"Refine" means to remove impurities or unwanted elements and improve by making small changes.
The Lord tells us, "In this you greatly rejoice, even though now, if for a little while, you have had to suffer various trials, in order that the genuineness of your faith, which is more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tried by fire, may be found to result in praise, glory, and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ, whom, having not seen, you love; and in whom, though you do not see Him now, you believe and you rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory, receiving as the result of your faith the salvation of your souls" (1 Pet. 1:6-9).
"What do you want me to refine, Lord?" I had to ask, even though I had a pretty good idea. Nothing He had laid on my heart lately seemed easy.
The first area He was chasing in my heart was my food addiction. I had made excuses for years on why it's OK to eat that cake, cookie, slice of pie, pizza or whatever sounded soothing in the moment. I deserve it; I worked hard today; someone was mean to me. I would hide my eating. God grabbed my heart and reminded me that He sees me. He didn't do it out of guilt; it was soft, kind, gentle and full of grace.
I'm so broken, and the enemy knows exactly where to get me when it comes to food. He knows it's a battle, one that I wouldn't run to Jesus with because I thought It wasn't a big deal. It's just one, or What does it matter? I've already messed up today. I'll start tomorrow.
God doesn't see me like I see myself in the mirror. If I wrote the words on my face that I say to myself, "I'm fat, ugly and disgusting," would my family say the same thing?
The enemy knew if I started looking to Jesus as my coach, my accountability partner, he would lose the battle. I am beautiful and worth taking care of, which is how God sees me. God reminded me that He has a lot of work for me to do, and I don't want to miss out on what His best is for me.
One morning, soon after I had that aha! moment, I was sitting quietly with Jesus, and He said, "Let's do a fast weekly. Every Sunday, lean in, listen to the Spirit and He will share what to fast next from." Take that, devil; you will always lose!
So, only pick one food to fast? I can do that! He also told me that once I started fasting from that food, I couldn't pick it back up. Wait, I thought we were doing this in small doses? Well, I began the fast, and guess what? I'm still doing it, and I've messed up every week. I've wanted to quit and throw in the towel, but I repent and keep showing up for me and Him.
I so desire to make my heavenly Father proud. He reminded me that I didn't sign up for easy and that fasting is to draw me closer to Him. I want and need Him to sustain me; I cannot do this alone or without Him. He wants me every day, slow and steady. He's not a quick fix kind of God. He shows us one area to work on and then through the sanctification, we see the next picture frame.
Through the process of fasting, what God has made clear to me is obedience to Him. The word "refine" was to help me see where I wasn't being obedient. Where I was trying to hide from the world and use food to make me feel better, if only for a moment. Jesus is the only one who can do that. I'm growing, continually pressing into Him and not stopping when it's hard. Do you know how many times I've given in when the going was too hard?
What about you? Are you good at pushing on when the refining is too hard? I want to be obedient to Him in all things and know that He is a God who is with me in the valleys. He is with me when the waters are over my head and with me when I come out of the water. I may not ever be a size 6, but I can be my best for Him.
Tara Royer Steele lives in Brenham, Texas. She's been married to her favorite online match ever, Rick, for 14 years. They have two boys, Brayden and Bentley. Together, they run a slice of the family business, Royers Pie Haven, in Round Top, Texas, and Royers Bake Shop, the wholesale hub for all the pies. Together, they love to gather people through Jesus, pie and coffee. Tara wrote a 52-devotional illustrated book with recipes, Eat. Pie. Love (BroadStreet Publishing). She also has a podcast called Jesus, Pie and Coffee. Find more information at tararoyersteele.com.
Get Spirit-filled content delivered right to your inbox! Click here to subscribe to our newsletter.
Great Resources to help you excel in 2019! #1 John Eckhardt's "Prayers That..." 6-Book Bundle. Prayer helps you overcome anything life throws at you. Get a FREE Bonus with this bundle. #2 Learn to walk in the fullness of your purpose and destiny by living each day with Holy Spirit. Buy a set of Life in the Spirit, get a second set FREE.