The other day I went for a walk around the pond behind our house. It was a day after a decent-sized storm went through, and for whatever reason, the pond was crystal clear. Typically, this pond is fairly murky, and it’s impossible to see the bottom clearly. But on this day, it was really different for some reason.
However, my enthusiasm for being able to see clearly to the bottom of our pond was short-lived, as I was able to see “less-desirable” things like pieces of a metal roof that had blown off of a barn nearby, fishing nets, toys, plastic bags… All of this was stuff that I would have just as soon kept hidden, as it didn’t enhance my view at all.
You probably see where I’m going with this, but we are currently living in a stormy situation in our world. And the storm has a way of clarifying things—some of which we would rather not see—about ourselves, our families, and our friends. First Peter 1:6-7 (NLT) says:
“So be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you must endure many trials for a little while. These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold – though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world.”
I love the analogy that Peter makes here. He says that our faith needs to be tested and purified, just like gold. See, the gold purification process basically involves pressure and heat. When those two elements are applied, the impurities surface so the goldsmith can clean them out. In a similar way, faith is not just tested. It is also purified, and that means we have a role to play. We cannot be passive in this process.
So, How Do We Participate?
You could say that the pond behind my house was “tested” by the storm and, as a result, the sediment cleared. However, that just cleared the water so we can now see what’s down there. The storm didn’t do anything to clean up the muck. It’s up to me to do the work of cleaning out what I now know lies on the bottom.
Friends, God is fiercely committed to exposing the trash that lies on the bottom of our hearts. He wants to make us more and more like him—a process called sanctification. He invites us to purify our hearts by his Spirit’s enabling power.
Maybe you are seeing the muck in your life with a renewed awareness or maybe you’ve been staring at it for a while, not sure quite what to do to get from where you are to where God wants you to be. I encourage you to consider the following questions that I’ve been pondering since my walk around our pond:
- What are you discovering on the bottom of the pond of your heart during this season?
- Have you made excuses to leave it there?
- Are you willing to exercise the faith you will need to clean it out?
My prayer is that we will not miss the unique opportunity we have to see what lies on the bottom of our hearts and to purify ourselves in this season. This will result in much praise and glory and honor when Jesus returns for his church.