Back in 2003 after having spent the year before reading Sarah Ban Breathnach's book "Simple Abundance" I took her suggestion to heart and wrote my own daily devotional. Each day I took a line or two from one of the various spiritual authors from the last three centuries I was reading and wrote my own thoughts on the subject. I then looked for a scripture that illustrated the truth that had been revealed to me. What follows is the result.

"Our greatest bondage is to have our own way; our greatest freedom is to let God have His way." Warren Wiersbe

Saturday, March 5, 2011

March 5

“To refine something does not mean to punish it, but only to purify it, to get rid of all its dross and rubbish and bring out its full beauty and worth....Instead of its being something God demands of us, it really is something we ought to demand of God....He created us, and we have a right to demand that He make us the best He can.  It is His duty to burn up our dross and bring out our full beauty and worth.  Love demands that He should.”  Hannah Whitall Smith, God is Enough, 3/5

This certainly causes me to look at my “sufferings”, as I’ve been wont to call them, in a different light.  I’m familiar with the verses in Scripture that speak of being refined as a good thing, but I never thought I should demand to be refined.  It always felt like something I had to go through against my will even though I knew in the end it would be good for me.  

I’m writing my grandfather’s life story for my Family History narrative and have made an outline of his diaries. One of his first diary entries in 1905 concerns how much he hated the idea of being at college for the next nine months because it was all work and no fun.  However, he added, it was for his good.  How much better if we would look at life’s lessons as something to desire so that we will become all that we were created to be.

“Therefore, since we are justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ....More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit which has been given to us.”  Romans 5: 1, 3-5


  1. I have a problem with "we have the right to demand that He make us the best He can." This presuposes that God can make us imperfect. But we are made in His image (Genesis 1:27) So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. Matthew 5:48 tells us to be perfect even as your Father in heaven is perfect". So I believe God has made us "the best He can", it is US who have taken what He created and lessened it. Knowing that we can never approach perfection, God sent His son Jesus so that we may recognize perfection, had him die so that if we believe we may approach perfection. But only when He returns triumph in the end will we actually reach perfection.

  2. What about our need for sanctification? We are justified by what Jesus did for us--that is our standing before God. Our sanctification comes through the Holy Spirit working in us. That involves our character and conduct. This is the spiritual growth that takes place after our salvation. There are lots of scriptures that refer to this such as 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24 where Paul begins "May the God of peace himself sanctify you wholly..." and ends with "He who calls you is faithful, and he will do it." Hannah wasn't speaking about perfection, but rather that we be all that God created us to be.

  3. I agree, "that we be all He created us to be" is our goal. Since He created us to be perfect, it is ourselves which make us imperfect and requires us to be refined. God already sent His son to show us how to refine ourselves, by believing and doing. Which means we don't have anything to demand. God has already shown us the way, free will makes it our responsibility.

  4. I may not be understanding what you are taking exception to. Is it Hannah's use of the word "demand"? I agree that God has shown us the way and that free will makes it our responsibility, but the point of the devotion is that God does the work in us through trials. Philippians 1:6 states: "And I am sure that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ." Fearing the trials in our lives hinders God's work in us because these trials are meant to grow us up into Him. How much better to embrace them (even demand them) in order that we may experience the freedom that being fully in Christ brings.

  5. I can certainly vouch that trials have brought me closer to GOD. I have been going through cancer surgery chemotherapy & radiation treatments since October of 2014. This long journey has not only strengthened my character, but has given hope for recovery. I praise my Lord for the things that have been brought to light, that I may have otherwise not known.

    1. If we accept that trials are a part of life and realize they are tailor-made for those of us who trust God, we can glean all the good that is hidden in them for ourselves and for God's glory.