The opposite of focus is distraction.
To blend or amalgamate into a whole, through heat. Central to fusing is intensity, which is about concentration and application, all directed to a single point.
“His personality began to focus, his powers to fuse.” 1
The Bible has one word for this: wholehearted!
The realities, resources and reign of God, entering and transforming our ‘earthly contexts.’
It is the committed and wholehearted, who are changing the world, whether they are doing it for good or bad!
“Throw your heart over the bar, the rest will of you will follow!”
It is fine to be zealous, provided the purpose is good, and to be so always, not just when I am with you. Gal 4:18
Is what we desire from our ego, or is it Father saying “here you go!” I want you to have this or do this for me!
I believe that God gives me the power to attain what He’s brought to my heart and mind. I expect the best and with God’s help I will attain the best! 2
Whilst going through some difficult times, a man had a dream. In his dream he was inside a large kitchen oven, which had a glass door and the temp in the oven got hotter and hotter. It got so bad that he cried out in his dream for God’s help. To his amazement, the kitchen door opened and in walked Jesus! Thank God, he said out loud, as Jesus walked over to the glass fronted oven, bent down and looked in. What happened next gob smacked him – Jesus said, “Nearly done,” and walked out!
The man later understood that God was using the difficulties as ‘Necessary Heat,’ which had a purpose and when that was complete, the man would be ready and come out from this exacting place.
When something is exacting it is dynamically trying and persistently demanding, in an unremitting, relentless way!
The Father will take us into these places, to prove, refine and test us and He will encourage us to stay there until we are done! That is until the necessary heat causes a Separation and an Extraction!
- Exacting places can be Extracting places!
- Extracting means to draw forth or out, pull or take out, to withdraw by a process
- Father’s process is to take us into Exacting places
- Provide the Necessary heat
- Extract what needs to come out or up.
Joseph is the prime example of this Exacting and Extracting process!
…till what he foretold came to pass, till the word of the Lord proved him true. (Psalm 105:19 NIV)The time between what God had said to Joseph and it becoming a reality, is referred to as The Proving Time: Till the word of The Lord proved him true.
From the first time Joseph went public with his dreams, to interpreting Pharaoh’s dreams, the stuff hits the fan and, this is the Necessary Heat, the Father uses to ‘prove’ His son and servant!
The Hebrew word for prove pictures refining metal, which requires intense heat. This heat leads to the rising of alloys within the metal, that once removed, will increase the genuineness and value of the metal.
Joseph needed Exacting places, to extract the alloys that were affecting his character and his faith. So too will we because our faith is a vital and highly valued commodity to our Father –
Such trials show the proven character of your faith, which is much more valuable than gold – gold that is tested by fire, even though it is passing away…. (1 Peter 1:7 NET)
- Our faith and gold are both tested by fire – heat.
- The heat our Father uses is trials, testing times, exacting places.
Just as steel is tempered before it takes its place and receives its load, so too will we. Peter, James and John were ‘load bearing leaders’ (Gal 2:9 describes them as pillars) and the gospels record that the Father tested all three before they became pillars aka ‘load bearers!
- Father has to take us into places of trial and testing so He can say we have been ‘Tried and Tested!’
- Many of the trials and tests are the Pre-quel to the main event, just like Joseph.
- Joseph was tried & tested on the way to the palace but he was also tested & tried within his success at the palace! (esp when his bros shown up)!
We may be in an exacting place, which is trying us and demanding much from us. We may feel like getting out from under it all.
- Before you do, can I encourage you to ask the Father if this would be a good move.
- Ask Him what He might be trying to Extract from us, through this time: an attitude, mindset, stronghold,
- Ask Him if you are ready?
- Has the heat done its work?
- Maybe He’s trying to extract an idea, new concept or creative solution from you?
Exacting places are not to be viewed as purely negative, after all ‘necessity is the mother of all invention!’
The bottom line is that there is a bottom line, and it reveals a Father who uses Necessary Heat to draw out perspectives and potential from His sons. The Father took Moses and all the Israelites out of Egypt and slavery and immediately took them into the land of milk and honey! Not so, He took them through the desert and to be honest they don’t come much hotter than this.
- Before they could have what God had laid up for them, they had to be proved; their hearts had to be tested.
Remember how the Lord your God led you all the way in the wilderness these forty years, to humble and test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands. (Deuteronomy 8:2 NIV
So, let me re-write a well know phrase – If we understand heat stay in the kitchen!
- Stay in the trial & test until you are ready, let perseverance do its work. See James 1:2
- Rem: He will never test us belong our ability to endure. 1 Cor 10:13
- Try & develop a ‘consider it pure joy’ attitude! James 1:2
- Keep our eyes on the prize, not the problem. Hebs 12:2
- Quit anything that hinders or entangles our ability to persevere & run our course Hebs 12:1
Father has used some right characters and each one He took through necessary heat, so as to prove and refine their character. He has decided to use you and me, so expect some heat and work with Him, through His Exacting & Extracting process!