Removing the Rough Edges

(Saturday, Jan 11, 2014)  Our first 2-day pastor’s conference is over and it went very well.  There are some rough spots to work out but that will come in time,  I walked about What God Expects of Pastors, Marriage and Ministry, and Signs You Are Growing Spiritually.  There were 200 pastors and 25 wives who attended –far beyond what I expected.  They were very appreciative of the teaching and the 3 free books we gave each one who attended.  They said over and over that it was ‘deep’ and ‘practical.’  I was pleased to hear that for it’s what I wanted it to be.

            They aren’t the only ones being ministered to, however.  God is using this experience to stretch and make me more like Jesus as well.  The more I seem to make progress, the more I see needs to be made.  He is using His Word and other believers to bring that about.

            David is a great example of how this works.  He wasn’t born a hero.  He became one when he killed Goliath.  He didn’t do it with his hands, but with a smooth stone and a slingshot.  The stone was God’s instrument of choice to bring victory and deliverance.  But it wasn’t any old stone.  The stone had to be prepared. 

            It wasn’t just a common stone David picked up from the ground.  He had to descend from the mountain to the valley where there was a creek.  Humbleness is the first requirement in being an instrument God can use.  David then chose 5 smooth stones.  What made these stones smooth?  It was what happened to them in the creek.  The motion of the water against them removed their rough edges.  When the water of God’s Word  moves against us and we let it form and shape us our rough edges are smoothed away (Ephesians 5:26).  It can be a painful, time consuming process but God is working on that in all of us as we apply His Word to our lives.  Then we become useful to Him.

            What also smoothed the stones was friction with other stones as the force of the water tumbled them along (Proverbs 27:17).  Our contact with mature believers helps smooth and refine us as well.  Fellowship and friendship with others who are also being formed into useful instruments is a key part of our growth process.

            I see God doing that in the lives of the pastors in India.  I see Him doing that in my life as well.  Do you see that happening in your life?  It happens in humility, in the valley, not on the mountaintop.  It comes about by continual exposure to His Word and contact with His people.  It is a slow but steady process, but an important one.  It’s the way God prepares instruments for His service.

Proverbs 27:17  As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.

Ephesians 5:26-27  Christ loved the church and give Himself up for her, to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word,

Can you see God using the truths of His Word and the impact of godly friends to help make you more like Jesus?  Make sure you stay in the valley of humility for this process to continue.  Be available to be used as His instrument whenever and wherever He chooses to use you.

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