A Refiner’s Fire

The crucible is for silver and the furnaces for gold but the Lord tests the heart. Proverbs 17:3 NRSV

Growing up in a city known for its steel refineries, I watched out my backMP900422819 window as seemingly endless streams of molten slag were dumped out of train cars onto a large hill. What I was seeing were the leftover impurities of the refining process. The slag that was being discarded weakened the steel. So it had to be burned out.

When we are placed on the hot coals of daily living, what comes out first is usually not the purest and best. First the impurities appear. That may mean pride, arrogance, and selfishness rear their ugly heads. It may mean our worldly passions take over, our doubts scream out, or our fears intensify. We just get ugly!

The question is what do we do with all those impurities, as they bubble to the surface? They are too ugly to be ignored, and too powerful to be denied. Once they appear, there really is only one thing we can do, submit them to the refining work of the Holy Spirit. God’s refining fire will expose them, and burn away every impurity. But that only happens if we submit ourselves to the refining work God is trying to do in us.

Submit to the Spirit’s refining work.

Submitting doesn’t come easily. That’s because refining can be a frightening process. None of us want to see the nasty impurities that lie within us. Nor do we want our imperfections on display for others to see. Even more than that, we don’t like the fire that refines us. Sometimes that fire burns too hot. The pain seems too great, and the process seems unbearably long.

Unfortunately, without refining we’re never going to become what God created us to be. Our impurities will continue to limit our ability to shine the light of Christ into the world. They will also make us so fragile, weakening our resolve, and limiting our endurance.

So next time pride rears its ugly head, or your doubts pull your feet out from under you, don’t hurry to push them aside, or stuff them back down. Recognize them for what they are, the dross that the furnace of daily living has brought to the surface. Then submit them to the Holy Spirit’s work. Give them to God to refine.

j0178801Remember, God’s people are called to be holy. In fact, we are called a holy priesthood. Holiness means we live lives of integrity. Our motives are pure, and our hearts redeemed. We are not two-faced. We don’t have hidden agendas. Our hearts have been purified by God’s redeeming work.

Let’s fulfill our calling, and allow God to make us pure and holy. Let’s allow the Potter to shape the clay, and refine the impurities, so that we can shine with the light of Jesus Christ!


Create in Us Pure Hearts, O God!


Refining God,

There are impurities in me that weaken me, that compromise my faith, and keep me from reflecting fully the light of Jesus’ love. Continue to do your refining work in me. Create in me a clean heart!


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