In the midst of a struggle, I have found that everything I might have thought is wrong and everything I thought was true is misunderstood. A refining process I thought I was going through has been reflected by a friend to be a wake-up call to 'turn around.'
Malachi 3:3 DRB: "And he shall sit refining and cleansing the silver, and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and shall refine them as gold, and as silver, and they shall offer sacrifices to the Lord in justice."
God allows trials, temptations, afflictions, and death to be part of the believer's experience upon this earth, whether they have accepted the salvation gift or not. And it is always for the same purpose, which is realized in the refining process that we all experience.
The Refiner, Christ, doesn't put us through this process of burning off the dross and corruption which dilute and distort the offerings of gold and silver which have worth and value in the Father's kingdom. We are brought through this to burn off the impure sinful nature which is inherent to our old bodies and to purify our new bodies in Christ.
This refinement process brings us to an position of righteousness where all our service, prayers, praise, and 'alms deeds' can be offered for the glory of God. We are cleansed through the blood of Christ, but the process to attaining doesn't stop there. We are enabled to grow through the gifting of the Holy Spirit which Christ left to sustain and guide us, lift and sanctify us until His return.
My family and I have faced extreme hardships as we have aligned ourselves to God's purpose in our lives. It reached a point where a dearly appreciated and loved member of the Body of Christ came to me and expressed their concerns about my schedule and pursuits. It was an unexpected conversation and I left confused, upset, and depressed.
Could it be that I was wrong? That the timing which I sensed God in was waaaaayyyyy off. The gist of the conversation was that I needed to put the ministry pursuits that I have been engaged in on hold and focus on God's primary job for me, "taking care of my family's needs." This, because of the financial stress we are in, would entail me obtaining another job.
A brother in Christ, Garry, that I fellowship with on the Out of the Wild website pointed me to Job's experiences. Garry said, "Job's friends thought they were doing him a favor when they offered him advise. Their intentions were to comfort Job but they were actually causing Job to look to himself and their advice for answers instead of looking to God."
In Job chapter two, we see the intent of his friends, "Now when Job’s three friends heard of all this adversity that had come upon him, they came each one from his own place, Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite and Zophar the Naamathite; and they made an appointment together to come to sympathize with him and comfort him."
Eliphaz is the first to speak about how Job can't walk the walk when the crisis is on his lap, "If one ventures a word with you, will you become impatient? But who can refrain from speaking? “Behold you have admonished many, and you have strengthened weak hands. Your words have helped the tottering to stand, And you have strengthened feeble knees. But now it has come to you, and you are impatient; It touches you, and you are dismayed. Is not your fear of God your confidence, And the integrity of your ways your hope? Remember now, who ever perished being innocent? Or where were the upright destroyed?"
Bildad the Shuhite is the next to jump in with his thoughts,“ Does God pervert justice?
Or does the Almighty pervert what is right? If your sons sinned against Him,
then He delivered them into the power of their transgression. If you would seek God and implore the compassion of the Almighty, If you are pure and upright, surely now He would rouse Himself for you and restore your righteous estate." Bildad places the blame upon the sons of Job, saying that God cannot give out incorrect justice or change the situation and so it must be something in his children's lives.
Of course, it is the last of Job's friends who's diatribe is the harshest. Zophar the Naamathite answered, “Shall a multitude of words go unanswered, And a talkative man be acquitted? Shall your boasts silence men? And shall you scoff and none rebuke? For you have said, ‘My teaching is pure, And I am innocent in your eyes.’ But would that God might speak, And open His lips against you, And show you the secrets of wisdom! Then, indeed, you could lift up your face without moral defect,And you would be steadfast and not fear. For you would forget your trouble, As waters that have passed by, you would remember it. Your life would be brighter than noonday; Darkness would be like the morning. Then you would trust, because there is hope; And you would look around and rest securely. You would lie down and none would disturb you, And many would entreat your favor. But the eyes of the wicked will fail, And there will be no escape for them; And their hope is to breathe their last.” Zophar would have Job believe that it is some moral defect that he has because he is not exhibiting the characteristics of a righteous man.
Yet we know that Job was a righteous man, indeed, it is his very righteousness that draws the attention and ire of the devil, who tries to claim only the blessings of God has made Job so.
Garry also pointed out that the friends' intention couldn't have been of the refining process because, "Their words brought accusations and blame. God never accuses. The words from His mouth are intended to bring corrections. His rebukes are intended to teach us and train us in righteousness. 2 Timothy 3:16. God's purpose for correcting and leading us is done to lovingly guides and directs us in the direction we need to go, and it will always come to those who seek it."
Indeed, Paul tells us in Philippians 4:8, that we should look to God and qualify the lessons by the standards of " whatever things are true, whatever things have honour, whatever things are upright, whatever things are holy, whatever things are beautiful, whatever things are of value, if there is any virtue and if there is any praise, give thought to these things." There is nothing in any of Job's friends statements that have any of those characteristics and so they can be rejected out of hand. Although we see Job struggle to do so.
And, of course, my wife's wisdom shows through the loving response she gave me as I wrote this, "If you are doing this to honor God, then it is right. But if you don't feel it in your heart to drop the ministry pursuit, then you are dishonoring God."
Whenever we doubt what God's call is for us, we have to realize that we have been pre-purposed by God before we were even born. Our purpose was designed, created, and set aside for each of us, uniquely and singularly qualified by the Spirit to fulfill the wishes of the Father for the Kingdom. And the end result to any purpose that God has for us is the same, regardless of who we are.
"Even as he made selection of us in him from the first, so that we might be holy and free from all evil before him in love. Ephesians 5:2 BBE."
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When it does come to making a decision.,its very tough and our ears expect to hear God directly for us. I am just sharing what I read. When Paul was called by God., He just obeyed without consulting anyone...
Hope you take the right direction..