Gold in the Pan

Proverbs 17: 3 (the message)
As silver in a crucible and gold in a pan,
     so our lives are assayed by God.

I believe God wants to teach me to have a pure heart.  He sees the whole of my motives, my words and actions, my attitudes and choices…and He searches for what is of value.  Not value on the scale of human standards or even what I think is of value, but the priceless gem of serving Him and loving others with selflessness.  Lately I have had to confront something in my heart…a very vague sense of being impressed with myself.  Not overtly prideful, but a sense of satisfaction in how much I feel God has done in my life.  Over the past several days I realized that I have been absorbing some of the praise and encouragement I have received.  I will quickly and honestly tell anyone that anything I write on this blog, or anything else “good” that comes out of my life, comes from God.  And I know this is true!  Yet, somewhere along the way as I have been so amazed by God I have settled, ever so slightly, into a  place of feeling good about it all.  Is that bad?  Does it matter?  Am I not meant to absorb the praise and encouragement God sends through others?  Loaded question.

Here is where I find myself…I used to volunteer in the 2-year-old class at church on Sat nights.  I didn’t always want to go but I wanted to do my part and I knew God wanted me to fill the need.  I wasn’t trying to be important and I wasn’t trying to impress anyone.  I was just trying not to get a headache!!  Just kidding I love those little people!  I was trying to be faithful.  Over time, as God has grown fruit in my life from faithfulness and opened my eyes to what He can do…how He can take someone like me and ask me to do things I know I can’t do on my own…I have had to trust Him.  I have been asked to take on responsibilities that I know I am not “cut out” to do except as He enables me.  He has been stretching me!  For me, along the way, He prompted me to start a blog through my neighbor’s suggestion.  I literally scoffed…laughed out loud…because I had my own personal thoughts about people with blogs (like who cares?!).  In the end I had to repent for being judgemental and realize that perhaps it was time I take a chance.  My greatest apprehension was that anyone would ever, ever, ever think I write because I think I am spiritually superior or that I have “arrived.”  And in the end, this urgent desire in me to type out my heart is part of God’s will for my life.  Even for one person who may read it and sense God is so real and that He loves them.

So, today I am sharing the prayer of my life…to have God sift the “mixed motives” in my heart.  I can’t hold that back for myself.  This is part of my desire to be “real” and I don’t want to lose that.  I get it wrong plenty of days but every time I yield to the Holy Spirit’s leading in my life…every time…every time…every time…it’s Him.  I must recognize and resist the temptation to become comfortable with “my goodness.” The danger in absorbing the praise is the insidious act of receiving the credit.  You won’t even know you are doing it…but slowly, if you pay attention to your thoughts and what comes out of your mouth, you’ll see you ceased to be satisfied with being ordinary.  Well, I find this a conundrum!  I believe God will use my life as I surrender to Him and that is never ordinary, and yet I must be satisfied to be un-noticed…lacking the pretense and desire to “shine.”  If my heart’s desire to know Him becomes murky with polluted motives and the need to “become” a particular thing I will eventually shut down the flow of His presence and movement in my life.  I am not the one producing the goodness or blessing…I am simply a vessel.  The benefit for my life is as He flows through me I am healed and transformed.  But being healed and transformed is not the end; it’s the beginning of my life touching someone else’s.  Yet it is always Him doing the touching.  Always.

So, my Heavenly Father, this is me expressing to You that I know beyond a doubt that all the good in my life, anything that is fruitful or a blessing to others, is simply Your presence at work in my life.  I know that I am fearfully and wonderfully made…but the wonder of it all is that You thought to make me.  I  know that I have intrinsic value and worth because You love me…so  much that You gave Your Beloved for me.  But I could never conjure up a consistent desire to know You on my own.  Even that comes through You. Help me to be aware, every day I live, of the opportunities before me to give You praise and lift You up. 

Let all of the credit and praise for the good in our lives go to the One who is Good.  Everything we have and everything we are is from Him.  I may want to assign value in my life based on various things and events…but God sifts through the pretense in the pan for the gold of pure motives. 

Jesus, purify my heart…

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