“The Lord’s love can remove layers of cynical residue from your faith and buff it back into a bright belief.”
Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – August 18, 2021
Many will be purified, made spotless and refined, but the wicked will continue to be wicked. None of the wicked will understand, but those who are wise will understand. Daniel 12:10
My wife Rita and I attended an interesting weekend for our high school reunion. We recounted memories of teenage shenanigans and experienced the challenge of reading name tags (bad handwriting and poor eyesight!). What struck me to the core however, was what I will attempt to describe as three types of faith conditions I encountered with our former classmates. My goal is not to put people in a box but to outline spiritual realities that seemed to describe all of us. I observed for two nights a faith that was either retired, tired or refined.
I say retired faith because where belief may have captured the imagination of a child for a time, father time moved on to other adult fantasies. No spiritual vibrance in those retired from the faith. Similarly, tired faith looked sad. A life on the anvil of adversity had a beaten down belief. These faces etched with fatigue wondered if faith was relevant to their overwhelming needs. But the countenances of refined faith beamed with contentment and gratitude: serving the poor, caring for the sick and dying, and mentoring young couples was codified on their life resume of faithfulness. To those whose faith was refined by fire, loving Jesus and others was the norm.
Daniel describes a hard situation that dumbfounded the faithless but brought understanding to the wise through a purifying process. This man of prayer was very aware of what it meant not to bow down to the idols of culture, but to remain faithful in the worship and service of Almighty God. An intellectual steeped in integrity, Daniel confounded the King and his minions by not being intimidated into compromise, but to give 100% to God. His faith was refined by fiery trials.
“See, I have refined you, though not as silver; I have tested you in the furnace of affliction” (Isaiah 48:10).
Does your faith tend to be purified or tainted during a tension filled season? Are you able to see the bigger picture of how the Christ wants to cleanse your character or are you resistant to repentance? Clarity comes with genuine confession of sin. Your increased fear of God decreases your fear of man. A heart like a once shiny penny can dull from life’s hard lessons. Faith’s luster is gone, but the Lord’s love removes layers of cynical residue and buffs it back into bright belief.
Is your faith tired, unable to serve and give anymore? Take your fatigued faith to your heavenly Father and ask Him to rejuvenate you. Rest and renewal are fulfilling fruits of a full faith. Use a crisis of faith to deepen your trust in Christ and grow you closer to those who love you most. The pressure to bow to other gods will always goad the faithful to give up on God. The wise refuse to. A refined faith proves its genuineness through praise and glory to Jesus! It shines for Him.
“These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory, and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed” (1 Peter 1:7).
Heavenly Father, during the challenging times refine my faith and grow my faithfulness, in Jesus’ name I pray, amen.
What challenge am I experiencing that is painful but is an opportunity for me to allow the Holy Spirit’s cleansing power to make me more like Christ? How does the Lord want me to respond?
Job 23:10; Psalm 66:10; Proverbs 17:3; James 1:1-5
Hope Darst: Set Free
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This is a thoughtful, timely study – especially for we of the ‘boomer generation. Many of us are celebrating 50-year reunions. Many have renewed acquaintances via social media, and more than a few have become good friends in these mature years we could not have appreciated when mid-teens in high school.
Thank you for this great devotional.
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