Over The last few months God has been showing me more and more just how much I need to be squeezed. I’m not talking about the squeeze as in the affectionate hug, I’m talking about a squeeze as in a cleansing squeeze. You know, like a sponge you are trying to rinse after washing the tires on the car. I’m talking about a pressing, molding, kneading by the hand of God to the point that I am no longer the same man I was before. Not that any of us really think we have arrived, but sometimes we think we have at least began to see the destination in some areas of our lives. It is at that moment that God reaches down and rinses some of that self-reliant dirty water out our minds and souls.
God is showing me how His squeezing removes from me things that have been stored up inside for some time. Those areas of ministry, family, study etc, that just stay where they are and I’m fine with them. I understand them just fine and they love me. Not that they are wrong or sinful, well not all of them, but they are content. But what I am learning is that if I am to expand in my faith, I must be willing to feel the burden of being rinsed so that there will be “room” for growth.
Just like a sponge; we are ready to absorb when we are dry, but a damp sponge can never fully absorb a “new” liquid, until the old liquid is finally ringed out. And don’t think of this metaphor as me saying that what we already have or know from God or His word is dirty, but it can become stale. We can get to where our testimony of God’s hand in our lives starts out with, “last month God showed me…” That’s a sad choice of words for a child of God. What is God showing us right now? Well, for me, God is showing me that sanctification comes in all shapes, sizes, ages and smells. Most of all, He brings about sanctification through trial and burden.
God’s sanctification of His children, though not pleasant at times, is always joyful. It’s joyful because the more He rinses us in His grace, the more like Him we become. Then our hearts grow weary of the flesh and the world and we crave for more of His holiness in our lives. We strive to run from sin and jump into His hand of discipline that shapes us into the saints that He has declared us to be.
The reality of growing in our walk with Christ comes through the squeezes or the rinses of trial, fire and sin. When we sin, God disciplines us, corrects us and shows us our wickedness and reminds us of His grace given through the flesh of Jesus Christ. When we face a trial or temptation, God provides us with the power to overcome the world through Christ. We are people created for His glory and His workings in our lives are forever near. The pressures of this world are not really something that we should pray against, for God to remove, but rather endure and run into the fire so that God would be shown glorious!
Through fire, the dross is burned and new growth emerges. Through death, a seed brings forth life. Through the tearing down of muscle comes great strength, such is the outcome of our faith when it is tested, burned and tried. Christ is our hope, He is our resolve, His grace is sufficient, but we would never know the reality of such glorious power without the burdens of this world to test our affections, actions and attitudes.
Be strong in the Lord today, hold on as God squeezes more and more of the world out of you to form you into what He has already declared you to be: holy. When we are fully dry and empty of our flesh, our sin and the affections of this world, then He dips us ever so deeply into the flowing blood of Christ to experience the remarkable and extravagant grace of His ineffable love.
4 In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. 5 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. 6 For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives.” 7 It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline? 8 If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. 9 Besides this, we have had earthly fathers who disciplined us and we respected them. Shall we not much more be subject to the Father of spirits and live? 10 For they disciplined us for a short time as it seemed best to them, but he disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness. 11 For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.
For His Glory by His Grace,