The Divine Design
But he [chastens us] for our profit…
The flame shall not hurt thee—I only designThy dross to consume and thy gold to refine.
Sometimes God Chastens us and sometimes Satan sifts us.
God’s purpose is to burn up the dross and refine the gold. Satan hopes to winnow out the wheat and leave only the chaff, but God can turn it around the other way. At any rate, our Father takes no pleasure in our sorrows and grief. His only design is to refine us. Alas, there is often so much dross and so little gold, so much chaff and so little wheat, so much wood, hay, and stubble, so little gold, silver, and precious stones! We may not have much left when He is finished with us, but a little gold is better than tons of chaff. It is a good day when we give up trash for treasure.
No Other Gods
Thou shalt have no other gods before me.
Our Lord made it clear that all other loves must be as hate compared to our love for Him (see Luke 14:26). This does not mean we love dear ones less, but that we love Him more. We must not water down this word until it loses its meaning. A departed dear one can become an idol at whose shrine we worship—so can our work, our reputation, our pleasures, some human friendship, our possessions. We must live as though these did not exist, so far as our supreme love and loyalty are concerned. When anything else eclipses our devotion to Jesus Christ, it must go and sometimes God takes it. He will not share the throne room of our hearts with anyone or anything else. But when He is first and last, all other legitimate and proper interests and affections find their places. But they must never hold the status of gods or idols.