Saturday, 01 July 2023
“The refining pot is for silver and the furnace for gold, But the Lord tests hearts.” -Proverbs 17:3
How do we respond to trials and painful times in our lives? Do we turn bitter and rebellious or do we humbly allow God to work in us? Proverbs 17:3 reminds us that just as silver and gold are purified in a furnace, the Lord refines our heart. Let us understand the refining process God takes us through to mould us into Christ-likeness.
The Unrefined State: Just as silver and gold ore have a lot of impurities that need to be removed to make it pure, man in his broken condition needs the Divine Refiner to perfect him. God sent His Son, Jesus Christ to be the substitute sacrifice on our behalf, that through His death and resurrection we may be reconciled to God (2 Cor. 5:21; Col. 1:21-22) In Christ, we become a ‘new creation’ and are made spiritually alive. Justification and salvation is only the beginning of the Christian walk. Our old habits and ways of the world that have been ingrained in our character over the years have to change. Sanctification is the continual process that involves refining our character day by day.
The Refining Process: The silversmith or goldsmith puts the impure silver or gold in the furnace at an extremely high temperature, until the impurities are melted away and all the while he watches over the valuable metal patiently, to ensure it is not damaged. Similarly, to bring forth the godly character in us and eliminate every sinful habit, God allows adversities and times of testing in our lives. Often, we may feel like we are on our own - that God does not seem to care or hear our pain and hurt, but you are far more precious to the Master Refiner and He is attentively and patiently watching over you. Throughout the refining process the Master Refiner holds us with care in His Hands. He watches over you in your life’s trials and will not allow you to be defeated, but rather emerge victorious. “When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.” (Isaiah 43:2)
The Reflection of the Refined Heart: The refiner heats the metal and removes the dross, until he sees his own reflection in it. The ultimate purpose of God’s refining is that if we would submit and be obedient to Him in these trials, He will produce in us the Christ-like character (2 Cor. 3:18) that is far more precious than gold. Romans 8:29 reminds us that we are predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son. When He looks at us He will see the reflection of His Son in us – a character of holiness and purity, just as He is. In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. (1 Peter 1:6-7)
If you are walking through the fire today, look at your life from God’s perspective – focus on the Master Refiner who holds you in His hands and know that He is working on you. Apostle James writes of the testing of our faith that produces endurance (James 1:3). When we consider these tests to be God-given opportunities to refine us and mature us in Him, we can go through them in His grace and strength and come forth victorious.
Think on: “…we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.” (Romans 5:3-5)