PTC_Proverbs 17 - "Crucible"

5/20/13 - PTC_Proverbs 17 - "Crucible"
Priority Time Challenge 2013
To view the instructions for our journey through the Proverbs and the daily schedule, click here.

Proverbs 17:3 (NIV)
"The crucible for silver and the furnace for gold,
    but the Lord tests the heart."

Focused Thinking:
What? The imagery found in many of the Proverbs is part of what makes this book so rich. The image we have today is the process of purifying silver or gold. A crucible is a container designed to handle extremely high heat so one can melt silver to the point where the dross or impurities rise to the top for removal. The furnace serves gold likewise. There is also a process toward purity for people, the testing of the Lord.

Why? Why would God test our hearts? God knows that the truest part of us is somewhere in our heart. It's fairly easy to manipulate people and put on a show, but there is no manipulating God. There is no show. He looks at the heart. God is deeply concerned about our purity. This is more than purity as it relates to sexuality. He is concerned about the dross of our selfishness that still needs to be boiled out of us. God is at work in us until this purifying work is complete.

This is such a concern on God's agenda that we ought not be surprised that we face many challenges that feel like a testing of our hearts. Here's a few examples from my life right now…
  • My patience being challenged when the kids don't obey or when they create chaos all over the place!
  • Waiting for my office to be complete so I can fully move in and regain a normalcy in my work environment.
  • The countless people seeking meetings with me, I love helping people, but the sheer number can make me feel overwhelmed and tempted to just get through the appointment instead of truly carrying their burden.
  • The financial pressure because of unexpected hospital bills.
  • The time pressure to see my kids a good bit this summer but knowing how much ministry will demand of me the next 2 months.
This list could go on, but you get the picture. We all have a handful of issues that test our hearts. Unfortunately, I find that what comes out of my heart is not something I'm proud of. Why does toothpaste come out of the tube when you squeeze it? Most would answer, "Because you squeezed it." But the only reason toothpaste comes out of it is because toothpaste is inside of it. When we are squeezed by life what comes out indicates what is within. 

I cannot tell you how frustrating it is for me to see impatience come out of me with my kids. Sure, I can drum up a bunch of reasons why, "We are so busy." "We just had a baby, things are tense." "I'm stressed with all my demands." The bottom line is i'm not as patient as i thought. I just hadn't been tested this way before. 

How? How do we handle God's testing? I think we all need to understand that God only tests us because He knows we have junk within us that needs to be surfaced and dealt with. That's how i've felt all month. As we've tracked through Proverbs together i've had to face and deal with my junk. God's word is forcing to the forefront those things i had tucked away. My friend David Edwards has said a thousand times, "God loves us where we are but loves us too much to leave us there." It is because of God's love for us that He will not allow us to go untested. 

Personal Application:
I need to be more diligent to plan my time and anticipate the strew points of my day/week. In the midst of the busyness this month I've allowed some of my diligence and discipline slip. We have too much going on for me to be lax. I also need to be more accepting of God's testing. Right now He is all over me on my impatience. He is making me a better parent, but right now it doesn't feel that way.

Interactive prayer:
Lord, thank you for loving me enough to fight for my good. I pray that You would help me see the value of Your testing. God, please give me the ability to manage all that is going on and to let go of the unimportant. I pray that you would multiply my time. I pray for the joy that comes when you dredge out the impurity from my life. God, a pure life is a good life. I pray for many who feel mistreated by your testing. I pray that You give them perspective and help them see that it is Your grace that meets us in our sinfulness and is committed to walking us out of it. God, in this season of life make me a patient father.

Lord beyond all this, You have laid on my heart some visions for ministry that I am eager to fulfill. I pray that You help the pieces come together for the re-launch. I pray that this summer's series is anointed by You and radically changes lives. God help me know how to arrange my time to make sure I'm writing. Give me Your favor with publishers. I pray for marriage/parenting conferences/speaking opportunities to come along. I pray I'm able to steward the visions you have placed on my heart. 

Today is Monday. Today you will be tested. Remember God is using the crucible to make you more like Him. 
Where is God testing you?
What character flaw continues to emerge?
What would be the impact of your life and the life of those closest to you if this character flaw were corrected?

Does all this make sense? If so, I'd love to hear your feedback, comments or tweets from this post.

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Posted by Andy Savage at 8:38 AM
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