Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Refinement Lesson for Girls

Here is another idea for a girl's tea or class on refinement. Remember, refinement is opposite of crudeness.

I pour some of my husbands motor oil into a jar with a lid and put it on the table. Next to it I put baby oil, which is clear. I tell the girls the way that crude oil is filtered to refine it into a clear oil to use for many of our daily household products, including perfumes and body oils. To get it clear and smelling nice, it goes through a lot of filters and has other things added to it. We get a lot of our perfumed oils by a refining process.

After letting them smell each jar, I ask them which type of oil they would like to rub on their skin. They always choose the baby oil. It smells nice and it looks nice.

In some demonstrations, I put the crude motor oil into fancy glass containers or beautiful perfume bottles, and I put the perfumed oil into an ugly, plain jar. Sometimes I change the labels and try to convince them that the motor oil smells wonderful and would be great perfume.
This serves well to illustrate the problem that many people have of properly representing Christ. Sometimes they can be all dolled up, but inside, they are crude and rude and unrefined. Other times they may have wonderful personalities and a pure heart, but they mis-represent Christ by their untidy, unclean, unkempt appearance.
I always ask them if they were to see bottles on a shelf, would they choose the attractive bottle that appealed to their love of beauty, or would they take the dirty jar that had been handled a lot and had oil in it that smelled bad. Also I point out that the jar of perfumed oil, in the nice bottle, is capped, and you cannot use it until it is yours. You cannot take it apart in the store and use it and expect someone to still want it after you have tampered with it. There are of course, many lessons that could be derived from this example, but for one lesson, I apply the subject of refinement.

I tell them that refinement is the same way. It causes less resistance. In fact, it draws people to you. The unrefined girl will create strife all around her. This is not to say it only applies to the young. Many older women are still unrefined, as they constantly berate, dress sloppily, start arguments, or slam doors in people's faces.

Crude speech, crude manners, crude dressing, etc. are all rough and unrefined. They are things like being careless in the way you talk, insulting, complaining, accusing, answering back sharply, arguing. using curse words or slang, and in general being disrespectful. Crude manners may include something like telling a person off, making remarks designed to upset someone, abusing someone else's property or possessions, whether it be a car or clothing, and so forth. Crude dressing is dressing like a savage who doesn't know about civilized life, who just lives in the same clothes without being washed, walking around smelling terrible because of uncleanness, and dressing in a rebellious manner.

Remember the black, witchcraft look? That is crudeness and rebellion. So is indecency or immodesty. Now, just because I listed this, does not mean I am telling you what to wear. I'm also not criticising your clothes. I'm just offering guidelines to help you decide what is decent and what is pure. Remember the Bible is the ultimate guide and it says we are to be courteous and refined and modest. People can understand the guidelines when it comes to behaviour in traffic or behaviour at work, but somehow, they set up a resistance when it comes to manners, speech or modesty. (Note: I'm not accusing any reader of being un-refined. This is just information.)

To be refined, it has been generally understood that a person becomes concerned about the effect he has on other people. He doesn't want anyone to be offended. He doesn't want to ruin any relationship. He thinks of the harm it will do, in the long run. He becomes unselfish. He no longer tries to think about his life and his money and his this or that. He thinks about the people he lives with and how he can make life more pleasant for them. He does not claim his "rights" to behaving crudely. He loves others enough to be helpful, rather than to be a burden.

Included in this lesson are these two passages, which of course, the girls have to do a bit of research and writing. For example, what is a refiners fire, and what is fuller's soap? It helps them to understand the process of refinement. It may mean you take a bit of heat as you correct yourself. It may mean it is hard or difficult. It may mean that whatever things you experience in life are all part of God's way of refining you to His glory.

Mal 3:2 But who may abide the day of his coming? and who shall stand when he appeareth? for he is like a refiner's fire, and like fullers' soap:

1Pe 3:8 Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous:
1Pe 3:9 Not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing: but contrariwise blessing; knowing that ye are thereunto called, that ye should inherit a blessing.
1Pe 3:10 For he that will love life, and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile:
1Pe 3:11 Let him eschew evil, and do good; let him seek peace, and ensue it.
1Pe 3:12 For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers: but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil.
1Pe 3:13 And who is he that will harm you, if ye be followers of that which is good?
1Pe 3:14 But and if ye suffer for righteousness' sake, happy are ye: and be not afraid of their terror, neither be troubled;
1Pe 3:15 But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:
1Pe 3:16 Having a good conscience; that, whereas they speak evil of you, as of evildoers, they may be ashamed that falsely accuse your good conversation in Christ.
1Pe 3:17 For it is better, if the will of God be so, that ye suffer for well doing, than for evil doing.

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