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Refiner's Fire...

It’s me again God.

{chuckles} Cynthia, it cracks me up when you say that.

When I say what?

When you announce to me that it is you. That just tickles me. You do know that I know everything, right? You know, I even knew that we would have this conversation.

Yeah, I guess I forget about that because you make it so easy to talk to you, and I start thinking that you are like me, still trying to figure things out.

No, it is pretty much impossible for me not to know everything, seeing how all things exist through me, by me, and for me.

{smiling} Now it sounds like you are bragging God.

I am. But I would not have to brag if you all would brag for me. You know that bragging on me is a form of praise, right?

Yes, I know God.

And when you praise me it allows us to be closer.

Yes, God. I know that your presence is stronger when I praise you. And I know that I should be praising you more but lately I feel like you may not want to hear from me. I mean, I have not been the best person lately.

How so Cynthia? Why don’t you tell me what it is that you think you are going through?

Well, that’s just it, God. I am not going through anything. But you would not know that from how I have been acting and thinking. And it is my fault because I know better than to do some of the things that I have been doing. The problem is that I can’t seem to stop myself from doing them when I am in the moment.

Doing what Cynthia? Give me an example.

Well, for one thing I have been very impatient with people and I feel like snapping their heads off when they say things that seem stupid to me. I know I should be longsuffering with people, but I just don’t have the strength for it right now. It seems like everything and everybody gets on my nerves. I know that I prayed for friends, but these days I just want to be left alone. I don’t even have the heart to witness to people.

Do you feel like you should be witnessing to people Cynthia?

Yes, I do. I know that I should at least be nice to people. I should treat then the way that I want to be treated. But I find myself being extra critical these days and I don’t have any capacity to feel sorry for people, even though I know that they do not know you. I feel naked almost, like someone stripped away all my protection and my emotions are fully exposed to the devil to be manipulated at will. Does this make sense God?

It sounds to me like you are feeling out of control. Is that right Cynthia?

Yes! That is right. I know what I want to do and what I want to say, but it feels like just when I am about to do or say the right thing, then I find myself doing or saying the opposite instead. I want to love people, because how can I love you if I don’t love people?

But Cynthia, you said that you want to love. Is that right?

Yes, I do!

Well if you want to love but you are not able to love, what do you think may be the cause of your inability to love?

I don’t know and I was hoping that you could help me to understand. Can you? I mean Will you?

Cynthia, I am glad that you know enough to come to me about this. if any man lacks wisdom, he should ask me because I will freely give wisdom to anyone that ask. I want everyone to have wisdom, but even more than that, I want you all to have understanding.

Thank you, God. So, can you help me understand what is wrong with me?

I can and I will. But first let me explain that everything concerning you is going exactly as I had planned.

It is?

Yes, Cynthia, it is.

So, you want me to not love people?

No, I do want you to love people. But I also want you to be sensitive to sin in your life and able to sense when all is not well.

Ok, God. I think I need some more to go on here.

We’ll remember when we were talking about you growing more mature so that I could talk to you about more than just everyday needs and wants?

Yes, you said you wanted me to be able to handle meat instead of always having to feed me milk. How does that fit in here?

Yes, well remember in my word that it says strong meat belongs to those that are mature, those that by reason of exercise have their senses trained to discern both good and evil.

I do remember. That is in one of my favorite books, the book of Hebrews.

Ok, how do you suppose your Spiritual senses are trained?

I don’t know. I don’t suppose you have a Spiritual fitness center that should sign up for, do you?

I do, and you are already enrolled.

I am? But how can it do me any good if I never knew about it?

Oh, you know about it, you just don’t see it for what it really is. Cynthia, my fitness center is the world system that you live in and the Holy Spirit is the trainer. My Holy Spirit is able to guide you into every work out session that I have planned for you to develop your Spiritual senses. Just as your earthly instructors are trained to encourage you to press toward the goal, my Holy Spirit knows how to encourage you to push past your limits and strive for righteousness. He knows just how much you can take, and He knows you more than you know yourself.

OK I get it… But wait! you said the fitness center is the world system. I thought the World system is evil and we are to have no part with it. I thought this was the devil’s domain.

Think about it, Cynthia. I could hardly train you to discern evil where there is no evil, now could I?

I guess that’s right. So, does that mean that you let the devil bother me on purpose?

Well that is partially right. More accurately, you should know that the devil is always trying to get to you and everyone else on earth. He does not prefer anyone over the other. He hates you all the same. But those that have spent their whole lives in darkness don’t know that it is dark. Darkness only looks dark when you have light to compare it with. Does that make sense?

I guess so, but I still don’t see how this all relate to how I have been feeling lately?

Cynthia, think about the remorse that you are feeling lately because of your lack of compassion, then think back to before you were born again. Did you ever feel this type of remorse then?

I think I did sometimes, like I would feel bad thinking that I had let my parents down or something.

You mean your conscience started to bother you about certain things, right?

Exactly, I had a guilty conscience.

Cynthia, that is not guilt.

It’s not?

No. The voice of your conscience, which is designed to operate according to the Holy Spirit, can reach you when you first decide to do something that you know not to do. However, it is very important to take heed to that voice as these are the promptings of the Holy Spirit. If you ignore your conscience long enough, you will start to feel justified in your actions and you will convince yourself that you have every right to do whatever it is that you were trying not to do. I call the ignoring of the Holy Spirit “walking in your flesh.” When you walk in your flesh, you grieve the holy Spirit.

Oh wow, have I been grieving the Holy Spirit, God? Have I been walking in my flesh?

Cynthia, if you were grieving the Holy Spirit, we would not be talking right now. But you should know that my Holy Spirit will not always strive with a person to keep them from destroying themselves. Those that have managed to shut down their conscience completely are no longer concerned about sin in their lives. This is because they have grieved my Holy Spirit to the point that I do not have input into their lives anymore. As a born-again believer, you must understand that your response to the Holy Spirit determines if you will walk in the Spirit, and have fellowship with me and obey the Holy Spirit, or walk in the flesh and be open for the deception of my enemy Satan.

Ok, I get that God, but you said that everything with me is going according to plan. What did you mean?

I mean that you are allowing my Holy Spirit to prompt you on a deeper level than you used to. You are starting to easily recognize when your actions are those of the flesh, and you are quick to acknowledge when you are wrong. This means that you are letting my Holy Spirit refine you with the fire of my Word. The goal of the Holy Spirit is to get my people to hate the works of the flesh and the sin that it produces. The more that you study my Word and draw near to me, the more you will be purified in your natural body. The circumstances that present themselves to you are designed to give you an opportunity to become very accustomed to how the flesh behaves and very skilled to allowing the holy Spirit to take control in those situations. Malachi calls this the refiner’s fire. The Word says,

Behold, I send My messenger, and he will prepare the way before Me. And the Lord, whom you seek, will suddenly come to His temple, even the Messenger of the covenant, in whom you delight. Behold, He is coming,” says the Lord of hosts. But who can endure the day of His coming? And who can stand when He appears? For He is like a refiner’s fire and like launderers’ soap. He will sit as a refiner and a purifier of silver; He will purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer to the Lord an offering in righteousness.

Makes sense right, Cynthia?

I think so God. I believe you are saying that when I feel like I am in a battle with my flesh, this is a test for me to see if I will be able to submit to the Holy Spirit. Is that right?

Yes Cynthia. You may recall what was written in my Word, “If you do the things that you do not want to do, it is no longer you that does them but sin that is in you.”

Yes, that is in Romans. Are you saying that as we yield to the Holy Spirits promptings, we can stop sinning with our flesh?

Yes, Cynthia, you are correct. You see, there is always the choice to make between the walking in the Spirit and fulfilling the desires of God or walking in the flesh and fulfilling the desires of the world. But I have given you my Holy Spirit to be your teacher and to get you accustomed to walking in the Spirit and resisting the appetites of your flesh. The enemy would like to use your flesh as a way to stunt your growth, but as you learn to resist your flesh, the enemy will start to run from you. My Holy Spirit will allow you to experience those situations that are designed to train your senses to recognize the works of your flesh. This is how you switch from defensive mode - defending yourself from the enemy, to offensive mode - having the enemy running from you. Likewise, my Son was able to say that the enemy was not able to find anything in Him (John 14:30). It is because he had allowed the Holy Spirit to refine or burn away His fleshly desires.

So, the Holy Spirit already knew that I was going to be tempted?

Yes, but He will never allow you to be unwittingly trapped by the tempter. He will always present you with the opportunity to do what is right.

Ok, I think that I get it now. And somehow, knowing that this is a test makes it seem less scary and awkward. I just need to respond according to what you have told me in Your Word, and it will all be alright.

Exactly! Just remember Cynthia, that anyone that desires to overcome the works of the flesh, must endure the refiner’s fire.

I will remember, thank you for giving me wisdom and understanding today God.

Thank you for asking Cynthia. I love you.

I love you too God. Holy Spirit, refine away…

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