Thursday, June 15, 2017

The Sifting Process of Life

UV 2295/10000 The Sifting Process of Life
For, lo, I will command, and I will sift the house of Israel among all nations, like as corn is sifted in a sieve, yet shall not the least grain fall upon the earth
Amos 9 v 9

The believers are often compared to the grain. The whole process of life is meant to sift us. The various experiences and situations of life that are often beyond our control or anticipation are the sieves the Lord uses to refine us and to separate the chaff from the grain. The qualities of the Father and the Son Jesus need to be ingrained in us. The enemy of our soul has planted the weeds or tares in us and in our midst. The Lord, therefore, sifts us like grain to bring out our best in good times and bad times. If we are faithful, in good times we praise the Lord. In bad or difficult times, we pray and praise even more. In difficulties, we walk the closest to the Lord and abide deeply in Him. In impossible situations, we are carried by Him as He carried Israel out of Egyptian captivity. He carries us by the pinions even as a mother eagle carries its young.

We need to pass our thoughts, desires, emotions through many sieves in order to be the fine grain the Lord desires us to be. The Word is certainly the most effective sieve that we always have access to. It teaches us to be careful and thoughtful in our speech. It teaches us to be wise in our choices. It teaches us to be diligent and to exercise self control. All the patterns of our thoughts, our speech and behaviour should conform to the character of the Lord as revealed in the Word. When we willingly submit to the sifting process, we are being God fearing and wise. It saves us a lot of needless pain and suffering. We should continually check if there is any chaff in our thoughts, words and actions and take steps to have it blown away. It requires to be ruthless and unequivocal with whatever is not God-pleasing in our lives. Our life’s success is to be determined not by how much happiness we have obtained but by how useful and obedient we have been to the revealed will of the Lord.

In many places, scripture refers to the Lord as a refiner who refines the crude ore in the smelting furnace. All of our life’s experiences in this perspective, the painful ones and the more welcome pleasant ones are intended to refine us. Nothing is wasted. Not even the least grain will fall to the ground. Everything is accounted. The difficulty is that unlike the inert grain, we have wills of our own and often we try to move away from the disciplining, refining, perfecting ways of the Lord. When we interpret life as the pursuit of happiness and pleasure, inevitably we tend to resent anything that prunes us or causes us pain. We end up like Jacob fighting and wrestling with the will of the Lord. As a result, the purification of mankind, collectively and individually pose a more exacting and challenging work for the Lord than the whole work of creation of the universe.

Prateep V Philip

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