“For God is at work in you…”
The work that God is doing
- God desire that we know the truth with our heart and walk in it, but He will not force His truth upon us.
- I cannot hold opposing beliefs in my heart at the same time, but I can believe the truth with my intellect and not believe it with my heart.
- When we are in the right position to receive the truth that God has for us, He will shine His light into our heart and the lies will immediately be displaced and replaced with the truth.
- To the degree that we understand God’s faith refining process and cooperate with God in it, we can benefit from the fruit it will produce. “All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness” (Heb. 12:11).
- God is training us through suffering, but it requires our cooperation. Those untrained by it pass through the same fire, but will not reap the benefit.
It is God’s desire that we know the truth with our heart, and walk in it. However, before granting us the truth, He exposes the falsehood we already harbor. Truth and lies cannot occupy the same space within our heart at the same time. Any lies we are holding in our hearts are held in place by our own free will. God will not force His truth upon us, we have to choose to look to him for it. James suggested this when he said, “If you lack wisdom ask of God…” (Jam. 1:5) Taking ownership for what we believe is the first step in coming into His truth—bringing into the light that which we have hidden. When we are in the right position to receive the truth that God has for us, He will shine His light into our heart and the lies will immediately be displaced and replaced with the truth.
One of the ways God exposes our lie-based beliefs is by creating us in such a way that we feel whatever we believe. When we believe the truth, we will feel such things as peace, joy, exultation, confidence, security, certainty and tranquility. If we believe lies, we may feel alone, fearful, anxious, full of dread, worried, overwhelmed, or abandoned. God uses life itself, in the form of difficulties, trials, tribulations and crises, to expose our falsehood and refine our belief. When such things as these come upon us, we will feel whatever we believe. Our emotions will correspond to the way we interpret a difficult experience. As long as life goes well, we tend to be oblivious to what is going on inside us. It’s when we encounter a perceived difficulty that whatever we believe is exposed through our emotions. We feel whatever we believe. These difficulties are tools in the hand of God, for exposing what we believe. This does not mean that God causes the “bad” things to happen, but He does cause all bad things to “…work together for the good…” (Rom. 8:28). This does not mean that lie-based pain does not feel bad, for it does, but when we embrace what we feel as a means of identifying our lie-based belief, we can move in the direction of freedom.
This frame of reference sheds much light on the importance of the trials and tribulations we encounter throughout life. They are the means through which God refines our faith and purifies our belief so that we can “count it all joy whenever we encounter various trials” (Jas. 1:2) and “exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope…” (Rom. 5:3-4).
To the degree that we understand this process and cooperate with God in it, we can benefit from the fruit it will produce. As the writer of Hebrews declared, “All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness” (Heb. 12:11). God is training us through suffering, but it requires our cooperation. Those untrained by it will not experience the fruit. At best, their suffering will be something to cope with until they get through it. Getting through the trial is an expected outcome no matter what we do, however, benefit is something that we have to choose to bring about as we are willing to be “trained by it.” The fruit awaits those who submit to His process, more trails -without benefit- await those who do otherwise.