Yes, you read it right—sifting, not shifting, You know, sifting! Like what you do with flour using a sieve. Sifting! Oh, and not to burst your bubble early but this post is not about food or baking. It does, however, use a couple of references to it to get the point across. Let’s get right to it, shall we?
The lump tendency
Not the most inspiring way to start off, I know. Lumps. Yeah, not inspiring at all. Ohkayyy… you can stop looking at your belly now. I’m not talking about our physical lumps. I’m actually referring to spiritual lumps that reflect our tendencies. Allow me to elaborate. Have you ever seen flour that has been stored for some time in a jar? Well, when you open the jar you will most probably see what looks like little rocks made of flour stuck together (the same thing happens when you have milo or sugar stuck in a container for a while). The same thing can happen to us.
Lumps can form in our lives when we keep ourselves closed and isolated. They come from little chunks of things left unsurrendered to God. Desires, offenses, doubts, worries, anger, and many others—things that when left unchecked, can lead to sin. This is why these lumps spell danger. And even as believers, we are not exempted from it. “Therefore let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall. No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man.” – 1 Corinthians 10:12-13 (ESV). In another version, it even says “Don’t be so naive and self-confident. You’re not exempt. You could fall flat on your face as easily as anyone else” (MSG).
Shake it off
Flour lumps are not always obvious to the naked eye. But they do surface when placed on a sieve. The sieve is meant to sift the flour, to separate the coarse chunks from the fine particles. Much like in our lives, our tendencies are likely hidden until they surface in what we say and what we do. This, I believe, is where sanctification comes in. It’s that work of God in our lives to remove our spiritual lumps.
It goes without saying that having our tendencies sifted is not an easy process. But it is certainly a choice we can make by allowing God to shake what needs to be shaken. Let His sieve of sanctification refine us and consecrate us. Let His truth speak to our hearts and remove the things that keep us from being like Christ. Let Him sift through our lumps of pride, unbelief, and unforgiveness. Let go and let God.
Interestingly, I found out that aside from removing impurities, sifting also makes the flour lighter. Thus making it easier to combine with other dry ingredients…which results to better-tasting cakes and cookies. I believe the same principle applies to us. When we allow God to turn our spiritual lumps into granules of grace, we align ourselves to what He has created us for—His purpose, His glory.
God can turn our sifted tendencies into amazing opportunities. The question is, are we allowing Him? Are there lumps in our lives that need to be sifted? Let us lift them up to Him and take up the prayer that Jesus himself prayed for us in John 17:17.
Sanctify us in the truth; your word is truth.