finding out what you’re made of

Posted: September 14th, 2011 | Filed under: God, life | Tags: , | 15 Comments »

“Crisis always reveal a person’s true character.” – Oswald Chambers

It’s completely normal to start panicking when the house of cards falls down. You were so proud of yourself with all that balance and mad skills of engineering and near catastrophe avoidance. Enough success can make anyone hone their slick moves in the dance of ‘Yay!’.

But when the cards fall and the mess is made, we kick the table and remove our party hats. Back to being a ‘nobody’ and questioning our purpose. It’s the moment of failure when you realize that your faith was in yourself and now you don’t know how to get back to the faith that was pure.

The only pure faith is that which is in Jesus and all He is.

For no one can lay a foundation other than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.-1 Corinthians 3:11

God sends the storm to show you what you’re made of. He does it on purpose. He’s not trying to crush you, He’s trying to show you where you’re looking. If you’re not looking at Him, you need to know it and this is the best way to do it. All He’s trying to do is get you to see Him, to see your need for Jesus, and to get you to stop relying on how good you are at doing what He called you to do. If you’ve been called to do something, thinking you can do it, He’s going to let you know how incapable you are.

For God has consigned all to disobedience, that he may have mercy on all. -Romans 11:32

He makes sure you know what failure is. He does this so you know His mercy. It’s the only way to get you to stop relying on yourself to be who you’re supposed to be.

…it will be revealed by fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done. -1 Corinthians 3:13

If you’re relying on yourself, then all pieces of ‘you’ that are giving you strength will be burned up. There is nothing like a little dose of humility to keep you strong.

Failure is not proof that you were not or are no longer a Christian. See this is where the revelation of where your faith takes place. Faith in the ability to not fail will be met with the destruction of that faith.

  • How do you forgive yourself? See what God is trying to show you.
  • How do you ‘love’ the one who failed? See what God is trying to show you and them.

He’s bringing you out of superficial faith in Jesus and making it perfectly clear. Your need for Him and your inadequacy are all revealed while your faith is realigned to where it should be.

If the work that anyone has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward. -1 Corinthians 3:14

The reward is that you get to keep what was built right. You get to keep what wasn’t false.

“Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock.” -Jesus in Matthew 7:24-25

The ‘words’ that Jesus is talking about come right before that verse. They are:

  • judge the same way you want to be judged (verse 1-2)
  • get the chunk of wood out of your own eye so you can see to remove the splinter from someone elses (verse 3-5)
  • don’t waist your time on people out for their own gain (verse 6)
  • rely on Jesus for what you need to fulfill what He asks (verse 7-11)
  • do to others what you want done to you (verse 12)
  • get life only from Jesus, not from how great you are (verse 13-14)
  • beware of people who preach religion without the grace of Jesus. you know them by their love (verse 15-20 and John 13:34-35)
  • be aware that not everybody who claims to know Jesus and does great things in His name are actually known by Him (verse 21-23)

This is what ‘a wise man’ builds his life on. Jesus is the rock. If you build your life of faith on those words, then, when the storms of life come, you will still have something left. That’s your reward.

“And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it.” -Jesus in Matthew 7:26-27

He’s not concerned with pushing you out, He wants you to get it right. He’s going to strum the strings that are out of tune, not to shame you, but to show you where you need some tuning.

If anyone’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire. -1 Corinthians 3:15

Failure is an out of tune string. How will you know it’s out of tune unless you play it?

Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you? -1 Corinthians 3:16

He LOVES you! He’s making His home in you. He’s making you able to stand when life tries to knock you down.

If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him. For God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple.-1 Corinthians 3:17

He won’t let anyone destroy you. He’ll destroy them first. If you condemn another and destroy their faith you become an enemy to God. Remember, faith is not in self, it is in Jesus. Remind them of Jesus, not themselves.

God is the protector of all He owns, ready to fight for you when you’re under attack.

“Sing about a fruitful vineyard: I, the LORD, watch over it; I water it continually. I guard it day and night so that no one may harm it. I am not angry. If only there were briers and thorns confronting me! I would march against them in battle; I would set them all on fire.” -Isaiah 27:2-4 NIV

But, He doesn’t want to fight. He wants you ALL. Both the wise and unwise. The attacked and the attacker. God’s love goes far beyond the mistakes of humans.

“Or else let them come to me for refuge; let them make peace with me, yes, let them make peace with me.”Isaiah 27:5 NIV

God loves you and because of that, He makes sure that you are not a crippled mess of half-baked religion and misguided faith. Sooner or later, we’ll learn the Truth no matter what we do. Everything is His, everything marked with the stamp of ‘Redemption’. Use your light of faith, your ‘saltiness’ to bring out the God flavors. You belong to Him. Take your lessons and grow into the art of beauty and let love drip from the fruit of your life.

Let no one deceive himself. If anyone among you thinks that he is wise in this age, let him become a fool that he may become wise. For the wisdom of this world is folly with God. For it is written, “He catches the wise in their craftiness,” and again,”The Lord knows the thoughts of the wise, that they are futile.” So let no one boast in men. For all things are yours, whether …the world or life or death or the present or the future—all are yours, and you are Christ’s, and Christ is God’s. -1 Corinthians 3:18-23



15 Comments on “finding out what you’re made of”

  1. 1 Robyn said at 7:06 am on September 14th, 2011:


    Did you write this just for me? It hit right where I needed a jolt. I am getting use to living through storms much easier now. I return my focus in a blink of an eye. It's not that I am waiting, anticipating an attack or a failure, but I am not shaken by them any longer when they come.

    Thank you for blogging! You are speaking truth in love, and in honesty. WE need that more and more.


  2. 2 brenda said at 7:16 am on September 14th, 2011:

    I am a recovering legalist desperate to learn grace, and as the disciples watched and learned from Jesus, I am grateful that you put yourself out there so I can watch and learn from you….to Him be the Glory.

    Thank you.

  3. 3 Xochi said at 8:07 am on September 14th, 2011:

    Thank you for writing truth. I enjoy reading your description of God's truth in black or white but not both. I pray that God continue to give you His wisdom and bless you and your loved ones with great health.

    For His Glory~

  4. 4 Heather said at 9:02 am on September 14th, 2011:

    I feel like I am in a big season of finding out what I am made for. Seems like every other day I am in tears saying, "God I just can't anymore. Please provide relief and healing to my heart and renew my mind." I have to keep hoping even though I hurt. Thanks so much for your true words.

  5. 5 Serena Woods said at 10:47 am on September 14th, 2011:

    Robyn: Maybe I did. 😉 I’m glad it hit home.

    Brenda: Recovering from legalism is a tough road. 🙂 Thanks for letting me know you’re there.

    Xochi: Thank you!

    Heather: I remember a few years ago when I was driving down the road, making circles around my neighborhood. I was stressed and at the end of myself. I kept screaming, literally screaming: “I have nothing to hold on to!” Until I wore myself out, then I went home.

    I think that some of our biggest sources of spiritual trouble are when we are being pulled out into the open spaces, but we’re still clinging to the safety of the cage that guards everything we know. We don’t want to let go because we don’t know what anything else means.

    Freedom is found, though, when you let go. (of what others will think, of what you are comfortable with, of traditions, of expectations, …)

  6. 6 April said at 3:29 am on September 15th, 2011:

    I guess I am in a place where I am finding out what I am made of… I'm in group therapy for anger. My phone does not ring much, I don't have but a couple of true friends.

    I'm sad. I screamed out loud yesterday while my kids were at school, husband at work… "God, do you love me?" It echoed our 1940's creaky wood floors and bounced against the plaster walls.

    He is showing me that I have looked to the approval of others, the attention of others, etc… for love. I've let them fill my empty spaces and for different reasons I ultimately pushed most everyone away and I am now at a place of simply me and God. Me and my thoughts. I'm wrestling with a lot of things in me that need to change for the better, but not seeing hope.

    I've been feeling unloved. Unless someone approves … I realize I have had issues with anger, I haven't spoken kindly to people, I have pushed them away then tried to pull them back with apologies that by that point most likely seem hollow at best.

    I am trying to learn what love really is, and why I do all of this. I don't "feel" like God loves me. I "feel" like the isolation (that I guess I brought upon myself in many ways) is Him counting me out. I also don't feel like I could say this in bible study. So, I don't go. It's every Tuesday morning. I stay home.

    However, I know these "feelings" are not the truth.

    I'm sad. I'm confused. but… I am. Starting now, telling myself truth- I am loved. I know I am loved. He loves me. He can change me. He is not leaving me, ever. He will make me a better friend, neighbor, life giver with my words… He will, He has already gone ahead of me. It's good.

  7. 7 April said at 3:33 am on September 15th, 2011:

    I feel God has counted me out. I am in group therapy for anger. I have hurt so many people with my words. I screamed out yesterday in the living room of our little house built in the 40s … God, do you love me? I could feel the old wood floors beneathe my feet feel as cold as my heart.

  8. 8 April said at 3:54 am on September 15th, 2011:

    I feel like I've been counted out. I screamed at the top of my lungs in our old 1940's little house "God? Do you love me?" I could feel the original wood floors cold beneathe my feet and the echo from the thick walls mock me.

    I'm in group therapy for anger. I see that as a good thing, I've pushed so many people away, I feel like I'm too messed up for God.

    I know that's not true, but it's hard to believe otherwise. Maybe I am finding what I am made of… on my way to change that feels so slow that it doesn't seem like I will get there.

  9. 9 April said at 3:55 am on September 15th, 2011:

    sorry, y'all.. I didn't mean to post that twice.

  10. 10 Stacy said at 7:23 am on September 15th, 2011:

    Serena, thank you for your blog. It means a lot to so many people. I was led here (I believe) through a review of your book which talked about how "controversial" it was. I can't imagine why it's so controversial to talk about the grace of God, the very essence of Christianity. Thanks for your courage to share with all of us. I can't believe how God keeps pulling me back in every time I decide I'm not good enough to serve Him.

  11. 11 April said at 7:43 am on September 15th, 2011:

    oops- didn't mean to double post.

  12. 12 Heather said at 9:14 am on September 15th, 2011:

    This is exactly what God is up to in me. Showing me that my foundation was supported by what people think, traditions, good expectations that failed.

    I am headed for freedom. I have it now, but I need Jesus' healing to keep me here. I need Jesus to show me how to think and go forward into the future. I am hopeful that I am learning and growing because the last time I was hurt, accused, my recovery time was faster. I was back on my feet and headed in His direction within 24 hours, which is a huge improvement.

  13. 13 Serena Woods said at 5:31 pm on September 15th, 2011:

    April: I hurt for the phase you’re in. I wish I had something new and profound to say. Just know you’re welcome here. 🙂 I love how transparent you are. Honesty gets you somewhere.

    Stacy: I’ve seen a few negative reviews of my book. One in particular took some words out of context and didn’t get the details right and a couple others didn’t read the book, but based their review on the first one. It’s silly, but I don’t mind it. They’re saying enough to send people who need grace this way, so it has a purpose, too. 🙂 Grace is controversial because it grates against ‘self’.

    Heather: It’s hard to be in that kind of environment, but it’s awesome that God’s voice is stronger than the voice of uncertainty.

  14. 14 April said at 1:13 am on September 16th, 2011:

    thank you. Weird – every time I posted… a funny screen popped up that looked like it didn’t take or something, so I tried again and again, rewriting the same thought.

    then I saw a all of the posts did actually make it… :S

  15. 15 serenawoods said at 10:30 pm on September 16th, 2011:

    I'm trying to fix it, but I'm not sure what I'm doing. 🙂 I'm pretty sure I'm going to mess something up here… 🙂

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