Since growing more mature in the Lord I have understood in many ways how the Lord is refining me. While the Lord can communicate to each of us in different ways in our lives, He has shown me many things about my character through dreams for the purposes of refining me.
Conformed to Jesus Christ
The Bible talks about how believers in Christ are being conformed to the image of Jesus Christ (Romans chapter 8 verse 29), and Apostle Paul says, “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me” (Galatians chapter 2 verse 20). I have seen how the Lord is desiring to lead me into walking closer with Him in a path of holiness. This is a path the Lord desires for us all as we are told to be holy as He is holy (1 Peter chapter 1 verse 16) and Jesus told us to be perfect like His Father in heaven (Matthew chapter 5 verse 48).
Sin within the heart
In this journey of faith in the Lord many uncomfortable truths have been revealed in my life. Some of my experiences of the Lord’s refining are where He reveals hidden sin within my heart. Though we live and exist in the earth we are told and encouraged to “…walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh” (Galatians chapter 5 verse 16). I have found that the things of the Spirit are difficult to discern and accepting the refining of the Lord can be a challenging experience in our lives as it requires humility and can involve trials, rebuke, correction and embarrassment.
Whenever I’ve found something revealed to me by the Lord, who is in control of all things, I receive conviction of the Holy Spirit and understanding that this hidden evil is within my heart. Psalm chapter 19 verse 12 clearly states “Who can understand his errors? Cleanse me from secret faults.” The Lord knows our hearts, and all is before Him. Many times, I felt sorrow at what was revealed, but we are not to dwell on our shortcomings and failures, but we are to know that our “…godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation” (2 Corinthians chapter 7 verse 10).
The refining of the Lord
Something I found so helpful in my walk in the Lord was to repent of those hidden sins the Lord reveals are within my heart. I find comfort and guidance in the Lord’s words in Revelation chapter 3 verse 19, “As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore, be zealous and repent.” What is revealed in my dreams brings me conviction and shows me those things within that are not the fruit of the Lord’s Spirit. The fruit of the Lord’s Spirit are: “Love, joy, peace, long-suffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.” (Galatians 5 verse 22 to 23).
I had a dream where a family member had thrown out a number of my valued possessions that I had been collecting for emergency preparedness on the sidewalk as hard rubbish. In the dream I became very upset as I had collected these items also for my family's benefit and what I believed was valuable was thrown away. I became incensed in the dream and filled with rage and began to curse at the family member in front of others. This was uncharacteristic of me and I have never done this but in the dream I was so offended I became overtaken with an unholy rage. The dream faded and I woke up immediately convicted of having done wrong, that I shouldn’t value physical possessions over my family to the point that I would lose my sense and control in rage. I believe the Lord was showing me a situation where I may fall into unforgiveness and rage. In the dream I wasn’t prepared to forgive my family member and was planning to leave. When woke up I knew that I need to forgive if something like this happens in my life. I also pondered that if God, who is my Father in heaven, took away my comfort and possessions would I react the way I did in the dream and curse and rage?
Sometimes a painful process
Dreams such as these reveal spiritual matters that are difficult to understand in everyday life, and I have found analysing and praying about dreams to be very important in submitting to the Lord’s refining. The Lord tells us, “Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you” (James chapter 4 verse 7). Hidden sins within us are not of God but are of the enemy and of the flesh, so when the Lord reveals them we should also submit to God (by humility and repentance) and resist them.
I had another dream showing situations where I may be prideful, another showing negligence and carelessness, another showing that I’m not listening well enough to what the Lord is telling me.
One dream the Lord gave me showed it well; there was a wooden splinter embedded in my index finger and it was too deep for tweezers and I needed to use a pin to get it out. I knew this would cause pain to dig out the splinter but unless I submitted to the painful process to remove the splinter my finger would become infected and the pain would only grow worse. This is the same with the Lord’s refining, where the precise pin of the Lord must be used to remove deeply embedded sins and issues in our lives that are splinters. This process is not easy and is painful, but once the splinter is removed we feel so much better!
Throughout my journey in Jesus I try my best not to shy away from these hidden uncomfortable things, but to expose them and repent of them and seek the Lord to help me be pure. In 1 Peter chapter 1 verse 7 it says, “That the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honour, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” I hope the Lord may continue to refine me through the fire, that my faith may prove to be genuine!
Christopher Harris is 28 years old and confessed his faith in Jesus Christ in 2016 and has sought to set his focus on the Lord. He makes videos on his YouTube channel https://www.youtube.com/JESUSisLORD and believes the world is living in those times prophesied by the Holy Bible as the last days.
A link to Christopher’s other articles: https://www.pressserviceinternational.org/christopher-harris.html