by Mike Ratliff
1 “I love You, O LORD, my strength.”
2 The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer,
My God, my rock, in whom I take refuge;
My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. Psalms 18:1-2 (NASB)
This walk before the face of God is according to the ways of God not according the ways of men. God’s good work in our hearts to grow us unto Christlikeness resembles the work of of a good diamond cutter who shapes an uncut, rough gemstone from something that is not worth much in its raw state into a polished, faceted, and extremely valuable diamond that appears to have a brilliant fire within with innumerable facets reflecting that light in every direction. The various planes and facets are cut to perfection. That internal fire is actually the result of the diamond’s form as a many faceted prism. The light comes from outside the diamond, but it appears to be within.
A glass or paste “diamond” is not a real gemstone and it does not have the same properties. They may look real but since they aren’t made of the same material they cannot reflect that light like a genuine diamond. However, if only a cursory examination is made of them they can pass for a real diamond, but when an expert looks at them it doesn’t take long to determine that they are not genuine. When he looks upon a real diamond he will see its genuineness. If it is well cut, it will be graded high and be worth much more than one that has been poorly cut. If it has flaws it will still be valued as genuine, but it won’t be graded as high.
The cutting process makes the genuine diamond more valuable than it was as an uncut stone. The cutting and polishing process actually removes material from the stone. What is removed is not part of the finished product. The places from which the material was removed is either planed further with more cuts or they are polished to beautiful smoothness. If a gemstone felt pain or had emotions it would not enjoy this cutting and polishing process at all. Instead it would protest that it was being destroyed.
People aren’t gemstones. However, I am sure you see the analogy. There are genuine gemstones which are genuine Christians. Some are flawed more than others. The Great Diamond Cutter is God. He takes His selected gemstones and transforms them the way He desires according to His plan and purpose. Some are cut to be brilliant examples of grace. Others are cut to be used to cut through hard surfaces. That purpose is God’s not the Christian. Also, there are fake diamonds. They look like real ones if the examination is only cursory. However, they were not born from the same processes as a diamond. Instead they were manufactured some other way. Their resemblance to a real cut diamond can be quite striking. They can be beautiful and appear to be geuine, but the Great Diamond Cutter knows that those planes and facets on them were simply formed not cut and polished by Him. If he applied His pressure to them they would be destroyed, but when He works on a real diamond it is not destroyed. It is only made more valuable.
Those who are genuine Christians whom God is using did not become usable vessels for our Lord without Him applying His processes of cutting and polishing to their surfaces to bring them to a brilliant resemblance of their Lord. They may appear humble and utilitarian to the world like an industrial diamond, but they are the ones God has shaped according to His purposes to fulfill a specific part of His plan.
This work on our character can be quite painful. It would be impossible to withstand it in our own strength. We can only survive it if our Lord sustains and upholds us. As we remain in His crucible of grace we must rely on that grace or we will surely give up and despair. One way we can do that while we are being cut and polished is to read and study scripture passages such as Psalm 28 because it shows us that it is the same God who is shaping us who is protecting and upholding us. Pray this psalm back to God. Enjoy and be blessed.
A Prayer for Help, and Praise for Its Answer.
A PSALM OF DAVID.
1 To You, O LORD, I call;
My rock, do not be deaf to me,
For if You are silent to me,
I will become like those who go down to the pit.
2 Hear the voice of my supplications when I cry to You for help,
When I lift up my hands toward Your holy sanctuary.
3 Do not drag me away with the wicked
And with those who work iniquity,
Who speak peace with their neighbors,
While evil is in their hearts.
4 Requite them according to their work and according to the evil of their practices;
Requite them according to the deeds of their hands;
Repay them their recompense.
5 Because they do not regard the works of the LORD
Nor the deeds of His hands,
He will tear them down and not build them up.
6 Blessed be the LORD,
Because He has heard the voice of my supplication.
7 The LORD is my strength and my shield;
My heart trusts in Him, and I am helped;
Therefore my heart exults,
And with my song I shall thank Him.
8 The LORD is their strength,
And He is a saving defense to His anointed.
9 Save Your people and bless Your inheritance;
Be their shepherd also, and carry them forever. Psalms 28 (NASB)
Now my fellow diamonds in the process of becoming brilliantly shaped and polished gems that reflect God’s light with a burning fire, understand that our glorification awaits. Right now we are in process. We are rough cut stones that the world sees as nearly worthless. All the while, fake diamonds who have gone through none of God’s sanctifying processes are seen as those Christians who are important and valuable members of society. While those who are truly His are seen as unimportant and worthy only of scorn and persecution.
The very hardships that we endure that cause us to humbly cry out to God in our pain are used by Him to cut and polish our planes and facets. He is shaping us for His purposes and for His glory. When He has completed His work He will be able to see His own reflection in each of our facets while His light from His life in us burns brilliantly from within while reflecting out in all directions for everyone to see.
Soli Deo Gloria!