The Grain of Your Character

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The grain of your character is being finely arranged by the toughening action of life’s trials and adversities.

I am hard pressed on every side, but not crushed;
 perplexed, but not in despair;
persecuted, but not forsaken;
struck down, but not destroyed;
always carrying about in my body the death of Jesus,
so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in my body. 
For we who live are always being delivered over to death for Jesus’ sake,
so that His life may be revealed in our mortal body (2 Corinthians 4:8-11).
 
I will fight the good fight of faith
and lay hold of the eternal life to which I was called
when I made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses. 
In the sight of God, who gives life to all things,
and of Christ Jesus, who testified the good confession before Pontius Pilate, I want to keep this command without blemish or reproach
until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ,
which God will bring about in His own time (1 Timothy 6:12-15a).

There is a story about a traveler in a logging area who watched with curiosity as a lumberjack occasionally jabbed his sharp hook into a log to separate it from the others floating down a mountain stream. When asked why he did this, the logger replied, “These may all look alike to you, but I can recognize that a few of them are quite different. The ones I let pass are from trees that grew in a valley where they were always protected from the storms. Their grain is rather coarse.  The ones I have hooked and kept apart came from high on the mountains. From the time they were small they were beaten by strong winds. This toughens the trees and gives them a fine grain.  We save them for choice work. They are too good to be used for ordinary lumber.”

The grain of your character is being finely arranged by the toughening action of life’s trials and adversities. “Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I keep Your word” (Psalm 119:67, cf. vv. 71, 75).

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