Friday, July 03, 2009

Testing Part Three: Sifting

imageLuke 22:31, 32

And the Lord said, "Simon, Simon! Indeed, Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren."

When I worked in Sudan, we bought grain, beans, and rice in bulk; it came in 100 pound bags. The grain was whole. It was bagged up husks and all. I had to have it ground.

The mill was in a hut that was built around a big diesel engine salvaged from some broken down truck. The grinder was hitched up to the flywheel. The grain would be weighed and then ground.

After the grain was ground, I'd deliver to the ladies who worked in the kitchen. They dumped the grain onto a tarp. Another tarp was spread out next to the first, and the grain from the first tarp was held up high over and then dumped onto the empty tarp. The wind would carry away the coarse husks covering the edible kernel, the nutritious heart of the grain.

The process of sifting removes the coarsest part of the grain. What remained was nourishing, filling and satisfying. It was consumable.

There needs to be a process for which coarseness is removed from our lives as well.

Because Peter needed refining, God permitted Satan to sift him.

God brings sifting and testing in our lives to purify us so that He may be magnified in our lives.

God uses infinite ways to test us. The following is not an inclusive list of the tests God will use to refine us by any stretch of the imagination. They are just a few Biblical examples. But God has a never ending supply of ways to refine each one of us for His own unparalleled purpose for our lives.

What is God developing in us as He tests us?

  • Submission of one’s will to God’s will (time test)
  • Humility (Word test)
  • The trying and refining of inner attitudes (character test)
  • Increase of glory to God (motivation test)
  • Purifying of motives (servant test)
  • Deepening of one’s message (misunderstanding test)

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