I'm pretty positive that most people don't know that I have a background in the jewelry business. In fact, I have worked hard since 1998 to achieve the highest education in that field as a Graduate Gemologist. That doesn't really make me special, but it gives me a set of knowledge that many folks do not have. I have a deep appreciation of gems and their beauty. As a matter of fact when I read portion of scripture, such a Solomon's description by his wife or the gates/walls of Heaven, the description of gems used personify those things have a unique meaning to me.

Often when I mention my jewelry past people immediately think of one gem....a diamond! It is the most well known, most treasured and, in general, the most prized of all gemstones. The truth is, the diamond has an unsurpassed beauty and wonder about it. The diamond is known as the one of the purest gemstones, hardest natural substance on earth and one of the rarest! It is sought and desired the world over.

It takes 250 tons of mined ore to produce 1 carat of diamond! It takes the skilled hands and eyes of a gifted tradesmen to select a diamond from the rough state to become the beautiful gem stone that the world treasures. More than that, it can takes hundreds, even thousands of years of process to become a diamond.

Diamonds do not start out as that beautiful thing that we cherish so much. A diamond starts as one of the most common, dirty, ugly substances on earth....Simple coal. All a diamond is is refined, processed and well manicured carbon! A diamond MUST endure intense heat and pressure to become the beautiful thing it is today! That process can literally take thousands of years. Then a diamond must be placed into a master craftsman's hands to be made ready! A diamond must be cut, sanded and polished before it's potential is realized. Most important, a diamond must be brought into the light before it's true beauty can be appreciated! Light must be reflected through that diamond before it can be called beautiful. It's this process that sets a diamond apart!

The same is true for our lives. In reality our lives start out as a common, dirty and even ugly substance. However, we all have a desire to become refined, desired, valued and appreciated. None of us want to remain as an ugly, easily destroyed and undesired mess. We want more from life, more from ourselves that just that.

Getting to that place takes time and hard work. Getting to that place takes intense pressure, and we MUST live through some great heat! At some point we have to submit to the hands of the master craftsman who can shape us and prepare us. (That's Jesus!) We MUST have portions of our lives cut, sanded and polished. But, even after all of that, we cannot stay hidden from the world. In order for our true beauty and potential to be realized, we must be brought out into the open so that the light (that's Jesus again!) can be reflected in and through us. That's when the world is able to see our beauty. That's when we become desired and sought after. But, just like a diamond, this is rare. 

Something very few of us appreciate is the lengthy, hard process of being refined that God works in each of us. It is a long, hard and costly process. But the end result is our being completed in the image of Jesus. In all reality, it takes our lifetime to complete. (Philippians 1:6 Says God will bring you to completion!) Out of the rough in the world, God has chosen you. He wants to refine you.

Next time you see a diamond, ask yourself this question: Am I ready and willing to allow God to bring out my true potential and my real beauty?