I read an article the other day where a fairly well-known Christian artist (at least well-known and Christian about 8 years ago) was talking with the interviewer about her choice to live outside of the teaching of the Bible, to live how she desired to live in her heart. As I sat and read the words of imagined liberty and freedom she thought she had in choosing her own way when it just seemed too difficult or unrealistic to follow what God had said, it saddened me. How foolish and prideful do we have to be to openly declare our way to be better than God’s? I’ve heard it said before that the danger of the church of today is we ask just for belief and not obedience. And how true that can be!
See, in many Christian circles we like to make God so approachable and loving that we choose to remove the idea of conviction and correction. I mean, God is supposed to be our best friend and there is this wonderful freedom we find in grace, right?! And for too many Christians a loving, friendly, gracious God will let us find our own way even if that means going in direct opposition of what He’s made quite clear. Somehow a “good” God apparently wants our happiness over our fulfillment.
Have you ever thought of the difference between the two? Is it possible to be unhappy at times while remaining fulfilled? And is it possible to have moments of happiness while not being fulfilled?
A chisel will work wonders at breaking down walls and at making larger problems into smaller ones. A boulder is made into a pile of pebbles. If needed, a large chisel could even be a tool of choice in setting trapped miners free. It’s an important tool. But only when it’s sharp.
To get the best results out of a chisel it must be sharpened, and the way they do this is by using a grindstone. A round sandstone rock will be spun and the chisel pushed up against it so that the tiny bits of sand can remove the dulled edges and the extra material keeping the chisel from being sharp and useful.
And this is what I’ve found, that too many times when the grindstone of God’s Word comes to sharpen us we are tempted to believe that He’s just throwing guilt and condemnation at us for all of our mistakes. We feel we just can’t live up to the expectations He has, and we choose to just back away from the grindstone. Of course, we don’t get sharpened but then again we don’t get the pain.
There is pain in perfecting. The chisel needs to have that friction and that removal to be sharp again. And you and I are in desperate need of being sharpened by God as well. Not a single one of us will be able to face the obstacles and challenges of life without allowing God to daily sharpen and refine us.
Is God fair to ask so much of us? To put us up to the grindstone so “harshly” like that?
Or wouldn’t God be incredibly unfair — if we want to talk about “unfair” — if He said He loved us and yet did not want was best for us in the long run?
The world has enough dulled people living for themselves. I choose to be an exception, to be sharp!