In the Refiner's Fire - Part 2

“And have you forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons? ‘My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor be weary when reproved by him. For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives’ ” (Hebrews 12:5-6).

Let’s consider a few more uses of affliction in our life. First, remember God employs these measures to gain our attention and lead us to safety. We wage our battle in hostile territory since the devil holds sway over the entire world (1 John 5:19). While God uses His people to encourage us in the battle, our primary source of encouragement must come from God Himself. God uses pain and discomfort to wrest us away from dangerous paths we sometimes wander into. We think everything is fine and so cannot see the hidden danger. But God in His faithfulness sees that we need a wake-up call. He sometimes uses affliction to do this. Most of us live to thank God and consider His loving discipline a sign of His care for us.

Once we pass through the discipline or refining process, we grow in our faith. We taste the disappointment of wandering from God and then take measures not to go there again. Such growth does not occur all at once and, in fact, takes place throughout life. But God’s measures are effective and do accomplish His purposes. Lacking His loving discipline, we grow listless in our faith and our heart grows cool to the things of God.

The verses at top warn us not to grow weary when we are reproved by God. We risk fainting under the heavy hand, but must persevere remembering God’s good purpose for our life. He only disciplines in love and His love comes to us free of imperfections. He deals with us in perfect wisdom, knowing how much we can handle and what kind of spiritual medicine will heal our wounds. When we consider God’s plan, a plan that includes Fatherly discipline, we then understand the purpose behind the difficulties of life.

We must conclude with an exhortation: The evil one uses affliction for evil reasons and seeks to lead us away from God. God’s discipline heals us; Satan’s blows seek to destroy us. Let’s conclude with wise words from Peter:

“Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world” (1 Peter 5:8-9).

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