word and holy spirit. He will anchor you down to the truth that will keep you strong during the adversities of life. You may not see what God is doing, but have faith that He is settling you.
God wants us to understand that it is the trying of our faith that works patience. It is the tests and the trials that can shape us into a firm believer. The way we handle it is so important. When we realize that we are going through a test, we need to pray to God to show us His purpose. He will guide you through it and because we cling to Him, He will increase our faith in Him.
Why does it say we will suffer a while? In this life we will have suffering and it is ultimately because we need to be rid of false securities and crutches in order to be filled with more of God. That is the suffering, the warring of the flesh and the spirit. So many times when storms or trials come, we want to try to escape that reality. We want to turn to other things or people. However, God will lead us into a maturity in Him that is literally a place of breakthrough. How do we know that we are growing in God’s grace? It is when we see ourselves running towards God when trouble comes, instead of away from it all. When we run to God, He has the opportunity to teach us and lead us through the battle. I like to read that God is going to make you perfect. What does that mean? The word perfect in the Bible means complete, mature, and whole. When we start growing up in God then He starts establishing us, and strengthening us, and settling us. That makes all the difference. If every time something bad happens, a child who is getting older still keeps running to find a crutch, like a pacifier or a blanket, and the parent is nurturing the child; how will that child ever grow up? If we as grown adults, when faced with life’s struggles, run to escape reality instead of running to God, we will never grow in Him. What do we do in the hard times? It is easy to worship and love God during the happy times. It is easy to praise Him when the payday is good and the children are healthy, but what about when things are going wrong and bills are stacking up? In those fiery trials, if we run to God instead of away from our problems, we will grow. We will be strengthened by His might.
Walking with God
But He knoweth the way that I take: when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold. Job 23.10
We know the many hardships of Job and there is one scripture that just astounded me for the longest time. Job says, “When he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold.” Gold is a precious metal and in order to remove the dross or impurities from the metal, it must be melted and heated to extreme temperatures. God will allow you to go through things. The problem here is that we don’t recognize things the way that we should. If you are like me, then you have questioned God and yourself. When trouble comes all of a sudden we are in the pit of despair, or we end up losing faith, running our mouths, or complaining. Then we look at ourselves and think, “Where in the world is all this stuff coming from? I am supposed to be a Christian who is speaking faith.” On an on we tear ourselves down because we did not respond or react in the right way. We are relying on our own righteousness. When the fiery trials come, the dross floats to the top. The top of us is our words, our thoughts, and our actions. You are being purged and cleansed of some things that have been in your heart for a long time. All of a sudden you go into a rage or yell at someone, and that was not even in your character. Why? The reason is the impurities are coming up out of your heart. The infection that has been housed inside of your heart has to come out. Then, you realize your need for a Savior. “Well, God I have been reading Your word, praying, and trying to walk closely with You, what is going on?” God allows us to see that even on our best day, we need a Savior. We can dot the I’s and cross the T’s, but without Him we can do nothing right.
Stability is gained in maturity. Maturity is gained through trials. When God allows the temperature to heat up, expect that things are going to surface. Feelings of anger that you have held in too long. Hurts from the past that you thought you have pushed down to never be found again. Tears that you cry that you have no idea where they are coming from. He is bringing it all out. He is removing the impurities; the dross is being purged out of a precious metal. A heart to be like God is one that will ultimately go through turmoil, because in order to have more of God, we must have less of ourselves and the environment that we grew up in: a sinful world.
Be anxious for nothing, because God is working everything out for your good. Every painful memory that arises and every negative emotion that you simply do not understand, give it to God. Ask Him to cleanse you. Ask Him to instruct you and teach you His ways. Do not run from trials, but run to God who is the author and the finisher of your faith. These trials make us more like God, they make us rely upon Him more, and they fashion us into a vessel of honor. A vessel of honor is one that can be used. An instrument is useless without a musician. Without the wind of a musician, the flute will never sound. If there is all kinds of junk inside the flute, then the musician can blow into it and nothing is actually going to sound. God does the cleaning, He purifies, and He beautifies. Prepare our hearts O God that we may be pure, mature, and steadfastly reliant upon You.
The definition of refine is to reduce to a pure state; purify. To free from coarse, unsuitable, or immoral characteristics. That sounds beautiful, but the process is truly painful. If we want to be less like us and more like Him, we are will endure the pain of change. We want to be changed, but we do not necessarily want the process. We want the beautiful birth of a child, but we do not want the pain. We want a promotion, but we do not want to go through the extensive training and study required. All the while, the same applies to wanting more of God. We want to pray for the sick and watch their sickness leave, but do we want the walk of faith that comes before that, which is required in order for faith to grow to that level. There will be a price for everything that we want in God, simply because we will be fashioned for His use. “Beloved think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you:” 1 Peter 4:12 Yes, the way that God tries is quite strange or unsual, but it is always in His perfect timing. We ask God to increase His love in our heart and let us have more compassion on people. All of a sudden we find ourselves dealing with a loved one who absolutely tries our patience. We find that for some reason we are learning to be patient and loving more than ever. We find ourselves having to forgive someone for wronging us and learning to merciful.
God refines us through adversity and testing. We pray for patience and suddenly it seems like chaos breaks out. God uses the opposite to sharpen us and strengthen us. You want more love, then prepare to find someone that may be full of hatred or the hardest person to get along with. You want more peace in your life, chaos might just break out and you will learn to find a way to escape into a quiet place with God. The things you desire ends up being the thing that you fight for.