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Lesson from the Pandemic: (2) Refinement

When our faith is under pressure or when we’re in a time of uncertainty our true priorities are revealed. This last year I believe the Lord has been revealing to us already underlying problems; he’s revealed our illusions of control, our true allegiances and idols, our spiritual complacency and indifferences. Love for material possessions or maybe our self worth that is found in our job or our friends that we interact with. Whatever it may be, the Spirit has used the pandemic to place these underlying issues right in front of us.

What have you done with the things the Spirit is revealing to you?

St. John of the Cross wrote about a threefold path of mysticism, in regards to the dark night of the soul. He outlined this threefold path as illumination, purgation, and union. I’ve found this threefold path helpful in allowing the Spirit to…

First, illuminate [awaken, reveal] something to us. This could be a particular sin, a feeling (anger or sadness), a broken relationship… whatever it may be it’s a moment of revelation for the purpose of God doing a deeper work within us. Which moves into the second aspect of …

Purgation. Most of us stop at illumination; we hear or know there’s something God wants to do or say to us; however, we don’t want to go through the process of refinement. Purgation is about relinquishing control and letting the Spirit take us through a deeper work, in which he puts to death whatever was illuminated. The ‘thing’ that got in the way of our relationship with Jesus. This is a difficult and hard process; after all, who likes putting to death aspects of our life?! We know, however, in order to experience new life we must put certain things to death (Col. 3:5-11). When we go through this process of purging we’re led to something much more profound and beautiful.

Union with Jesus. This is the end goal of the threefold path; deeper intimacy with Jesus. The reason for going through this process could be that the Spirit has a word to speak to us; something that we may not have been able to hear or experience had we not gone through the process of illumination and purgation. So there’s this sense that the Spirit is able to speak new words of life to us.

This season of disruption has brought each of us enormous potential to deepen our walk with Jesus. The Spirit is inviting us take the plunge. Don’t miss out on it!

  • What has the Spirit illuminated to you during this past year?
  • Are there things that Jesus wants to put to death, so that you can live in deeper intimacy with Him?
  • How are you going be to intentional about deepening your relationship with Jesus in the coming month? Why not join in an Inspire learning Community?  Or connect with an Inspire Missioner to help you start a fellowship band? 

Anthony is an Inspire Missioner, church planting in St Louis, MO, USA. 

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