Sifting for Gold
by Margaret D. Mitchell
"If only you had paid attention to my commands, your peace would have been like a river, your well-being like the waves of the sea." - Isaiah 48:18 (NIV)
When God calls and assigns His leaders, He also gives us His strategy—His word and wisdom to work His plan for victory. In the journey, God will guide us, be patient with us and sift us. Sometimes, He takes us deep until all that’s left is a heart gold.
About the human heart, scriptures tell us…
· It is deceitful– "The heart is more deceitful than all else and is desperately sick. Who can understand it?" - Jeremiah 17:9 (NASB)
· It gets sick from rebellion– "Why do you continue to invite punishment? Must you rebel forever? Your head is injured, and your heart is sick." - Isaiah 1:5 (NLT)
· It faints from sin– "The crown has fallen from our head; Woe to us, for we have sinned! Because of this our heart is faint, Because of these things our eyes are dim." - Lamentations 5:16-17 (NASB)
Hardness of heart is a sin that leads to hopelessness.
Over time, with our own disobedience to God’s ways making our journey harder, our unrepentant hearts can actually become hopeless because we set our expectations on false hopes instead of His righteousness.
Proverbs 13:12 (NIV) reveals: "Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life."
To see the desires of our hearts fulfilled, we must set our hopes on God’s promises and submit to His plan, not ours.
Time to ask ourselves a few questions…
· Am I making my heart sick by stubbornly holding onto dirt and rocks within my heart?
· Do I see that God is using circumstances to sift me to get the rocks out?
· Have I prayed, “Lord, Help me see this as you do!”
· Am I cooperating with God’s plan of restoration for me?
My Hope, Jesus
God’s plan may involve establishing our hearts in Him before He moves mountains for us or brings the big stuff, like marriage, peace in our marriages or promotions of any kind. God wants our whole heart. And Jesus is our only hope. I believe God, in His mercy and grace, is patient to correct us.
Scriptures tell us…
"Rid yourselves of all the offenses you have committed, and get a new heart and a new spirit. Why will you die, people of Israel?" - Ezekiel 18:31
I will give them a heart to know Me, that I am The Lord. They will be my people, and I will be their God, for they will return to Me with all their heart." - Jeremiah 24:7
"I will give them singleness of heart and action, so that they will always fear Me and that all will then go well for them and for their children after them." - Jeremiah 32:39
"I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh." - Ezekiel 36:26
So if you are…
· Looking to get ahead, look up.
· Looking for that perfect man, look up.
· Looking for God to move mountains and do the impossible, look up, up, up and draw near to Him constantly.
When we come near to God, He comes near to us.
"Sow righteousness for yourselves, reap the fruit of unfailing love, and break up your unplowed ground; for it is time to seek The Lord, until He comes and showers His righteousness on you." -Hosea 10:12 (NIV)
"But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you." -Matthew 6:33 (NASB)
Pray God’s Word back to Him…
"With all my heart I want Your blessings. Be merciful as You promised." - Psalm 119:58 (NIV)
"Teach me Your way, Lord, that I may rely on Your faithfulness; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear Your name." - Psalm 86:11 (NIV)
God awaits your invitation and your submission.
Margaret D. Mitchell is the Founder of God's Love at Work, a marketplace outreach purposed to share God's greatest power source - the love of Christ. This devotional was adapted from Margaret's forthcoming book, Enduring Grace. All rights reserved.