Wednesday, February 18, 2009

THE TRUE TEST OF A PERSON - CROSS PURPOSES 148

THE TRUE TEST OF A PERSON

Rose and I were going through Kalgoorlie some years ago and took the opportunity to watch a demonstration of the refining of gold. That meant it was heated to 1200 degrees, it melted, and when the flux was added in the impurities could be drained off. The purity was made possible by the heat. We understand that. You want to sharpen an axe? Get a file or a grindstone and you can get it to razor thickness. As Solomon once said in a proverb, iron sharpens iron! We do understand that. It’s clear that adversity brings out the best in a person. It sorts out the men from the mice, the heroes from the wimps. As the writer of the book labelled Hebrews says,

“And you have forgotten that word of encouragement that addresses you as sons:
"My son, do not make light of the Lord's discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, because the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes everyone he accepts as a son." Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons. For what son is not disciplined by his father?” (Hebrews 12:5-7)

In a way we are encouraged to accept trouble and suffering because it draws/forces endurance and perseverance – and that builds hope in us. Poverty isn’t bad either, because necessity is the mother of all invention. And then out of the blue, you find a little passage in scripture which surprises you by being on a different tack.

“ Fire tests the purity of silver and gold,
but a person is tested by being praised.”
(Proverbs 27:21 NLT)

And here it is in NIV

“The crucible for silver and the furnace for gold,
but man is tested by the praise he receives.”

Different isn’t it. Who you are, in the deep inner-self, is revealed by the way you respond to praise! Everybody is capable, somewhere, someway, of doing that which draws praise. Even Jesus. Perhaps especially Jesus! It’s Jesus who demonstrates, in a godly way, the truth of this saying. He knows that, often, praise and flattery are delivered in order that the one who gives it might get an advantage. After he fed the 5000, the people begun to sing his praises – and here is Jesus’ response.

“Jesus, knowing that they intended to come and make him king by force, withdrew again to a mountain by himself.” (John 6:15)

In the wilderness the devil had recognised the real threat Jesus was to his earthly control. He tried flattery, offered him shortcuts, all of which he refused. He resisted any attempt to deflect him from his Father’s work. He declined to entrust himself to human assessments. (John 2:24) Because he properly feared God he was never double-minded or heart-divided. Jesus’ person and example is our teacher:

· The Apostle Paul: “Have this mind among yourselves which you have “IN CHRIST JESUS” Phil 2:5

· And Father God: “This is my Son whom I love. Listen to HIM! (Matt 17:5)


· And Jesus himself: LEARN FROM ME for I am meek and humble at heart. (Matt 11:29).

There it is. Jesus knew his place before the one whose judgement really mattered. Do you?

Bless you guys

Fred

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