Resistance “Training” – Jake Sapp
“Shaking the House” was a popular song by Petra when I was growing up. I always loved the catchy notes, the rock riffs, and the words. I don’t think I ever really thought too much of the words until I was really working through some law vs grace stuff with the Holy Spirit. I posted the lyrics below but the gist of the song is that you better get your house upon a ﬁrm foundation, because the ﬁre of reﬁning is coming. As I listened to the song I got a Holy Spirit download about the idea of trials and tribulations from the perspective of grace.
Trials and tribulations can best be thought of like working out. When you are working out you stretch your muscles to the point of tearing. The point is to rebuild the muscle stronger. As we are working out it often times hurts and is uncomfortable. But we do it because we see the effects afterwards. There is an encouragement in the pain, knowing that we will become stronger from it. Trials and tribulations can be like this do. I believe it’s why James said “Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.” – James 1:2-4
When someone is working out we don’t tell them to stop or that it is bad for them. We join in with them or encourage them. However, some people don’t like encouragement when they are working out if the person isn’t doing it with them or hasn’t done as much as them. Trials are like this for some people. They don’t want encouragement but people don’t turn down a listening, understanding ear who is willing to be there with them. Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 says “Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, but how can one keep warm alone? And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him—a threefold cord is not quickly broken.” From our workout analogy Ecclesiastes is advocating a workout partner.
When someone is working out we don’t tell them to stop that it is bad for them. We join in with them or encourage them.
In fact, if we seem stuck when we workout or are struggling we look for workout coaches or research how to get better. But we don’t do the same spiritually. Why is that? Shouldn’t we look for pastors and spiritual leaders (workout coaches) or do the research (read the Bible) to ﬁgure out how to get over our hurdles. Just because it got hard doesn’t mean we throw in the towel. Paul speaks to this in 1 Corinthians 16:9 “for a wide door for effective work has opened to me, and there are many adversaries.” He saw the opportunity in the pain.
We have to understand that trials and tribulations will come. In John 15:20 Jesus said “Remember the word that I said to you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they kept my word, they will also keep yours.” Again in John 16:33 Jesus says, “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” We are told trials and tribulations are going to come our way. But we noted James told us this was to our beneﬁt. That doesn’t mean that we may be happy about them but we can choose to have joy knowing they will make us more Christlike.
Everything we built will be tested. 1 Corinthians 3:11-15 “For no one can lay any foundation other than the one we already have—Jesus Christ. Anyone who builds on that foundation may use a variety of materials—gold, silver, jewels, wood, hay, or straw. But on the judgment day, ﬁre will reveal what kind of work each builder has done. The ﬁre will show if a person’s work has any value. If the work survives, that builder will receive a reward. But if the work is burned up, the builder will suffer great loss. The builder will be saved, but like someone barely escaping through a wall of ﬂames.”
As the Petra song implies we had certainly appreciate this ﬁre because it can make us better. If we have something burned up or shaken off here on Earth it can be rebuilt with better materials.
When building a house you use green rock instead of sheet rock near areas of humidity and water. Green rock is more resistant to mold and mildew. Sometimes it isn’t until the sheet rock gets mold and mildew on it that you ﬁnd you need to replace it. However, green rock is stronger and more durable. Don’t we want our lives to speak of the same thing? The we are made of the most durable materials.
There was a recent popular song by Hawk Nelson saying that “when the pressure is on he’s making diamonds”. Diamonds are beautiful. They are crystals of pure carbon that have formed under a combination of high temperatures and extreme pressure. They require a temperature of at least 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit. For a point of reference, the surface of the sun is 10,000 Fahrenheit. That’s a lot of heat!
Speaking of heat. “Reﬁner’s Fire” was a popular song for a while with the lyrics talking about the reﬁner’s ﬁre being “my hearts one desire” for the purpose of “being Holy”. It is noble to desire holiness but we have to realize what that may cost us. To reﬁne gold it has to be heated to 1,948 degrees Fahrenheit to get it to melt. After it is liquid the dross or impurities in the gold are skimmed off the top. Then reheated again, and again to repeat the process further reﬁning the gold. This is why we measure gold in karats. 24 karat gold is pure gold, nothing else. 22 karat gold is a combination of 22 parts of gold and 2 parts of another metal. If we expect to be 24 karat gold we have to expect some reﬁning.
Ultimately it was best said by Paul in 2 Corinthians 4:16 “That is why we never give up. Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are being renewed every day.” The trials may feel like they are destroying are body but are spirit is being renewed. And only one of those is going to heaven.
Everything that can be shaken will be shaken from within
Better have your house in order when the shakin’ begins
You examine your foundation
Does is stand on rock or sand?
When the smoke clears does it bring fears
When the houses fall or stand
In the ﬁre of reﬁning with ﬂames too high to douse
You remember someone saying
It’s beginning in the house
But don’t fear when it comes near
And you see the raging ﬁre
If you hold fast it will all pass
Till your heart has His desire
Nice work, Jake. Also one of my favorite Petra albums.