Hebrews 11:32-40 (KJV)

32 And what shall I more say? for the time would fail me to tell of Gedeon, and of Barak, and of Samson, and of Jephthae; of David also, and Samuel, and of the prophets:
33 Who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions,
34 Quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens.
35 Women received their dead raised to life again: and others were tortured, not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection:
36 And others had trial of cruel mockings and scourgings, yea, moreover of bonds and imprisonment:
37 They were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword: they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented;
38 (Of whom the world was not worthy:) they wandered in deserts, and in mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth.
39 And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise:
40 God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect.

Although most of us would love to have the heroic trust of the men and women mentioned in Hebrews 11, few of us are willing to go through the process which God uses to develop this kind of dynamic faith.

We love reading about the great victories and accomplishments of those who trusted the Lord, but we cringe at the descriptions in verses 36-38. None of us want to go through such horrific situations, but adversity is God’s way of purifying our faith.

Picture the Lord as a master sculptor standing before a block of marble–that slab is you!

Picturing the hidden work of art within the rock, He lovingly and carefully chips away at everything that does not fit the masterpiece He’s creating.

Character:
One of the first areas the Lord deals with is your character. His goal is to shape you into the image of His Son, and there are some traits and attitudes that must be chipped away in order for Him to accomplish the task. His chisel lays bare roots of sin and selfishness.

Idolatry:
When anything or anyone becomes more important to us than the Lord, we have an idol in our lives. To protect us, God sometimes uses adversity to strip away everything we have relied upon so that we’ll cling only to Him.

The chisel hurts–it sometimes feels as if God is taking away everything we hold dear. Unless you understand His goal and believe He’s working for your good, you’ll think He’s cruel.

But if you trust Him and yield to His shaping tool of adversity, your faith will be purified and strengthened through affliction.

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