Around this time of year I like to come up with one word that summarizes what I believe God has been up to the past year in my life.
For 2014, the word I think that best fits:
This has been a year that has burned with fires of testing.
Fires in my family.
Fires in my church.
Fires in my marriage.
Fires in my friendships.
Fires testing my devotion and obedience to God; testing whether I would listen and obey His voice when so many others were telling me to do or speak differently.
Burning here, raging there.
One thing the Lord has confirmed to me through it all… it’s one thing to know truth theoretically – it’s another to know truth through experience.
Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials,
knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance.
This is a scripture that I have heard and seen a thousand times. One that we are likely to see on a coffee mug, or framed and mounted on a wall in our favorite Christian book store or coffee shop. One of the first scriptures that many of us probably memorized. One that we are quick to recite while comforting others who are fighting giants of trial and pain.
I know this scripture very well. Yet, over the past few months the Lord has breathed a new wind of it’s significance into the current of my life.
Testing is painful. Discipline is not fun in the moment.
No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. (Hebrews 12:11a)
It means I have to acknowledge sin, unbelief, disobedience or any other ugliness in my heart and life. It means I have to allow the Lord to press, shape, mold, bend, burn away and cleanse. Many times it’s for a result and purpose that is unknown in the moment.
However, the benefits to God’s refining far outweighs it’s burdens.
Through testing we are purified and prepared.
No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful.
Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness
and peace for those who have been trained by it.
The thing about testing – it tests us! It gets me ready for the next thing the Lord wants to do in me and through me. I’m excited to see what He has in store for me this next year as a result of what he has brought me through this past year!
If we let Him lead us, we can walk through fire and not get burned, and will exit the other side with a refining glow of preparation and purity.
So yes, testing is painful. But I welcome it!
He has given me a deeper awareness of the joy that not only awaits me on the other side of it, but also the joy that is mine in the midst of it.
I would love to hear from you!!!!!!!!!!
What is your ‘one word’ for 2014?
What has the Lord been up to in your life this past year?