(The following is a transcript of Andrew Thomas’s message live from the Willow Huntley stage on May 21, 2017.)
Have you ever found yourself behaving in a certain way, and you think, what am I doing? Or where did that come from? You know, sure, you might not be murdering your office equipment, like the guy in this video here, but we’ve all said things that we regret. We’ve all done things or left things undone that we carry around. It’s stuff that hurts other people. It’s stuff that hurts us. And I wonder, what do we do with this? Should we just walk around weighed down because of the shame and the guilt of screwing up again and again? Should I sweep it under the rug and just pretend like this stuff isn’t real. Don’t look here. Nothing to see. Or should I be throwing up my hands and say, “You know what? There’s really nothing I can do about it anyway, because I’m only human.”
Or... might there be another way forward?
I can remember, a few summers back, I was playing in a pick-up sand volleyball game with my wife and with her sister and some acquaintances. And everything started out just fine. It was a beautiful summer day. The sun was shining. We were working up a little sweat as we were hitting the ball back and forth. People were sharing some laughs.
Now, something you might not know about me (although Todd kind of referred to it a little bit)—I tend to have a little bit of a competitive streak. So I’m told. And is it not normal for you to rejoice when you destroy and defeat little kids in laser tag? Is that... that’s just me? Okay.
So I’m a little bit competitive. And as we’re playing volleyball, I realize there’s something messing with my competitive mojo. And it’s this: our team sucks at volleyball. I’m like, what is going on here? We’re missing all of these easy balls... I mean, shots that should be going over the net—it’s crazy. So, being the wonderful guy that I am, I decide, alright, I’m gonna be a hero. I’m gonna carry this team on my shoulders. We will, we will march to victory.
And what does that look like? Well, it looks like this. When the ball comes over the net, and it goes to somewhere other than my position, and you call it over there, oh no you don’t. Here I come! You know? And I’m trying to hit that ball. And some of the times I actually got it back over the net. Most of the times, I didn’t. And all of the times, I looked like a complete jerk. Right? And the reality was, as I was acting like this idiot out there, I was barking orders at my teammates. I was cursing myself under my breath every time that I screwed up. Right, it’s embarrassing to share this, but this was not my finest hour.
And I wonder for you, can you relate on any level to something like this? What are the situations or circumstances that bring out the worst in you? Or maybe it’s not a situation as much as it’s a person. Maybe you’ve got a family member or a friend who pushes your buttons. Or a coworker or neighbor who’s got the spiritual gift of annoyance?
I mean, I’m joking, but, the reality is, we all have moments that we’re not proud of. Moments with harsh words, cold shoulders, pity parties, and lies. Times of jealousy, of greed, of gossip, and of holding grudges. I mean, is it just me? Right? Is anybody with me? You know? Do you experience this, too? I mean, yeah. Thank goodness, I’m like, “Oh my gosh, everyone here is holy...” you know?
But we all share these sorts of moments. And it can be really tough. We live in a day and an age where we’re barraged by sparkly Facebook status updates. And clever tweets. And airbrushed Instagram photos. And most of us don’t feel comfortable sharing the ugly, inner parts of our lives with others. Most of us spend considerable energy trying to hide those things or avoid them altogether.
But I believe, I really believe, that God wants to teach us something today. I believe that if you’ll hang with me for a little longer, that God has something transformative for your life and for your heart in the way that we engage in these sorts of circumstances and situations in our lives. So. Let’s get at it. You think? Yeah. Alright.
So, you might be surprised to discover that we’re not the first generation of people who have struggled with screwing up things in our lives. I know. It’s crazy. Right? But the Bible is this amazing collection of stories and songs, of poems, letters, and more. And if you being to unravel it, you can discover that there are these threads that run throughout the Scriptures. And one of these threads is that people, from the earliest times, have had a propensity to just screw things up—to sin, to fall short of our full created potential that God made us for.
And yet God, in His goodness, and in His love, over and over again, He creates ways for us to be restored. To be made whole again. And we see this very clearly in the Old Testament with the nation of Israel—God’s chosen people. They go through this cycle of falling away and being restored. Falling away, being restored. And there’s this king in Israel, his name is Solomon. And Solomon is the son of David. And if you aren’t familiar with Bible stories really, David is like the “David and Goliath” David.
So Solomon grew up in this royal family. And he knew a thing or two about drama. If you think that your family has got a dash of crazy, you know, listen to some of this. His family had stuff like affairs, violence, murder. His own brother tried to have his father killed so that he could take over the kingdom. I mean, this is the sort of stuff in families that Netflix Originals are made about. You know? And so he knows all about this stuff. And as he grows up, and he becomes a king, Solomon becomes quite famous.
The Scriptures tell us that Solomon—his deepest desire was to become wise. And that God fulfilled this desire in his life. And over time, Solomon developed all of these wise sayings that became known as “Proverbs.” And they made their way into a collection called “The Proverbs,” and Proverbs has made its way into our collection of the library of the Bible. And so, in a minute, we’re gonna be turning to that.
But before we do, this wisdom comes from as early, scholars believe, as early as the 10th Century B.C. And what I find so incredible is that something from so long ago could continue to have such a resonance—it could continue to speak truth into our current circumstances.
So if you’ve got your Bibles, I invite you to open them up to Proverbs chapter 17. If you don’t have your Bibles, that’s okay, too—we’re gonna put stuff up on the screen. And you can see, actually, it’s already there. Look at that. It’s like magic.
So this is the verse that we’re gonna read today. It says, “The crucible for silver, and the furnace for gold. But the Lord tests the heart.” “The crucible for silver, and the furnace for gold. But the Lord tests the heart.”
Now, you might be asking yourself, “Well, what does this verse about precious metals have to do with what we’re talking about today?” And that’s a good question. And we’re gonna get to it in a minute. But before I unpack this verse a little bit more for you, I’d love to provide a little bit of some background context on some of the things going on with like metals and how it might be related to his audience of the day.
So, in the ancient Near East, in Solomon’s day, there was an incredibly high importance placed on metals—on the use of them properly, on extracting their greatest value. Remember how I said that Solomon’s dad was David? And David fought Goliath? Well, Goliath was a Philistine. And the Philistines were this formidable enemy of Israel.
And you can see up on the map here kind of where they populated. Israel is sort of in the middle there, circled. And then the Philistines were over on the coast. And the Philistines were this constant problem with Israel. And one of the major reasons was because they possessed an advantage—technologically—over Israel.
Israel only had access to technology that allowed them to develop bronze armor and weapons and tools. But the Philistines had developed a new technology—they had learned how to manufacture iron. Now, you might not think that that’s such a big deal—like, the difference between bronze and iron. But it was literally as significant a difference as, like, the Israelites had bows and arrows, and the Philistines had rifles. Like, that’s what this was like. This metal was so superior.
And it wasn’t only limited to warfare. It was also a cultural revolution for anybody who had iron. It allowed you to plow more land, chop more wood, and shape more stone than ever before. It changed life for people. And it changed the pace of how things could be accomplished.
Some scholars believe that it was during David’s reign that Israel was able to discover this knowledge of how to develop and manufacture iron for themselves, and that it was this discovery that they took from the Philistines that allowed for them to secure their foothold in this region and kind of secure their destiny as a nation in that spot. So it’s pretty cool.
And the reason that I share all of this with you is simply to give you the understanding, this background context, that, for every person who was in Israel—every person who was a member of the audience of what Solomon wrote this proverb to—they would know. Man, there is significant importance with metals and extracting their value. Because, not only can they help you to survive—they can help you to thrive.
So, again, let’s pull up that verse, let’s look at it one more time. It says, “The crucible for silver, and the furnace for gold. But the Lord tests the heart.” Now, we’ve all seen silver and gold, right? They’re not iron; we’re talking about silver and gold. We’ve all seen it. Some of us probably own some things—maybe you’ve got like a ring or a bracelet or a piece of jewelry. Maybe you know someone who collects coins that are made of gold or silver. But I would argue that most of us have only really experienced these precious metals in their final—or, like, refined—state. Gold and silver do not begin as pure. They begin as something called ore. It’s ore. And I think we’ve got a picture of this ore.
So, as you can see here, this is like what you would discover in the earth. And it doesn’t look a whole lot like gold. You can see that there’s a little bit of some golden color and things to it. But ore is a composite of materials. Yeah, it’s got gold in it. But it’s also got things like copper, tin, maybe it’s got some iron, maybe it has bits of silver and other impurities. And for somebody who is a metal worker, it would be of the utmost importance to figure out, “How can I... how can I extract the greatest value from this? I gotta figure out a way to take the impurities out of this.”
Right? Because, some things in our lives, we need for them to be held to a higher standard. Right? You’re not taking that and wearing that around your neck. Right? And some things, we want to hold them to a higher standard.
Just, there was a while ago, when I was out at a restaurant with my wife, Meredith. And we were having some pizza. And I was sitting there, I was looking down at my plate, about to take another bite, and I heard this noise. CRUNCH, was the sound. And I looked up, I was like, what? I look over at Meredith. She’s hunched over her plate—like this. She reaches into her mouth. And out of her mouth, she pulls a big chunk of broken glass. It was in her pizza! It was in her pizza. Thank goodness, she was okay. She didn’t get cut. She didn’t swallow it. It was like, oh my goodness. And the person we were having this pizza with was actually Rob, right there. We were having pizza.
And it was like insane. And we called over the manager. We were like, “What is the deal with this?”
And he was like, “Oh my gosh, do I need to call an ambulance? Do I need to... you know, what do we do—comp the meal?” You know?
Yes. No. Don’t call an ambulance, she’s okay. But it was crazy, because we hold some things to a higher standard. When you order a pizza, you’re not expecting glass, right? We expect... I want my pizza to be pure, you know? I can have some sausage, yeah. But I don’t want any glass in there.
And the same thing would be true for the metal worker—for the person who’s trying to develop these metals and get their highest value. He would be crazy about trying to get out all of the impurities. And so this is where sort of this whole methodology comes into play. And what a lot of people in Israel would understand is sort of this process of how would you do this?
And so, again, back to the verse. It says, “The crucible for silver, and the furnace for gold.” He’s talking about a process. And I’ve got some visual aids here to kind of help us as we go through this. A crucible would be this sort of, it looks like a bowl—yeah, kind of like what you see on the screen here. It would be this receptacle that was made of something like bone ash, you know? Like, everybody’s got something made of bone ash. Not really. But they would take bone ash because it could withstand super-high temperatures. And they would take these pieces of ore, like gold ore, and they would place it into the crucible. And then the crucible would then be placed into the furnace.
Let’s just pretend this is a crucible—a clear crucible, okay? And what would happen is, in this, you can see there’s these impurities that are kind of spread throughout it. There’s the gold; there’s all this other stuff—there’s impurities. And my goal as the metal worker is, man, I’ve got to do something to change this. Okay? And so, what they would do, is they would heat it. They put it in this furnace, and they would just be raising the temperature higher and higher and higher.
And, if you ever grill, I’ve got a grill outside of my house. And I can only get that baby to 500º, you know? That’s as hot as I can get it. This furnace, this grill, is cooking at 1,948º Fahrenheit. It’s hot. Four times hotter than my grill. And when you reach that temperature, something incredible would happen—something elemental would happen. This composite, solid ore would suddenly melt. Okay? It would melt.
And over here, we can take a look at what this would look like as it’s melting. Magic! It’s magic! I know, I know. So it melts. And there’s this sort of molten metal that’s on the bottom of it. And then, this is where the really awesome, incredible part of this process takes place. All of these impurities that were over here, all of a sudden, they begin to rise to the surface. And they’re on top. And, to get sort of a top-down view, you can see a little bit more of what that looks like. See all of that black that’s on the top? That would be called the dross—the dross. And dross is just, it’s the collection of the impurities. They rise to the surface.
And I wanna push pause right here, as I’m talking to you. Because, as fascinating as it is to learn about all of this metal work, we’re really talking about something else, right? We’re talking about something else. The end of the verse is what we’re talking about.
It says, “The crucible for silver, and the furnace for gold. But the Lord tests the heart.” Have you ever heard the expression, “Man, if you can’t handle the heat, get out of the kitchen”? Or: “Oh, man, things just, things just got really heated between us”? Or: “Man, those, things are just heating up at work”?
You know, we’ve heard these sorts of expressions before, and they’re all referring to the same thing. The same thing that Solomon is referring to. Stress. Difficulty. Hardship. Pressure. It feels like heat. It feels like it’s getting hot, you know? And when the heat starts to hit your heart, something happens.
Have you noticed that when you’re under a lot of stress—when you’re feeling a lot of pressure—that you might be a little more susceptible to say something that you regret? Or to do something that you wouldn’t normally do? Or maybe you find yourself, when you’re all stressed out, having these unhealthy, destructive thought patterns? It’s because of the truth that Solomon is referring to in this. Right? There is this process—the heat generates something to happen in your heart. And the heart then starts to let the impurities rise to the surface. And when we see ourselves saying things, doing things, thinking things that really aren’t helpful, that really are not a part of who you wanna be—it’s this process of the impurities rising to the surface.
Now, this next step is one of the most important in the whole process, because it’s all for nothing if the metal worker doesn’t do something to get rid of those impurities. Right? If I just, if I’m the metal worker, and I say, “Well, that was pretty cool. How I made that dross. And now I’m just gonna remove it from the heat.” What’s gonna happen to those impurities? Are they gonna like evaporate? No. They’re actually just gonna settle right back down into the ore once again. It remains just as impure as it was to begin.
And the same is true for you. The same is true for me. We’ve seen it hundreds of times in our lives, right? Where, you’re, let’s just say, you’re with your spouse, with your significant other, and, man, things are getting stressful. You start having a fight. And here comes that old card, passive aggressiveness. There it is. Or, oh, here’s where she brings up my past thing that I did. Or here’s where I say that really unkind word.
Right? These things... and then... it’s hot, it’s heavy, things are, you know, feeling bad. And then, if you get removed from the heat, you don’t keep saying that stuff—you don’t keep doing that stuff. It goes back and settles back. Because we have to do something about it. Otherwise, we’re just doomed to repeat this process again and again.
So when the impurities rise to the surface for the metal worker, he could do one of two things. He could either pour it off. (I’m not gonna do that, cause I’ll destroy the stage.) He would pour it off, or he would use a tool to skim away the impurities from the surface.
And I wonder, for you, as you think about your life recently and what you’ve been experiencing in your own relationships, in your own circumstances—what things have you felt rise to the surface... and then you’ve let them cool down? Maybe you’re in a hot phase right now, maybe you’re in a cool-down phase. But when you think about it, what are the things that you’ve let cool off and settle back?
So, really, the question is now: “What do I do about this? You know, what do I do? Now that I know that heat on my heart causes the impurities to rise—what do I do?” Well, I’m glad that you’re asking that question, cause I’m gonna give you some clarity.
I’ve got three steps that I think could be really, really helpful. And I know sometimes when someone is preaching or sharing content like this, it’s like, they come off as like “The Master.” You know? Like, “I’ve got it all figured out.”
I don’t have this all figured out at all. This is something I’m working through, too. But it feels right. And it resonates right when I do it right. And so let me share the first step with you. The first step is to claim it.
Okay? You’ve gotta claim it. When you notice that the heat in your heart has caused something to rise and you notice there’s a behavior, a word, a thought that surfaces, you can’t just push it off and say, “Oh, that’s, that’s somebody else’s thing. That.” Or: “This is because of this over here.”
No. You have to claim it, saying, “No. That is my own.”
Just a couple weeks ago, I was in Target with my kids. And, man, we were so ahead of the game. We were birthday shopping for my wife, Meredith. And her birthday wasn’t for two days! I know. I was like, yeah! And so, we’re in Target, and my son, Jude, he’s two, right, he’s two. And he’s like, “Dad! I’m gonna find a gift!”
And I was like, “Yeah. We’re all gonna find a gift, buddy, it’s okay.” You know, we’re walking around. And then he just sprints away.
And I’m like, “Well, come back!” No. He just keeps going. And my daughters were with me. I was like, “Go! Go catch up with him real fast; I’m coming.” And as I was trying to follow him, I had one of those carts that’s not like a normal cart. You know what I’m talking about? It’s like the extended-cab edition of the cart. And if you’ve ever tried to push one of those, they suck. You’re like... trying to get this thing. I’m trying to go as fast as I can to catch up. By the time I get to the end of my aisle, and I turn down, I see Jude—he’s all the way, with my girls, at the end of the store. And then he turns again. I’m like, gaaah.
And so I’m still going down. And, five minutes go by. Ten minutes go by. I don’t know where they are. They are gone! I’m like, oh my gosh. I haven’t heard any explosions in electronics yet, so I don’t think he’s over there. But, at some point, I’m like, uhhh. I find a worker. Right? This young lady who’s stacking shelves in the pharmacy section. And I walk up to her. She’s got a walkie-talkie on her belt. And I’m like, “Hi.”
And she turns over, and she looks at me like, “Who’s this creep?” You know?
And I’m like, “I’m sorry, but... I can’t find my kids.”
And she’s like, “Oh! I’d be happy to help you. Hold on one sec.” Pulls up her walkie-talkie, and she’s like, “WE HAVE A CODE YELLOW! WE HAVE A CODE YELLOW. I REPEAT—A CODE YELLOW.”
I’m like, “What is a code yellow?” I come discover later a code yellow is, like, they shut down the store. Nobody’s leaving. Nobody’s coming in here. It was like, brrr—you know, iron gates.
And I’m like, “Oh my, oh my gosh.”
Fortunately, about a minute later, some of the other workers had discovered my kids. And I find them, and I get Jude. And he is just like livid. He’s like, “Raaaar!” He’s still mad because he hasn’t found a gift yet, you know?
And I’m like, “Well, bud, we can’t do that again. I gotta put you in the cart. And I’m gonna have to keep you there. Because we can’t go through that again.”
And he’s like, “Graaaaah!” You know, like Godzilla-boy.
And so I have to lash him down, you know. Duct tape. You know, getting him in the cart. And he is screaming—screaming at the top of his lungs for like ten minutes. I’m that dad, you know, in Target. Just like... “It’s cool. I’m good. Don’t worry about it.” About ten minutes later, he’s still screaming. I’m like, “Dude, dude, stop.”
He keeps going. But then I hear this little, faint thing from down the aisle. I hear a little girl going, “WAAAAAAAAAAH!”
And I was like, oh, what’s that? A minute later, I see this mom walking up. And this mom has got a girl, in her cart, a little girl, and she’s got the same face that I have. She’s like...
Her kid’s just screaming. And then she walked up—it was almost like it was in slow motion, you know? She walks by—I make eye contact with her. I give her a nod. And it’s like we had this connection, on this deeper level, like this understanding of why it is that some animals eat their young. You know? We were just there.
So I share that story with you because, earlier on, when I was in Target, at some point, I realized it, right? Uh... my kids are gone. I can’t find them. I had to claim it. I had to claim it. This is not your problem; it’s not your problem. This is my junk. I gotta claim this. Okay? So that’s step one. And we gotta do the same thing as we notice the stuff rising to the surface; we gotta claim it.
The second thing is to name it. First, claim it. Second thing is to name it. Because there’s a difference, right? Something can rise to the surface of my life, and I can say, “Yeah, that’s mine. But I don’t really wanna look at it a whole lot. It’s ugly. Right? It’s got pimples. And it’s gross.” But I’ve got to name it. I’ve got to figure out, what is that thing?
And, oftentimes, friends, it’s not the thing that it appears to be on the surface. Right? When you have a harsh word with somebody, it’s not usually just because you’re mad. There’s usually some source that’s beneath the surface that’s fueling that thing. Right? If you act in a really, like, ungenerous way towards somebody, it’s probably not because you’re just a stingy person. There’s probably something deeper beneath the surface that’s informing that. So we’ve gotta name it.
Just last week, I was on a road trip with some colleagues. And as we were driving along, one of the ladies who was with us, she kept criticizing the driver. She kept saying things like, “Hey, watch your speed. You’re going a little fast. Hey, watch your blind spot, there’s somebody—hey! Be careful.” And she kept saying things like that throughout the whole trip. And it wasn’t like incessant, but she was saying it, you know, over and over again. And then, after a couple of hours, I said, just joking, I said, “Hey, uh, you know, I feel like I’ve discovered something about you. You have got this deep passion for transportation excellence.”
And we all kind of chuckled and laughed. And then she got this, she got this sort of like sheepish look on her face. She said, “Yeah, you know. I’m sorry that I keep saying stuff to the driver. I’m working on that.”
I’m thinking, you’re working on that?
She’s like, “I’m working on that.” And she said, “The truth is, from the time that I was five years old, to the time when I was a teenager, I was in seven terrible car accidents.”
And I was like, Andrew, you are a jerk. Right?
But she said, “Over time, when I became an adult, I started realizing, when I was a passenger in a car, I would get really anxious. And I would start making comments. I would get angry and I would get critical. And it wasn’t until much later that I realized, in therapy, how these car accidents had informed the way that I was feeling. I was feeling out of control and terrified.”
I was like, “Dang, girl, I was just making a joke.”
But she was very vulnerable. And I think it gets back to this concept. We’ve gotta name it. Right? And it might not be what it appears to be on the surface.
The third and final step—and don’t worry! Because it rhymes. You’re welcome. It’s to reframe it. Okay? To reframe it.
In Genesis, there is this amazing story about this young man named Joseph. And Joseph is betrayed by his brothers. His brothers decide to kill him. And then they change their mind. And they say, “We’re going to, we’re gonna sell him into slavery.”
And so Joseph goes through this life of hardship. He ends up being a slave. Then he gets falsely imprisoned. Over time, he actually rises to power through these crazy circumstances; he rises to power—he’s second in power only to Pharaoh, in Egypt. And his contribution to the nation is he is saving thousands and thousands of lives through his wisdom. It’s pretty amazing.
Near the end of the story, he’s reunited with his brothers. And his brothers are terrified. They’re like, “Oh my gosh! This guy’s gonna kill us! And we deserve it.”
But Joseph’s response is one of the most beautiful responses in all of Scripture. And he says this; it’s in Genesis chapter fifty. He says, I think we’ve got it. But if we don’t, that’s okay. He says, “What you intended to harm me, God intended it for good.” Right? What you intended for harm, God intended for good. In other words, he reframes the whole situation in a way that could only be done so with the help of God.
And, friends, I think for you and for me, this is something that is available to us, too. It’s this sort of perspective. And, just as an aside, before I talk a little more specifically about how we can apply this. I think, when we talk about this sort of stuff in our lives, it can be hard. There are things from our past—regrets, guilt, shame—that gets dredged up. And the reality is you might not be able to change some things from the past. Right? You can’t always go back and talk to that person. You can’t always go back and work that thing out. But I don’t think that it means that it’s hopeless. I think that if we’ll invite God through the power of Jesus...
Alright, think about the ultimate reframing that happened in history. When Jesus went to the cross. And then He died. And He was defeated. But then it was reframed. Because, in actuality, through the power of God, He was resurrected, and He defeated death and sin. And made that same power available to us.
That is a reframing. And that same reframing power is available to us as we think about some of these situations that we regret. What if you just opened your hands to God and said, “God, I’m still carrying around this thing. I’m sorry about it. I’ve said, ‘Sorry,’ lots of times about it. I can’t change it, but would You help me to reframe it? Would You do something, maybe, to change it for good, somehow? I don’t know. I don’t know.”
So, in terms of applying these things, right? To claim it. To name it. To reframe it. How are we gonna do this? How are we gonna do this? Well, this is what I would love to invite you into—is thinking through how maybe this could apply to your own life moving forward. And I had something happen last week that really kind of highlighted this in my own life. And this is actually a failure that I’m gonna share with you. Like, it’s this, it was when I didn’t do this right, but it still feels like a good example. Okay?
So, I was preparing for this message. And it was about a week ago. And as I was preparing, I was just, was feeling really stressed out—I was feeling the heat. Cause I was like, “I’m gonna suck. I’m not... this is... I’m gonna go up there, and I’m gonna let everybody down. God, I’m gonna let you down!” You know? I was just feeling, I was feeling the pressure. And I remember, I went home, just feeling like I hadn’t gotten anything good done that day. And when I got home, my middle daughter, Tru, whined about something. Right? This wasn’t terribly out of the ordinary. And I snapped. And I yelled at her. And I remember, in the wake of that moment, just feeling so bad. Like, ugh. What am I doing?
Now, if I was to engage in this process, I think that it would’ve looked something like this: I would’ve claimed it. Right? I would’ve said, “Oh. What just happened there? That was my junk. That was my junk. I claim that nasty, you know, outburst that I just had.” And then I would name it. Because it really wasn’t about Tru. It wasn’t really about anger. It was about me not trusting God—what God was calling me to do, and that He would provide. And then, to reframe it. What if I, what if I had done something like this? Imagine how this would’ve played out in this relationship. What if I would’ve said, “Tru, I’m so sorry. Will you forgive me for saying that to you? For shouting at you? It wasn’t really about you. I was having a hard day at work, and I feel like I’m wrestling with trusting God enough. I’m sorry.”
Would that drive us farther away? Or would that reframe something and bring us closer together?
Right, rhetorical, right?
I mean... it would forge us closer together. And I think that we, each of us, has the ability to do something like this.
So what I’m gonna challenge you to do, and invite you to do, is, over the next seven days—I’m not asking you to do this for the rest of your life. But could you, would you consider, for one week, just one week, every time you notice that something has risen to the surface—when you notice that there’s heat on your heart and there’s impurity rising to the surface, will you pause and do your best to claim it? “This is mine. This is my junk.” Will you name it? It might take a little extra work—you might have to talk to somebody about it. Right? You might have to work through it and figure out, what’s informing it? What’s the source beneath that’s really informing this? And will you invite the power of Jesus to reframe it as you go forward?
I think if you do this, it could be transformative for your life. It can transform your family. It can transform any community that you might be a part of. I mean, it’s like, it’s that big of a deal. I believe it. And, like Todd said, it’s been working on my heart for two years. So.
I wonder, you know, at the beginning, I was saying that there were these threads that went throughout Scripture. And I wondered if you noticed there was a thread going throughout my talk as well. And that thread was that all of this work is done in the context of relationship. It’s done with God, and it’s done with others. All of it. God’s plan for us to develop and to grow, to be challenged, it’s almost always in the context of other people with us.
If you would, would you just put your hands out, palm up, because I’d love to speak a blessing over all of you, if that’s all right. If you don’t want to receive it, just put your hands down. “I don’t want it.” But let me speak a blessing over you.
May you, my friends, my brothers and sisters, not be afraid of the heat on your heart. When the heat comes, may you lean into it. When the heat comes, and you notice that impurities have risen to the surface of your heart, may you do the work of claiming, of naming it, and of reframing it—through the power of the resurrected Jesus. And may it transform your heart. May it transform your families. May it transform our world for the good of our God. Thank you all, guys. I love ya. I’ll see you soon.