When it comes to our character, talent and skills as worship leaders, it takes a lot of hard work to shine like diamonds. The great challenge is that as much as our circumstances and other people add pressure, we must submit to the process and start holding ourselves accountable, adding enough internal pressure to turn the coal in our character into a diamond, which can then shine God’s light into the world. We must submit to the refining fire.
“He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver; he will purify the Levites and refine them like gold and silver. Then the LORD will have men who will bring offerings in righteousness.” -Mal. 3:3 (ESV)
When you look at the Faith Hall of Fame in Hebrews 11, it becomes clear that faith is shown true by our actions. We believe God, so we take action according to His will. We are called to take the steps He requires from us before He releases the blessings on our journey, and it will take time. We need to learn something from it and take responsibility. If those blessings came to us for free and without hard work, when would the shaping of our character happen? How would we learn to humble ourselves before God so He can lift us up at the right time, (1. Peter 5:6) and doesn’t “the right time” refer exactly to the fact that developing our character and talent takes time? Isn’t one of the biggest problems in our world the sense of entitlement, wanting something for nothing?
The world is full of wasted talent. We are stuck in a cycle of thinking too much of ourselves, not working on the gifts we have been given, and thinking we are entitled to succeed. Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, talent without drive and endurance equals zero. Even though we see many examples of seemingly overnight success, nearly all of them have required endless days and nights of hard work. We don’t know their stories but assume that in our case success should happen overnight just because we are that great. The greater we think we are, the further from the truth we are. We have to die to the sense of entitlement. Like John the Baptist said, we must become less and Jesus must increase in order for us to be used by Him. (John 3:30) When it comes to following our calling, blessings do not come for free. They require surrendering our will to God’s, our attitudes, opinions and dreams to God’s purposes and plans, and hard work while submitting to the refining fire.
“Behold, I have refined you, but not as silver; I have tried you in the furnace of affliction.” -Isa. 48:10 (ESV)
In serving God, there is simply no room for a sense of entitlement. Instead, we must create solid goals on all areas of our lives so He can prepare us for what He has in store for us. Chris Hogan of Ramsey Solutions said recently, “Dreams without goals are just wishes.” We must own our growth. If we don’t do it, nobody else can do it for us.
Fortunately we don’t need to do this alone. God knows our needs before we even say them out loud, and He brings others who have gone before us to help us submit to the refining fire. It will take a long time and feel very challenging, but it serves a great purpose, turning our hearts to God and teaching us to be passionate about the things He is passionate about. His plans for us are greater than we could ever imagine, but it will take hard work and patience to see them materialize. Nobody is ready when we are born. We are diamonds in the rough, and it takes skill, patience, and the work of the Master Builder to make us shine. He is the Potter and we are the clay. We must see ourselves as the lump of clay on the potter’s wheel so we understand that there’s work ahead for us before we can shine, first through our character and then through our talent. Here is the great promise in 1. Peter 5:10:
And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. (ESV)
Trust God to help you through the refining fire and allow Him to shape you as you learn to trust Him more. In His time, He will lift you up as you submit to His will and His ways and allow Him to prepare you in the dark until the season is done. He will give you the strength and lead you on the right path. Just have faith and keep going, your day is coming!