Refiner’s Fire.

Integrity. It is a crucial factor in our Christian walk. It’s important to God, so much so that there are approximately eighteen verses about it in the book of Proverbs alone. Obviously, it’s a big deal to God. It’s also a big deal to me. Integrity is something I take very seriously and pride myself on and if my integrity is questioned, I generally don’t take that lying down. So, when I found out the other day that my integrity was being questioned, I was a tad upset. And by tad upset I mean I was mad.

I’m fairly laid back and when people say things about me, good or bad, it tends to roll off easily, but not so when it’s about my character and integrity. I try, in as best as I can, to live a God honoring life and when criticism comes my way, I can generally acknowledge it, give it to God and move on. But not this time. This time, knowing that it was around my integrity, it was a little harder to let go and for the days that followed, I found myself camped out in this field of hurt and anger and frustration.

I prayed about it and talked it out with a friend to make sure that I wasn’t lacking integrity and despite all their reassurances, it still stung and I was still hurt and wanted nothing more than to defend myself against, however I didn’t. I left and just processed it and stewed over it. Days later, as I was reading one of my devotional reading plans, I came across Malachi 3:2-3,

“But who can endure the day of his coming? Who can stand when he appears? For he will be like a refiner’s fire or a launderer’s soap. He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver; he will purify the Levites and refine them like gold and silver. Then the Lord will have men who will bring offerings in righteousness,”

“He will sit as a refiner and purifier….” As I sat and pondered this verse, I was reminded of my situation and wondered how God would be using it to refine me, and I came to realise that the situation wasn’t about the accusation at all, it was about my reaction to it. God wasn’t so much looking at what others were saying about me, but the way I responded to what others were saying about me, and that changed things, in a big way. It changed how I viewed the situation. I prayed about it and felt the comforting peace of God affirming my actions, and that was enough to help me let it go. God didn’t want me to go into battle over someone’s opinion, He wanted me to go to Him and find my worth in Him. This opinion of my lack of integrity wasn’t about me, it was about them and how they viewed the world, and that’s on them, not me, however what is on me is how I react and in that moment, I was thankful that I didn’t go charging in like a bull in a china shop trying to defend my honour because I didn’t need to; God knew who I was, so He would defend me and that was all that mattered.

There will always be people who will say negative or hurtful or untrue things about us; unfortunate but true however when that happens s to us, what are we going to do about? Are we going to charge in and defend ourselves against the lies, or are we going to look to God, our Creator and perfecter, and seek His opinion? What I should have done straight away is go to God and ask Him who I was? Ask Him, the One that knit me together in my mother’s womb, what He thought of me. Because at the end of the day, it’s not about anyone other than Him. His opinion is the only one that counts and He tells me that I am fearfully and wonderfully made. He tells me that I am created in His image. He tells me that I am loved and that love is worth so much more than the opinion of people.

The enemy will always try to shift our focus from God with lies and accusations but the good news is that we don’t have to play into his hands because we have a Father in Heaven that has promised to defend and protect us. We have a Saviour that tells us to look to Him for our worth and identity because He defeated death so that we could have life in Him. And we have a Comforter that, when we allow Him, will always make our paths straight.  May we always be people who walk in that victory and assurance.

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