The Pursuit of God

Serious Topics for Serious Christians

Anticipating Refinement

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When you’re down, Satan tells you that you’ll never be up. When you’re up, Satan tells you that a horrible season of trials is just around the corner. Satan is a liar who can’t see one day into your future—he can only pontificate about what he would do to you if he were God. But he’s not God, and he never will be, so all of his doomsday prophecies aren’t worth a hill of beans.

Now when you really want more of God and you’ve fully surrendered your life into His hands and asked Him to make you all that He wants you to be, well, it’s scary. Other Christians around you have done the same thing and you see them getting slammed to the ground with horrific trials from God. Obviously, you’re next, right? WRONG. You have no idea what your personal growth path will look like. It might involve some pretty dark chapters, but then again, it might not. Although some Christians like to go around flaunting their suffering and implying that all their pain makes them more pleasing to God than you, they’re wrong. God’s pleasure in you doesn’t have to do with how much you’ve suffered in this world, it is based on your soul’s response to Him. If He sees that you are a soul who has sincerely given Him your all, then He is totally delighted with you RIGHT NOW. You are not some half-baked project in His mind. You are not some unfinished painting just because you haven’t gone through some horrific trials yet.

Is a baby incomplete because it doesn’t look like an adult? No, a baby is a priceless, precious treasure who is full of unique delights. When a baby smiles, it warms your heart in a way that an adult’s smile just doesn’t. Just by being their adorable little selves, babies bring us all kinds of delights. When’s the last time you felt blessed looking at an adult’s hand up close? Adult hands and feet just don’t excite us, but those adorable little fingers and toes on a baby warm our hearts. When those teensy little fingers curl around our finger for the first time, we feel a surge of delight within us. Babies are unique treasures in their own right. How much joy do you get out of having your adult brother sitting in your lap? You don’t get any joy—just pain and groaning as his weight grinds your bones. But there are mysterious joys that come over us when we cradle helpless babies in our arms and we find ourselves feeling deeply privileged. Babies have a magnetism and charm that is all their own. In the same way, souls who are young in the faith and eagerly pursuing God delight Him in their own wonderful way. You don’t have to go through some hellish period of refinement to fill God’s heart with joy—you’re being a constant source of blessing to Him right now if you have permanently surrendered to Him, and that is what you need to focus on.

Do we learn important spiritual lessons by going through painful trials? Sure, but there are many critical lessons to learn in seasons of joy as well. You want to enjoy where you are at with God right now, and not spend your days worrying about what might come next. If you’re currently in a great place with God, it’s like you’re having fine dining with the Holy Spirit. He is smiling at you and saying how much He loves you and delights in your company. Instead of relaxing, you’re anxiously fidgeting in your chair. “What’s going to happen after dinner?” you ask. “Are You going to take me somewhere that’s scary and hard? Am I going to feel like You’re far away?” But the Holy Spirit says, “Don’t worry about the future. Just be with Me right now. Enjoy being us. I will never leave you.” It’s not easy to do, and you keep looking at your watch, worried about what’s coming next. When the meal is finally over, He gets up and you get all anxious. “Come with Me,” He says, and you nervously take His hand. Then He takes you outside into a beautiful field of flowers. Putting His arm around you, He once again starts talking about how much He enjoys being with you and how pleased He is that you’ve fully surrendered to Him. “But where are we going?” you ask. “Are we going somewhere scary?” “Don’t worry about the future,” He says. “Just be with Me right now. Enjoy being us. I will never leave you.”

When you are pleasing God, He is never going to encourage you to fear the future, and He’s not going to freak you out with a bunch of bad news. But even if He knew your entire life would be bliss, He wouldn’t share this information with you. God wants your trust to be rooted in His goodness and deep love for you, not in your knowledge of the future. He wants your security to come from knowing He will never fail you, not from your current circumstances. Negative anticipation is unavoidable at first when demons are flooding your mind with their horror stories. But the reality is that no one knows what’s coming in your future except God, and He’s going to be with you every step of the way. Right now is your chance to practice trust by focusing on positive images of God being with you and dwelling on truths about His faithfulness to you. Trust is the foundation of your entire relationship with God, and this is an area you can make fabulous progress in right here in the midst of an easy life.

You don’t need to suffer horribly to progress in your walk with God. Depending on what His eternal plans for you are, you might never come close to going through the frightening trials that you hear other Christians talking about. The key is to remember that every soul is on their own individual walk with God, and we’re all heading to different destinations. It’s not about better and best, it’s about variety. God doesn’t want the same relationship dynamic with you that He has with someone else. He wants His bond with each one of us to be unique and special in its own way. What God has planned for you and Him is something that your soul is going to find absolutely thrilling because He has specifically designed you to want what He is planning to give you. It’s a wonderful set up which you are going to get the most out of because you have fully surrendered to Him.

FURTHER READING:
Understanding Refinement: Why Your Path is So Easy
Understanding Fear: The Power of Beliefs

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