The Refining Process
“Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his Lord. If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you.” John 15:20
What will the human agent do to have the privilege of cooperating with God? Will he forsake all that he has rather than forsake Christ?… Will he suffer persecution for the truth’s sake? Reproach and persecution have separated many souls from heaven, but never a soul from the love of Christ. Never yet did persecution drive the soul who was indeed a lover of Jesus Christ away from Him. The love of Jesus in the soul is all-absorbing, for that great love wherewith God hath loved us, revealed in giving Christ to us, is beyond a parallel. “God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son.”…
If we can bear persecution for His dear name’s sake, His love becomes a ruling power in our hearts, for we have the assurance that nothing can separate us from the love of Christ. Never is the tempest-tried soul more dearly loved by his Saviour than when he is suffering reproach for the truth’s sake. When for the truth’s sake the believer stands at the bar of unrighteous tribunals, Christ stands by his side. All the reproaches that fall upon the human believer fall upon Christ in the person of His saints. “I will love him,” said Christ, “and will manifest myself to him.” John 14:21 Christ is condemned over again in the person of His believing disciples. When for the truth’s sake the believer is incarcerated in prison walls, Christ manifests Himself to him and ravishes his heart with His love. When he suffers death for the sake of Christ, Christ says to him, They may kill the body, but they cannot hurt the soul. “Be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” John 16:33
The apostle says to us, “…If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified.” Ask yourself, “Is my Redeemer thus magnified in me before the universe of heaven, before the satanic agencies, and before the world?”
E. G. White, That I May Know Him, p. 275
“For thou, O God, hast proved us: thou hast tried us, as silver is tried.” Psalms 66:10
Untried character is not reliable. We are to be tried by temptation in order that we may learn to seek wisdom from God and to flee to the stronghold in time of trouble. He alone will be successful in resisting temptation who finds help and grace from God. Individually we stand as did our first parents–face to face with manifold temptations that solicit mind and heart. All heaven is watching with intense interest to see whether we will look unto Jesus and submit ourselves to His will, or whether in the temptation we shall follow the inclinations of the natural heart and the solicitations of the evil one.
Let those who are perplexed with temptation go to God in prayer…. Persevere in prayer and watch thereunto without doubting, and the Holy Spirit will work in the human agent, bringing heart and mind into subjection to right principles.
Those who through faith are kept by the power of God learn good and precious things. They experience the peace of Christ which passeth understanding. In resisting temptation you refuse to be confederate with Satan, and place yourselves under the banner of Jesus Christ. In the sight of heavenly intelligences you develop yourself as a conqueror. It is made manifest that you are a son of God…
You represent Christ in true goodness of character, and understand what these words signify: “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth… And of his fulness have all we received, and grace for grace.” John 1:14-16 You receive grace, you develop grace; and as you reveal grace in your words, in your spirit and actions, God pours upon you a larger measure of grace. In proportion as you surrender yourselves to the working of the Holy Spirit you are supplied with heavenly grace. You are molded and fashioned a vessel unto honor, and become a channel through which God makes manifest His grace to the world.
E. G. White, That I May Know Him, p. 276
“That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ.” I Peter 1:7
Let us believe in Jesus, trusting Him implicitly, although we may be tried as by fire… We may love Christ more and increase our capacity for loving Him by contemplating and talking of His love. Cultivate the habit of talking with the Saviour when alone, when walking and working. Let gratitude and thanksgiving ascend to God because Jesus loves you and you love Jesus…
The Lord Jesus gave Himself a sacrifice for us. He knows us and He knows just what we need. Trial last only for a season. Encourage your heart in faith. We must not look on trial as punishment. Christ is the sin bearer. He is our Redeemer, and He desires to purify us from all dross. He means to make us partakers of the divine nature, developing in us the peaceable fruits of righteousness. The very fact that we are called upon to endure trials proves that the Lord Jesus sees in us something very precious that he would have developed. If He saw nothing in us whereby we might glorify His name He would not spend time refining us. We do not take special pains to prune brambles. Christ does not cast valueless stones into His furnace. It is precious ore that He tests. He sees that the refining process will bring out the reflection of His own image. Be trustful, be hopeful, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. He loves you. Hear His words: “As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten.” Revelation 3:19 He has not passed you by as unworthy of a trial.
What is the result of this refining process? That ye may “be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ.” O how precious to the soul is one word of commendation that comes from the Redeemer’s lips! We may not understand all now, but the day is coming when we shall be more than satisfied, when we shall see as we are seen, and realize that trial has wrought out for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.
E. G. White, That I May Know Him, p. 277
“It is good for me that I have been afflicted; that I might learn thy statutes.” Psalms 119:71
We must not think when we are afflicted that the anger of the Lord is upon us. God brings us into trials in order that we may be drawn near to Him. The Psalmist says, “Many are the afflictions of the righteous: but the Lord delivereth him out of them all” Psalms 34:19 He does not desire us to be under a cloud… He does not desire us to go in anguish of spirit. We are not to look at the thorns and the thistles in our experience. We are to go into the garden of God’s Word and pluck the lilies and roses and the fragrant pinks of His promises. Those who look upon the difficulties in their experience will talk doubt and discouragement, for they do not behold Jesus, the Lamb of God, who taketh away the sins of the world.
We should keep our minds upon the love, the mercy, and the graciousness of our God… It is no sign that Jesus has ceased to love us because we experience doubts and discouragements. Affliction comes to us in the providence of God in order that we may see that Christ is our helper, that in Him is love and consolation. We may receive grace whereby we may be overcomers and inherit the life that measures with the life of God. We must have such an experience that when affliction comes upon us we shall not depart from the faith…
By the hand of faith grasp the promises of God and be upon vantage ground. Then you will be where Satan cannot come near and say, “God cannot help you, because you have sinned and you cannot claim the promises.” The adversary desires to have us think that the way to life is so difficult that it will be impossible to reach the bliss of heaven. But God has placed us in circumstances where the very best of our natures may be developed and the highest faculties may be exercised. If we cultivate the good, the objectionable tendencies will not gain the supremacy, and at last we shall be accounted worthy to join the family above. If we desire to be saints above we must be saints upon the earth.
E. G. White, That I May Know Him, p. 278
Our heavenly Father does not willingly afflict or grieve the children of men. He has His purpose in the whirlwind and the storm, in the fire and in the flood. The Lord permits calamities to come to His people to save them from greater dangers. He desires everyone to examine his own heart closely and carefully, and then draw near to God, that God may draw near to him. Our life is in the hands of God. He sees dangers threatening us that we cannot see… He knows our frame, and remembers that we are dust. Even the very hairs of our head are numbered. He works through natural causes to lead His people to remember that he has not forgotten them, but that He desires them to forsake the way which, if they were permitted to follow unchecked and unreproved, would lead them into great peril.
Trials come to us all to lead us to investigate our hearts, to see if they are purified from all the defiles. Constantly the Lord is working for our present and eternal good. Things occur which seem inexplainable, but if we trust in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him, humbling our hearts before Him, He will not permit the enemy to triumph.
The Lord will save His people in His own way, by such means and instrumentalities that the glory will be returned to Him. To Him alone belongs the praise…
Every soul that is saved must be a partaker with Christ of His sufferings, that he may be a partaker with Him of His glory. How few understand why God subjects them to trial. It is by the trial of our faith that we gain spiritual strength. The Lord seeks to educate His people to lean wholly upon Him… God desires to reveal His power in a marked manner through the lives of His people.
E. G. White, The Upward Look, p. 65
These trials of life are God’s workmen to remove the impurities, infirmities, and roughness from our characters, and fit us for the society of pure, heavenly angels in glory. But as we pass through these trials, as the fires of affliction kindle upon us, we must not keep the eye on the fire which is seen, but let the eye of faith fasten upon the things unseen, the eternal inheritance, the immortal life, the eternal weight of glory; and while we do this the fire will not consume us, but only remove the dross, and we shall come forth seven times purified, bearing the impress of the Divine.
E. G. White, Testimonies For The Church, vol. 1, pp. 706, 707
The omnipotent power of the Holy spirit is the defense of every contrite soul. Not one that in penitence and faith has claimed His protection will Christ permit to pass under the enemy’s power. The Saviour is by the side of His tempted and tried ones. With Him there can be no such thing as failure, loss, impossibility, or defeat; we can do all things through Him who strengthens us. When temptations and trials come, do not wait to adjust all the difficulties, but look to Jesus, your helper.
E. G. White, The Desire Of Ages, pp. 443, 444
God would not have us remain pressed down by dumb sorrow, with sore and breaking hearts. He would have us look up and behold His dear face of love. The blessed Saviour stands by many whose eyes are so blinded by tears that they do not discern Him. He longs to clasp our hands, to have us look to Him in simple faith, permitting Him to guide us. His heart is open to our griefs, our sorrows, and our trials. He has loved us with an everlasting love and with loving-kindness compassed us about. We may keep the heart stayed upon Him and meditate upon His loving-kindness all the day. He will lift the soul above the daily sorrow and perplexity, into a realm of peace.
Think of this, children of suffering and sorrow, and rejoice in hope. “This is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.” I John 5:4
E. G. White, Thoughts From The Mount Of Blessing, p. 12
In every trial, if we seek Him, Christ will give us help. Our eyes will be opened to discern the healing promises recorded in His word. The Holy Spirit will teach us how to appropriate every blessing that will be an antidote to grief. For every bitter draft that is placed to our lips, we shall find a branch of healing.
We are not to let the future, with its hard problems, its unsatisfying prospects, make our hearts faint, our knees tremble, or hands hang down. “let him take hold of My strength,” says the Mighty One, “that he may make peace with Me; and he shall make peace with Me.” Isaiah 27:5 Those who surrender their lives to His guidance and to His service will never be placed in a position for which He has not made provision. Whatever our situation, if we are doers of His word, we have a Guide to direct our way; whatever our perplexity, we have a sure Counselor; whatever our sorrow, bereavement, or loneliness, we have a sympathizing Friend.
E. G. White, The Ministry Of Healing, p. 248
Every act of obedience to Christ, every act of self-denial for His sake, every trial well endured, every victory gained over temptation, is a step in the march to the glory of final victory. If we take Christ for our guide, He will lead us safely. The veriest sinner need not miss his way. Not one trembling seeker need fail of walking in pure and holy light. Though the path is so narrow, so holy that sin cannot be tolerated therein, yet access has been secured for all, and not one doubting, trembling soul need say, “God cares nought for me.”
The road may be rough and the ascent steep; there may be pitfalls upon the right hand and upon the left; we may have to endure toil in our journey; when weary, when longing for rest, we may have to toil on; when faint, we may have to fight; when discouraged, we must still hope; but with Christ as our guide we shall not fail of reaching the desired haven at last. Christ Himself has trodden the rough way before us and has smoothed the path for our feet.
And all the way up the steep road leading to eternal life are well-springs of joy to refresh the weary. Those who walk in wisdom’s ways are, even in tribulation, exceeding joyful; for He whom their soul loveth, walks, invisible, beside them.
E. G. White, Thoughts From The Mount Of Blessing, p. 140
“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28
The Christian’s hope does not rest upon the sandy foundation of feeling. Those who act from principle will behold the glory of God beyond the shadows, and rest upon the sure word of promise. They will not be deterred from honoring God however dark the way may seem. Adversity and trial will only give them an opportunity to show the sincerity of their faith and love. When depression settles upon the soul, it is no evidence that God has changed. He is “the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.” Hebrews 13:8 You are sure of the favor of God when you are sensible of the beams of the Sun of Righteousness; but if the clouds sweep over your soul, you must not feel that you are forsaken. Your faith must pierce the gloom… The riches of the grace of Christ must be kept before the mind. Treasure up the lessons that His love provides. Let your faith be like Job’s, that you may declare , “Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him.” Job 13:15 Lay hold on the promises of your heavenly Father and remember His former dealing with you and with His servants, for “all things work together for good to them that love God.”
The most trying experiences in the Christian’s life may be the most blessed. The special providences of the dark hours may encourage the soul in future attacks of Satan, and equip the servant of God to stand in fiery trials. The trial of your faith is more precious than gold. You must have the abiding confidence in God that is not disturbed by the temptations and arguments of the deceiver. Take the Lord at His word…
It is faith that familiarizes the soul with the existence and presence of God, and when we live with an eye single to His glory we discern more and more the beauty of His character. Our souls become strong in spiritual power, for we are breathing the atmosphere of heaven and realizing that God is at our right hand… We should live as in the presence of the Infinite One.
E. G. White, That I May know Him. p. 257
God would have his servants become acquainted with their own hearts. In order to bring to them a true knowledge of their condition, He permits the fire of affliction to assail them, so that they may be purified. The trials of life are God’s workmen to remove the impurities, infirmities, and roughness from our character, and fit them for the society of pure, heavenly angels in glory. Then as we pass through trial, as the fire of affliction kindles upon us, shall we not keep our eyes fixed upon the things that are unseen, on the eternal inheritance, the immortal life, the far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory? And while we do this, the fire will not consume us, but only remove the dross, and we shall come forth seven times purified, bearing the impress of the Divine.
“Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.” I Peter 12, 13
“Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.” James 1:12
“Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you. Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world. But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you.” I Peter 5:6-10
“For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.” Romans 8:18
E. G. White, The Advent Review and Sabbath Herald, April, 10, 1894