#GrowWise. The Cure for Soul Cancer

January 17, 2015

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Proverbs 17:3 (read the whole chapter)

The crucible for silver and the furnace for gold,
but the Lord tests the heart. 



How good do you want to be?

Let me ask it another way. How much corruption are you willing to tolerate within yourself?

Do you want solid unadulterated gold or will you settle for gold plating?

It’s a fair question. If you want to settle for less than the best it’s ok. You just need to be honest about it. The worst case scenario is self deception because self deceived people deceive others.

Self deception, by its very nature, is hidden from the one who is deceived. It’s kind of like cancer a lot of the time. You don’t know it when you’ve got it and often by the time you find out its too late.

Today’s text offers good news for all of us. There’s a treatment plan that will not only eradicate the self deception we may not be aware of, but over time, it will make us into the kind of people we most want to become.

The treatment is called “refining.” Like gold and silver are heated up in a crucible so the impurities can rise to the top and be removed, God refines human beings, restoring in them the image of the original glory of the goodness of God. The truth of today’s text runs like a thread throughout the Bible. Take a look at this excerpt from Psalm 139.

You have searched me, Lord,
    and you know me.
You know when I sit and when I rise;
    you perceive my thoughts from afar.
You discern my going out and my lying down;
    you are familiar with all my ways.
Before a word is on my tongue
    you, Lord, know it completely.
You hem me in behind and before,
    and you lay your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
    too lofty for me to attain. 

Psalm 139:1-6

Bottom line: God knows.

I have grown to deeply appreciate what the Anglicans call the Collect for Purity from their Book of Common Prayer. I would definitely include a prayer like this in the treatment plan.

Almighty God, to you all hearts are open, all desires known, and from you no secrets are hid. Cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit that we may perfectly love you and worthily magnify your holy name, through Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen.

We want this. The meaning of life is learning to love like God loves, with creative power. The process is refinement.

The last few verses of Psalm 139 puts it like this:

Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me and lead me in the way everlasting. vv. 23-24. 

The crucible for silver and the furnace for gold,
but the Lord tests the heart. 

So here’s the kind of chemotherapy I’m prescribing (and taking). I commend it to you. Learn that Collect for Purity. Just start saying it every morning until you have it “rememberized.” And live with Psalm 139 for the next few weeks (or months). Just read it slowly and meditate on it. Always end with the prayer at the end. In fact, write out vv.23-24 now somewhere you can keep it handy.

This is a guaranteed cure. We just have to show up for treatment.

I’ll see you tomorrow in Proverbs 18.


J.D. Walt writes daily for Seedbed’s Daily Text. He serves as Seedbed’s Sower in Chief. Follow him @jdwalt on Twitter or email him at jd.walt@seedbed.com.

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