Welcome to part 2 of The Refiner’s Fire
In the last post, we discussed whether the healing journey and the refiner’s fire are synonymous. I personally believe they are 2 separate things, yet with similarities.
(If you haven’t read the last post, please do so here.)
Today we look at the ways in which we can cooperate with God whilst either on a healing journey or going through the refiner’s fire.
Even if you are believing God for healing, you may still find yourself in the refiner’s fire.
THE REFINER’S FIRE
Are there people in your life that just don’t understand what you’re going through? Perhaps they think your suffering is minor?
Have you found that since you’ve been ill, some people have turned their back on you? It’s hurtful isn’t it, when you’re so limited yet others continue to live their lives around you.
I mentioned in my last post that God doesn’t give or allow sickness, but He does allow people to disappoint and hurt us.
We are not redeemed from the behaviour of others, setbacks, frustrations or irritations. These are the situations that God allows to refine our character.
But we can rest assured, if God isn’t changing the situation, He will grace us for it.
Today I give 6 tips that will help us if we find ourselves in the furnace of affliction and they will also help us with our healing.
1. SEE YOUR SITUATION FROM GOD’S PERSPECTIVE
Human nature tends to focus on the problem and how it impacts us and makes us feel. But this just reinforces the issue.
When we see our situation in light of the bigness of our God, we can see that the God in us is so much greater.
Whether you’re in the furnace of affliction or living with illness, seeing your situation through this lens will help us see the bigger picture and not get caught up with the horror that sickness can cause or the discomfort you experience in the refiner’s fire.
We only know our lives this side of Heaven where our understanding is limited, but God is concerned with the eternal.
The plan He has for each of us is an eternal one and He knows the end from the beginning.
He sees the person you’re becoming and the blessings He has stored up. We’re asked to not lean on our own understanding but to trust in Him always.
My church pastor once said ‘the depth of the pit, prophecies the height of the platform;” so if you feel in the pit right now, remember Joseph and try to see it from God’s perspective.
He has a plan and He hasn’t forgotten us.
2. DRAW CLOSER TO GOD
I don’t believe for a second that drawing closer to God is a purpose in the healing journey.
“God never uses evil to correct or draw us to Him.” A. Wommack
However, if you find yourself in this place, it’s the best thing you can do. When we journey through difficult times, we have a choice. We can either abandon God and decide to go through life without Him, or we can draw closer.
The fact you are reading this shows that you are believing God for a breakthrough.
You could choose to walk away from your faith during your struggles, but this guarantees defeat. Whether you’re on a healing journey, or in the refiner’s fire recognise your dependence on God.
Respond to the invitation. I personally get comfort knowing He understands and that He’s my ever-present help.
Joseph Prince says ‘Even a groan reaches the throne’ so if you’re too ill to get out of bed, know that you are not alone and God is with you.
You can still connect with Him, even if you can’t verbalise actual words.
John Bevere says that it is during the Wilderness seasons that we develop a real hunger for the Word. Drawing close means seeing the Word of God as medicine and daily food.
3. SIT WITH THE DISCOMFORT
No one likes discomfort but as athletes know, ‘no pain, no gain’. It’s meant to be painful.
If you’ve raised a child, you’ll know that they throw tantrums when they don’t get what they want.
As adults, we are meant to grow out of this.
If we distract ourselves, complain, ignore the pain or try and get rid of it, then we are in resistance. ‘what we resist, persists!’. When we learn to sit with it and befriend it, the discomfort will get less and less as time progresses.
This is surrender.
I love the analogy of the pearl that Joel Osteen mentions in his messages.
A grain of sand gets stuck in the oyster and causes irritation. It’s painful for the oyster and it rubs away at it, trying to get rid.
In doing so, after much pain, a beautiful pearl is formed. John Bevere teaches that when you’re in the refiner’s fire, you need to ‘die quickly’, rather than trying to resist what God is doing.
(Tip no 3, is really directed at those in the refiner’s fire.)
4. THE RENEWING OF THE MIND
I often talk about the things in our lives which might be destructive to both the healing and the refining process.
I feel it’s important to recognise that we don’t need to change these things in our own strength. It is not willpower, positive thinking or self-help books that change us.
As we meditate on Scripture and become Christ-conscious, the power of the Holy Spirit transforms us in the areas that need to change.
We need the Word for both our healing journeys and for the process of refining.
The word sinks into our hearts and changes us from the inside out. It then becomes effortless. It is not about striving or even trying, it’s about beholding.
I love the passage of Jesus washing the disciples’ feet. As we walk on this path of life, we attract ‘dust and dirt’. The best way to clean these away is through the washing of the water of the word.
Sometimes it might be sin, sometimes it might just be faulty programming, character traits, bad habits and lack of true authenticity.
On the healing journey, these things may dilute our faith and rob the world of our authenticity.
They may also dysregulate our nervous systems making healing unlikely.
Our triggers serve as messengers, revealing the areas within us that require divine healing – past traumas and wounds.
In the furnace of affliction, and on the healing journey our impurities or sins become obvious and are washed away when we repeatedly allow Scripture to renew our minds.
casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, 2 Cor 10:5
REFINING THROUGH SCRIPTURE
The Bible says that everything God needs to refine us is found in Scripture. This means God doesn’t need to use sickness etc to teach us lessons, improve or refine us.
All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness;
2 Tim 3:16
God can bring about such changes without the help of sickness. And He is certainly not the cause of illness.
In my opinion, He would rather we learn our lessons and grow from the reading of the Word, than any challenging life situation. This would be His perfect ideal for us.
Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you—unless, of course, you fail the test? 2 Cor 13:5
The more self-aware we are of our shortcomings, any area within us that contradicts who we are in Christ, we may prevent the need for God to refine us through life circumstances.
Diagram inspired by Andrew Wommack Ministries
5. STAY IN YOUR OWN LANE
In other words, quit comparing yourself to others. It’s easy to look around and see the journey of others and think that we must need more refining or they have more faith etc, but in all fairness, each healing journey and each refining process is unique
I think that’s why it’s so difficult to teach.
What God may lead you into or even say to you, may not be the same as your neighbour. Likewise, some illnesses are naturally short-lived or easily treated by doctors.
Some people have a history of trauma or perhaps they have an adverse environment they can’t change.
We know from studies on brain retraining that the longer a situation continues, the harder it is to even imagine anything different.
It’s unfair therefore to compare.
6. WATCH YOUR MOUTH
Our words are Life or Death and we get to choose. The more we complain and talk about all the things which are unfair or painful, the more they’re likely to continue.
This is true for all difficult situations, whether it be illness or a refining situation. Scripture teaches that the result of refining is that we speak God’s promises to each other.
In Job 23:12 he says “I have treasured the words of his mouth more than my daily bread.”
When we journey through difficult times, whether it is a sickness or other type of trauma, are we speaking the Word of God to one another?
Talking about our feelings only gets us so far.
It might soothe us in the moment, but doesn’t last long. Can we switch over to speaking His Word, not just over ourselves but to one another?
The key is to value it. When you value something, you’re more likely to effortlessly talk about it.
God uses our situations, both good and bad, as a part of His plan for our lives. He knew in advance the sicknesses or difficulties we will face.
This does not mean though that God caused the sickness or led us into illness. Nor does it mean He is testing us for a divine purpose.
In fact, it is not even His will we are sick.
We may even develop the desire to support others as a result of our journey and God may already have weaved this into His plan.
I tend to think that the results of refining are the same as the results of cooperating on a healing journey.
You could say I’m referring to the spoils of war.
The purpose of the refiner’s fire is to purify us from sin, hindrances and ‘flaws’ so we shine and glorify God.
Whereas there is no ‘divine’ purpose in sickness. During this season, however, God heals and restores us back to the person He always intended us to be.
As He heals, our bodies come back into alignment.
The outcome is that we will, by default, shine brightly when we show up as God always intended
Do you think the refiner’s fire and the healing journey are synonymous? is it just a question of definition and semantics? Do you have your own tips for the refiner’s fire process?
Perhaps you think God wills you to be sick or that there is a divine purpose in your suffering.
I hope today’s post will give you food for thought and help you on your journey with Christ
If this has helped you, take a read of