Written by Brenna Covelens

When God gave me the phrase “purification is a process,” I immediately wrote it down. Above that phrase, I drew a tulip; toxins burst forth from the middle of the flower, shooting and clawing for the sky. I added fresh water droplets falling downward, cleansing the tulip from all of its impurities. The tulip represented me and the flower’s toxins were my sins, flaws, and mistakes. The water droplets represented the Holy Spirit.

Around that same time, my fiancé was shipped to a different country for deployment and I was adjusting and preparing to become a wife. Far more frighteningly, my dad was also diagnosed with two types of cancers.

In any new life season, it’s easy to lose heart and ask God, “Why do I have to go through this?”

These challenges tested my character, bringing my sin to the surface. Here’s what I had to remind myself on this journey:

Longing for the past isn’t wise

When we become overwhelmed with the situations we’re in, we often long for the past when things were simpler or different. But this prompts us to doubt God and ourselves. Nothing gets resolved this way. The problems still remain problems.

That’s why we need to look forward. If God wanted us to look backwards, He would’ve put eyes on the back of our head. As Ecclesiastes 7:10 says, “‘Don’t long for the good old days.’ ” 

We can’t mature if we skip a season

Through training, we acquire the skills to maneuver through our hardships. As we grow into our clothes, talents, and so forth, we also grow into the next season of our maturity. As my pastor once said, “As a child grows into their next toy, we grow into the next life stage.”

We can’t skip one age and expect to be who we are now. Just as we can’t pick a harvest before it is ready, we can’t skip a season. As Hebrews 5:14 tells us, “Solid food is for those who are mature, who through training, have the skill to recognize the difference between right and wrong.”

Maturing in Christ is a lifelong road

Becoming like Christ is not a one-and-done ordeal, but a process that continues as we mature in every season. Over time, we becoming more and more like the One we follow and serve. As long as we’re on this earth, we are always being purified. Growth doesn’t cease for us when we reach a certain age. Maturity isn’t always measurable in the moment, but it becomes evident given enough time.

Whether old or young, God teaches us each lessons for the seasons we are in. God is working on us until we reach our eternal home. As Philippians 1:6 says, “And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue His work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.”

Overall, our goal of purification is to look more like Christ and be recognizable as His people. The changes we see in ourselves don’t happen overnight. Yet Jesus will refine each of us. He is the master at cleansing us from our contaminants, whatever they are. It’s in that process, step by step, that Christ purifies us to become more like Him.