“Many times, there cannot be shifting into the new without sifting out the old.”
Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – August 30, 2022
Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. James 1:2-4
For years, I have been in a season of restoration. Following some deep trials ten years ago, the Lord gave me a reprieve from experiencing too much difficulty and I have been at rest.
However, because of some personal challenges I have recently experienced, and am still experiencing, I have sensed the Lord is moving me into a sifting season, to remove perspectives in me that are not of Him and to prepare me for work He wants me to do in the future. Rather than fear this season, be angry about it, or resist it, I am embracing it with gratitude and joy.
In her blog “When Sifting Comes” Linda Green writes:
For most of us, thoughts of sifting wheat make us think of the soft fluffy powder we use in baking. But when Jesus spoke of sifting, he was referring to a very violent action used to separate the grain from the stalk and the chaff. Using a threshing machine very much like a combine on today’s wheat fields, it tore the wheat apart, separating the valuable portion from the worthless portion.
As painful as it can be, sifting is a way God reveals His love to His children in deeper ways. It’s a way He draws those He loves to Himself. And, it’s a way He prepares His children for those things that are not yet, but are coming. He uses sifting to ready us for new roles and callings. Many times there cannot be shifting into the new without sifting out the old.
Although sifting is not pleasant, God can use it for good. What kind of God allows His children to experience sifting? A God who loves them deeply. Sometimes it’s what’s needed to draw us closer to His heart and get us ready for what is next.
I went for a bike ride this week and while I rode, I listened to one of my favorite worship songs and tears flowed. My heart filled with overwhelming gratitude for God’s faithfulness, and I said to him, “Lord, you have just been so, so merciful and kind. My whole life . . . so merciful and kind.” And now, I see sifting as part of His mercy and kindness that is causing me to love Him more. He is using it to restore me spiritually in deeper ways.
I think about Peter; the Lord told Peter that Satan wanted to sift him as wheat to ruin him. In fact, in Luke 22:31 the phrase, “sift as wheat” is a metaphor that could also be expressed as “shake someone apart” or “break a person down.”
But when the Lord allows sifting into our lives, it’s never to destroy us. It’s to strengthen us and make us more whole. In Luke 22:32; Jesus said to Peter, “I have pleaded in prayer for you, Simon, that your faith should not fail. So when you have repented and turned to me again, strengthen your brothers.”
Peter’s sifting wasn’t for naught. Jesus prayed that through it, Peter would be strengthened so that He could minister to his brothers in a deeper way. When God allows sifting into our lives, He takes away that which won’t benefit us so that we can be more prepared for what He has for us in the future.
There are times when the only way that the Lord can prepare us for our next season is to take us through trials in a present season, to allow us to be sifted so that what isn’t of Him will be removed. It’s impossible to put new wine of a new calling in an old wineskin. First, we must be changed and transformed—and that can often happen only through sifting.
“You also like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ; You are . . . a people for His own possession, that you may proclaim the excellences of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light,” (1 Peter 2:9).
Lord, thank you for sifting seasons. You use everything for my good and your glory. Help me to not resist what you are allowing—and doing—in my life. Instead, help me praise you with a grateful heart of anticipation for what you will be doing in my life in the future. Amen.
If you are experiencing sifting, praise the Lord for His goodness. Thank Him that He is revealing more of who He is to you. Thank Him that He is preparing you for what is to come.
1 Peter 1:6; John 16:33; Romans 12:12
Hillsong United: O Praise the Name
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