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How many of us are eager and ready to go to the next level? The next level of joy, abundance, breakthrough, and power? We’re eager alright, but how many are ready? Both Psalm 66:8-12 and Malachi 3:1-4 speak of a trial of fire. It is a high duress situation designed to challenge us, cleanse us, and purify us—a test. We want the next level, but are we ready for it? Let’s follow the process of this testing and find out if we can pass.

God turns up the fire. Our circumstances start to get toasty. The bank account starts looking funny. The kids start acting silly. The car forgets how to work properly. The boss gets to cursing…in your face. And God tosses us right in the middle of it.

Impurities rise to the surface. When the heat turns up, let me testify, what’s in us will come out. Shall I be real? I was walking through a parking garage and this wonderful man careens around the corner in his hot-shot BMW. You know the type; special, wears their pants around their knees, thinks gold is the new color for teeth, and rap music should be so loud that China can hear it. So, (heaven forbid) he has to slow down because I’m directly in his path. He very gently rebukes me for walking in the “street,” proceeds to christen me with the name of a dog, and speeds off. Now, I’m a sanctified Christian ready for the next level. I’m not about to be moved by a sinner (hopefully) who can’t tell the difference between a street and a parking garage; a dog and a woman. So I calmly continue on my way…for the three seconds it takes my brain to process his words. Then I spin around and yell, “I know that fu[BEEP!] is not talking to me!” My friend had to pull me aside before I earned myself a Holy Ghost filled jail-sentence. Can we say, impurities rising to the surface?

Then, God scrapes off the impurities. He washes us with the blood of Jesus. And if the goldsmith continues to see impurities rising to the surface, then what will he do? Stick it right back into the fire until he can see his reflection in the metal. But here’s the key; the silver and goldsmith always know how hot the fire needs to be and how long to keep the metal heated to avoid damaging the silver. And if a silversmith know this, then we can rest assured that God knows this as well.

Now, check out the end of our psalm scriptures (psalm 66:12) and hear what God spoke to the church through Apostle Jones; “If you can pass the test, you can get the blessing. I’ve got to give you an examination, send a trial. You’re in the middle of testing. Your paper, your test, is unique to yourself. I had to put the squeeze on, up the pressure. But it’s going to be alright. I’m going to give you an anointing to destroy every yoke, lift every burden. No weapon formed against you will prosper. I’m still in control.”

Children of God, don’t give in, don’t give up.

God will turn it around.

God says; “I have to get some stuff out to put some stuff in. I’ve raised you to be a warrior priest. As I turn up the fire, as gold and silver is placed in the fire, impurities rise to the top and I scrape them off—to be remembered no more. It has to be at a place where it’s golden, where I can see my face in your reflection.”

So, brothers and sisters, know that there is an exam at every level—a mid-exam and then a final. God must know that we are ready and equipped to face the challenges that await us at the next level because there is no point sending us there if we’ll just get beat down when we get there.

So don’t hate the process. Don’t get mad at the silversmith and try to jump out the fire before it’s time. “My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.” James 1:2-4.

(Based off of Apostle Jones’ sermon, Approved for the Next Level)

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