The woodworker sands, edges and cuts as he makes his creation. This sanding, edging, and cutting are an aching process; yet, it makes a useful vessel of service. Likewise, the discipline of the Lord may not be pleasant, but it sure is beneficial! It drives out everything ugly within us and makes us ever so beautiful!
Just as death to the body is inevitable, death to our old nature and desires are mandatory.
Whom God has called He whittles, He edges, and He cuts. He refines with the tools that do their best work in and through us. When the process of fine-tuning is underway, we may only see…
incessant demands and
These all seem to make for a very frustrating life. But these are also useful in breaking the prideful soul and creating a dependent and sacrificing servant of the Lord. If used well, they can make us more sensitive to others; they create a raw understanding of those who hurt. These bitter undertakings can make us useful in God’s kingdom. They can make the weak strong and the equip the inexperienced. Thy can make the narcissist charitable and the angry peaceful. These types of transformations do not come easy. They come by the hammer.
We are so tempted to run from the Father’s discipline. We may create obstacles that avoid the enhancement to our new self:
For example, some of us are inconsistent with our service and our commitment. When the going gets tough, we quit. We bail out of our responsibilities. Did you know that inconsistency is harmful to the growing soul? While change is good, it does damage when it’s constant. Infused constant change can be a form of escaping the needful patience that allows for growth. Like the one who is inconsistent, some flit from one opportunity to another. Some may even indulge into meaningless and harmful escapes. All of this diminishes any value to our walk with the Lord and makes a great vacuum for shallow existence.
I like how David Roper illustrates our avoidance to God’s discipline. He likens it to our weak perspective of God’s love, which often focuses only on the comfortable and the pleasant.
“We have crude thoughts of God’s love. We picture Him soothing us, shielding us from harm, bearing us up to heaven on…” While this is a picture of God’s great refuge and strength, to camp here would be incomplete of God’s activity of love in our life.
Roper continues the other side, “We harbor no thought of the stern and robust reality of love that employs the file, the forge, the hammer, the anvil; a seasoned love that can sustain the discipline by which everything false is driven out of us, and we are made true. Such a love teaches us to say no to ungodliness, and worldly passions and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age.”
I have seen too many run from God’s hammer (me included). When we do this, we end up living feeble and spiritless lives. We are indifferent to the mighty grace of God. We never know the confidence of God’s power working through us like we would if we would just persevere around the bend of our troubles in Holy Spirit’s victory. Instead of being forged in great strength, we remain lukewarm and wanting for more.
Don’t go the way of the crowd. Emerge out from the norm and be a victor of great accomplishment. Your life will be richer, deeper, and potent. If you embrace the file of our Savior, you will never want to return to the old stale life again. Indeed, you will ask the Lord to file more! Once you have arrived on the other side, it will become quite clear that the old life was the reason for your lack of vigor and hope.
My friend, if you have found yourself under the hammer of love by our Great God, then take refuge in this promise: God is a helper who is always found at the time of your trouble. (Psalm 46:1).
The Psalmist says, “We will not fear though the earth trembles and the mountains topple into the depths of the seas though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with its turmoil. There is a river – its streams delight the city of God, the holy dwelling place of the Most High. God is within her; she will not be toppled” (Psalm 46:2-5).
You will not be toppled, my friend! This troubling circumstance that you are facing will not bring you down. Your life may very well seem out of control. But the Psalmist reminds us that God, who holds all power, is the One, who can calm the storm. Nevertheless, His calm only comes our way when His formation of truth in you and me is found complete.
It is not a matter of if the storms of life will hit; it’s when. And when the anxiety of this discipline is so great, I plead with you to embrace the sail – the One, who works the good from what seems like the bad. Don’t just look at the sickness, loneliness, anxiety, incessant demands, and mundane tasks; take hold of Yahweh of Hosts who lives within you, He is the God of Jacob, our ever present stronghold. He is wise, and He knows what is needed for you to cross over from the life of wanting to the life of plenty.
As the poet, Dale Martin Stone reflects,
“He uses whom He chooses
And with every purpose fuses us;
By every act induces us
To try His splendor out-
God knows what He’s about!”
Stop your striving – embrace your future with faith. Fear God. For there is hope in His hammer!