“In the same way that gold and silver are refined by fire, the Lord purifies your heart by the tests and trials of life.” – Proverbs 17:3
Different metals purify at different temperatures. As a result, artisans working with gold or silver need to be careful to get the temperature just right, so that they eliminate the dross and don’t lose any of the precious metal they are refining. Otherwise, they will burn it too much and it all turns to dust. Watching a skilled refiner dance with molten metal and flame is amazing. Eventually, he eliminates all the foreign substances and impurities and gets to the pure metal which is what holds the real value.
The Bible often uses the imagery of gold being refined as a picture of what God does in our lives. Gold, when extracted from the earth, does not look like gold we find in a jewelry store. In fact, it is not always recognizable due to the impurities that mar its appearance. Yet, for the person searching for it, the ugliest lump of gold is of great value, and the potential for beauty is evident.
This is the same refinement process that we, as God’s children, go through. The gold (God’s children) are not destroyed in this process, they simply become pliable and can be molded into the image of God. With just the right amount of heat and trial, God burns away the dross that is not just buried within us but has been a part of us for as long as we can remember. He applies the fire, then pulls it away.
The sacrifice of God’s son to reconcile us back to a relationship with God shows just how much He values us — even while we are lost and separated from Him. God sees us not full of impurity, but full of potential. Sometimes we expect God to simply zap the junk out of our lives when we enter into a relationship with Him.
If heat is being applied to your life today, it has a purpose behind it. Illness may be designed to bring fear to the surface so God can build trust. Financial difficulty may raise materialism to the surface. Relational struggles may raise bitterness or unforgiveness to the surface. Disappointment at work may raise pride to the surface. The heat and trials of our lives are evidence of how much God values you and His desire for you to be all He designed you to be. He loves us too much to leave us as He finds us.
God’s purpose behind every difficult circumstance in our day is to develop our character. The Lord could have kept difficulties away from so many men and women of God in the Scripture, but then they would not have been refined. He could have kept the three young Hebrew men from being thrown into the fiery furnace or Daniel from being thrown into a lion’s den or Jeremiah into the slimy pit or Joseph into prison. But He didn’t. And each of them, because of the refining fire they experienced, were pulled closer to God.
- How does God refine us on a daily basis?
- What can we do this week to do the little things that make us more Christlike?