Alignment, Refinement, Assignment


It’s new year and there are plenty of peppy rhymes, memes, posters and bumper stickers to be had! But I loved this set of words which Sarah used in her message (click above) Take a listen if you missed it. As she was explaining the points, some analogies were popping through my brain. 

It’s new year and there are plenty of peppy rhymes, memes, posters and bumper stickers to be had! But I loved this set of words which Sarah used in her message (click above) Take a listen if you missed it. As she was explaining the points, some analogies were popping through my brain. 

   When we think of following God, or living in His will, living life for Him, as Sarah said, we can expect it to be easy, but we all know this isn’t the case. 

   When I heard the word ‘alignment’,  I thought immediately of my daughter’s jaw surgery. Her jaws were out of alignment. It took 18 months of braces and a gruelling, pretty traumatic, brutal surgery to get them into alignment. Today, in alignment, her face looks great- she can eat properly and she won’t have jaw problems in the future… end result: fab…the journey to get there: painful!

   Sometimes getting ourselves into alignment with Christ can feel painful. Now we know salvation is a gift, not to be earned, but received.  We can come as we are to Christ, but very rarely would he leave us as we are. So alignment is great but if it’s feeling a little brutal, don’t give up. 

   Refinement is the process that increases the value of a precious metal- it brings clarity and purity, removing blemishes. On our walk with God He wants to refine us, so we become more like him. Oh how I pray to be more like Him, even though I know His methods! 

   Proverbs 17:3 says The crucible for silver and a furnace for gold, but the Lord tests the heart. And Isaiah 48:10 reads, See I have refined you , though not as silver , I have tested you in the furnace of affliction. 

   This is how God refines us and it’s so easy to see why we would want to jump off half way through. No thanks God, this refining is painful! Or we get mad at God and don’t understand why he’d let us go through this. 

   I love James 1: 2-4, He encourages us to count all trials as joy. Why? Because they are refining and at the end we lack nothing! But we have to let perseverance finish its work, not tap out, or walk away when it gets hard. That’s when we dig in; we ask the Holy Spirit to show us the refining that’s taking place… now please use common sense- don’t put or keep yourself in dangerous situations, but some uncomfortable things may be there for some refining.

   Lastly, assignment! I love, love, love this. I’m a true believer that if you keep your eyes fixed on Jesus and His assignment for your life, the other stuff pales into insignificance. When you grasp that you’re on assignment, that God really does have a purpose for you, you don’t want to go back to old bad habits. Sin then loses its allure and your trials become stepping stones. You may have no clue whatsoever about what God wants from you, but let me encourage you just to take the next step. That’s all that may be lit at the moment. I’ve said in the past: I never once set out to co- lead a church. I didn’t have some beam of light shine down and an audible voice of the Lord tell me what my future held. I just knew that I knew that God had something specific for me to do. I didn’t have some great game plan, but at each life decision I’d ask God.  I had to make a decision to trust Him above all; I had to pick up my cross and deny myself at times too; but I see beautifully how God is orchestrating my destiny and even where I am right now is still only another stepping stone! 

   A great starting stepping stone into assignment is to know God and make Him known. To know Him is to love Him and to love Him is to love others….. and there we go- we’ve started our assignment. Remember, don’t look back!


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Sarah and her husband, Julian, are Senior Pastors at COM Church Dunstable.

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