And some who are most gifted in the things of God will stumble in those days and fall, but this will only refine and cleanse them and make them pure until the final end of their trials, at God’s appointed time.
We’ve all heard stories of famous celebrities and athletes at the pinnacle of their careers, gifted with incredible talent and success, who make reckless decisions causing them to stumble and fall. Like sharks in a feeding frenzy, the media quickly exploits these stories to an audience eager for any morsel of juicy details.
There are even biblical examples from our Superstars of Faith who stumbled:
- Noah became shamelessly drunk on wine.
- Abraham doubted God would give him and Sarah a son, so he took matters into his own hands and fathered a child with Hagar.
- Moses lost his temper and disobeyed God’s instructions, costing him the chance to enter the Promised Land.
- David committed adultery and had a man murdered to cover up his transgression.
- Peter denied that he ever knew Christ.
We don’t have to be famous to find ourselves in the same types of situations.
We’re all imperfect humans, capable of missteps along the way. Our mistakes aren’t always reported in the judgmental view of the public eye or recorded in the Bible for generations of people to read, but we often find ourselves under the microscope of shame in our own eyes, feeling completely defined by our failures.
For believers, God uses these painful experiences to refine us.
The industrial process of refinement takes a substance with imperfections and impurities, purifying it to its most usable form. The spiritual process of refinement works the same way, only God purifies our lives to bring us to our most usable form for His kingdom.
Refinement removes our impurities.
When we emerge on the other side of the refinement process, we are cleansed and polished, more perfectly suited for God’s call on our lives. Without the cloudy imperfections, we shine for God’s glory!
As children of God, our Refining Moments don’t have to be our Defining Moments.
Noah, Abraham, Moses, David and Peter are famous for their faithfulness to God and their work in His kingdom ~ NOT for their failures. Their Refining Moments were not their Defining Moments!
God promises that He can make all things – even our failures – work together for good in the lives of His children. (Romans 8:28) He wants to use every detail of our story for His glory ~ even the times when we stumble and fall.
Pure gold put in the fire comes out of it proved pure; genuine faith put through this suffering comes out proved genuine. When Jesus wraps this all up, it’s your faith, not your gold, that God will have on display as evidence of his victory. 1 Peter 1:7 – 9 (MSG)
And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them. Romans 8:28 (NLT)