Humility through Fire
According to God, He prizes and loves humility in his people. Throughout the Scriptures, He longs for humble people, personally meets with humble people, fulfills His will through humble people. Many of us feel this innate and correct desire to be humble. Humility is attractive, beneficial, and supernatural. Yet, humility cannot be taught or achieved by simply desiring to be humble. Humility must be experienced. Humility is the result of a man or woman going through fiery trials uniquely designed by his or her heavenly Father. When God prepares a person for a great work, He begins with his or her heart.
For the Lord to get to the man’s heart, He will turn up the furnace to purge all the self remaining in the man. In other words, He breaks the man. And when the man comes to the Lord broken and crying out, what remains of the man dies as the Lord comes alive. Only then will God allow him to taste a tiny glimpse of true humility.
Apart from hardships a man will never become more like Jesus.
A man with godly zeal and ambition will eventually walk through a furnace of fire so the Lord can purify his heart to truly serve Him. Often, the furnace is in the form of backlash and failure so God can expose the unseen idols lurking in the man’s heart. No matter how godly a person may look externally, no matter how Christ-centered the man’s dreams and visions may seem, within every person lies a hidden motive for self glory. This is why humility and, by extension, humiliation in the world serve as God’s tried-and-true method of training His servants.
To the man who wants to be used by God through his preaching, God will make his preaching feel weak, empty and ineffective. To the man who wants to be used by God with great leadership and vision, God will allow the man to fail miserably and, often, publicly. To the woman who wants to become successful in business, God will allow her to experience closed doors after closed doors. To the person who desires to do anything for the Lord, they must first be faced with opposition and rejection for God to do a deep cleansing of his soul.
To some, this may seem harsh. But the one who truly loves the Lord knows this is a gift from God. This gift is given only for the one who deeply desires to live for God’s glory. It is for this very reason the apostles rejoiced in their suffering. They knew their suffering gave them access into the heart of God. Every character in the Bible who was greatly used by the Lord went through this refiner's fire. Moses in the wilderness. Joseph in prison and slavery. Daniel in the lion's den. Hannah wrestling with barrenness. David on the run from Saul. For these ordinary people, their trying times were all a means for the Lord to raise them up to be true men and women of God. A means for them to die so that the Lord can live. A means for their pride to break so humility could arise.
Are you going through a hard time right now? Maybe you are having a hard time with some personal friendships. Or are you struggling with your job and career? Perhaps you have no idea what you are going to do with your life. Either way, you are in good company. This is what every great man and woman of God has experienced. It is a way for God to truly purify your heart and motives.
Today, no matter what you are going through, know that the Lord’s hand is on you. God is doing a good work in your life right now. Remember that true character is only refined and developed through the furnace. God is going through the inside of your heart to prepare you for what’s to come. I pray that you would trust Him and accept His invitation for His refinement in the fire. Make us more like You Lord!
"Before God can use a man greatly, He must first wound him deeply." -A. W. Tozer