GOD’S BEST, HEAVEN NOW AND ETERNALLY, IS NOT FOR THE THIN-SKINNED. In future posts, I’d like to follow this thought: What experiences must we go through to thicken our skin? God’s people have always been tender and sensitive to His Spirit, but rawhide tough to the influences that try to subvert, divide, and weaken. Where are you on the “skin thickness” scale? Are you fragile, frail, or fickle due to the onslaught of life? Or, are you able to get slapped around, beaten, cussed, and burned without caving in? That’s my goal in this series. God bless you as you join us and read along. Let’s toughen up together, enjoy Jesus, and the life more abundantly He offers to the few, the chosen, the strong!
SKIN THICKENERS: APPROVED BY THE FIRE
Romans 5:3–5 (ESV)
3 …We rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance,
4 and endurance produces character, and character produces hope,
5 and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.
Paul doesn’t just say, “We rejoice in the midst of suffering,” period. He says, “We rejoice in the midst of suffering because it produces something.” What does it produce? Look at the next phrase in your Bibles. “We rejoice in the midst of our suffering, knowing that suffering produces endurance. Endurance produces character.” Character is the blockbuster term here in Romans (Romans 5), That’s the Greek term dokimas, and it literally means “someone or something that has been put to the test and has measured up.” I’ve heard that in the Middle East, if you visit a potter and look at a vessel, a jar, that’s been through the fire, it’s only worth something if it hasn’t cracked. Having withstood the heat, unbroken, it comes out whole. It comes out complete. If you turn that jar over, on the bottom you’ll find stamped DOKIAMAS. It means “approved.” It’s a vessel of character. It has withstood the test of the furnace where it has been refined, and it hasn’t broken; it is whole, complete. That’s character.
The kiln actually serves to toughen and thicken the soft, pliable, fragile clay. Let God’s furnace do it’s work! He’s looking for the APPROVED.