Refined by the Fire

Philippians 1:1-6

1Paul and Timothy, bond-servants of Christ Jesus, To all the saints in Christ Jesus who are in Philippi, including the overseers and deacons:

2Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

3I thank my God in all my remembrance of you,

4always offering prayer with joy in my every prayer for you all,

5in view of your participation in the gospel from the first day until now.

6For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.

As I begin to look into Paul’s letter to the Philippians, I want to make note of some things. Again, Paul is writing from prison, one that is under Roman guard. Paul’s relationship with the church of Philippi has been a close one and my study bible notes that this is the most personal letter of Paul that is in the bible. The church of Philippi, which he founded, has supported him financially (they say “gifts”) and this letter is in response to one of the gifts they have sent him.

I thank god for the warm welcome today’s passage brings as I am struggling with some stresses and fatigue today. It’s always comforting to read kind words. Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

As I prepare to read my testimony this coming Friday, I am being reminded that everyone is where God wants them to be in life for His purpose. It’s very easy to lose sight of this. We look at others with disdain, scoffing at their actions or words as if we are better than them. In that sense, we’re actually worse.

I need to remember more often that we are all unique, not just in how we are made, but how we are today. Our past hurts and current struggles in life tend to define us. It isn’t until we get through those struggles that it seems more and more that God defines us. As we work through our struggles, our hurts, our habits, and our hang-ups, we become “refined in the fire” like a samurai sword. Over and over again we are heated and hammered out to become a unique and detailed instrument to be used by the most skilled of swordsman, Christ.

This is why we should embrace our struggles and look at them as an opportunity to better ourselves for Christ. When I was in boot camp, I realized there was a purpose for EVERYTHING. The repetitiveness of seemingly worthless “mind games” had a reason. Part of my survival in boot camp was trying to figure out why we were doing what we were doing. I couldn’t always figure it out: some things were revealed to me upon graduation. Some things I still wonder about. Regardless, there was a reason for it. There are two things we can do with that. 1) we can take comfort knowing that one day we will need what we are going through now to survive something in the future or 2) we can whine about it, get depressed or angry, blame God for the misfortune and grumble on through life.

What fire are you in today and how do you plan to use it?

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