Proverbs 17 3-17-20

Who would have thought that this St. Patrick’s Day would bring such panic and chaos? God is still on His throne!

3 The crucible for silver and the furnace for gold, but the LORD tests the heart.

History: St. Patrick lived during the fifth century. When he was 16, he was captured and enslaved by Irish pirates. After six years, he escaped and returned to his family. After studying for the ministry, HE RETURNED TO IRELAND! He is given credit for evangelizing Ireland and “converting a society practising a form of Celtic polytheism (Wikipedia),” one which ruled the people through fear of the gods. God used the circumstances of young Patrick’s life to give him exposure to those who needed the Gospel. Wow!

What is interesting to me is that it sounds like America today! Our nation, and indeed, the world, is being ruled by fear right now. How should we, as Christians, view this present crisis? God uses EVERY circumstance for our good.

28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28

This verse is a good one to memorize. Just note that God works for our good; He doesn’t necessarily CAUSE bad things to happen in order to work them for our good. We can simply rest in the knowledge that God has our lives in His capable hands. It’s the next verse that gives me great comfort:

29 For those God foreknew he also predestined [worked out ahead of time] to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters.

THIS is the goal of God for our lives. Therefore, we can rest assured that in EVERYTHING that happens to us, God is using it to make us more like Christ. How smooth that transition is depends upon our willingness to relinquish control. Speaking of which, I was led to look up the definition of the word, “subdue.”

Subdue-

  1. To conquer and bring into subjection;
  2. to overpower by superior force, overcome;
  3. to bring under control;
  4. to bring under cultivation;
  5. to reduce intensity, force, or vividness = to soften.

In our Christian lives, we are to conquer our sinful nature and bring it into subjection; we are to overpower by superior force the “old man” within us and overcome the tendencies of our deceitful hearts; we are to bring under control our thoughts, and to cultivate His thoughts; we are to reduce the intensity, force, and vividness of sin in our lives by softening our natures to be like Christ, who is humble, gentle, and long suffering, WITHOUT muting our zeal for the LORD (Romans 12:11).

Concerning our present circumstances, let us allow the Spirit to allay our fears, which means to calm and quieten our spirits. Let us redeem the time by using it to increase our family time, our devotion time, and our worship. We might have to get creative, but all the better as the Spirit leads us!

LORD, You know I can’t subdue my heart on my own. In fact, I must be in complete obedience to You (Your Spirit), otherwise, I will miss the whole point of the exercise, which is learning to reign like You WITH You (2 Tim. 2:12a). If I am seated with You in heavenly places (Eph. 2:6), then You are teaching me to reign. May I pay close attention so that, when we come back to earth with You, I will be able to competently reign with grace in humility, gentleness and love. May I start NOW, Abba, by practicing humility, grace and love to those around me, particularly during this time of crisis. Amen.

 

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