Read: Proverbs 25:4
Remove the dross from the silver, and out comes material for the silversmith…
A few years ago a guest pastor was preaching at our church, and he shared one of the most compelling testimonies I’d ever heard of how God had used unusual hardship throughout his life to bring him to his current place of tremendous kingdom usefulness. He likened his experience to being put through a refiner’s fire, and since most of us had no real experience with the actual refining of precious metals, he shared these insightful and inspiring words about the process:
“When a silversmith purifies silver, he never takes his eyes off the furnace, because the silver will be injured if the fire gets too hot, even to the slightest degree, or if it stays too long. But if he takes the silver out too early, it won’t be purified. So when the silver is in the fire, the smith stays totally focused so that nothing distracts him. He carefully watches the silver, waiting for the right moment to take it out. And how does he know when it is just the right moment? He knows the silver is pure when he can see his face reflected in it.”
The Old Testament prophet Malachi likened God to a refiner of silver, and how comforting to know that he will never leave us in our furnace of affliction too long. But neither will he remove us from the refiner’s fire too soon. You see, the Great Refiner knows just the right amount of time and heat you will need to endure in your trials and tribulations in order to burn out the dross and bring forth the reflection of his Son’s image in you.
I want to give you just one assignment this week for the challenges and hardships you will face. It comes from James 1:2-4, and it is simply this:
“Consider it pure joy whenever you face trials…”
Now understand that I’m not talking about putting on a smiley face or finding the happy place or faking it ‘til you make it in the midst of your challenges—that’s nothing more than denial. When James says to “consider”, he means to take a deliberate look at the weird, disappointing and painful stuff that happens to you and intentionally rejoice because you know that God is at work!
You see, God has promised to use your problems, among other things, and best of all, to sanctify your character. He will use whatever is trying you as fuel for the refiners fire to burn out everything in you that doesn’t look like Jesus. That’s why James writes, “the testing of your faith produces perseverance that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”
So rejoice, my friend, even when it hurts—God is simply completing you! He will not let the heat get too hot nor will he leave you in it too long lest you get permanently injured. But neither will he take you out too soon. No, even right now, his watchful eye is trained on you, looking for that perfect moment when he sees the reflection of Jesus.
Your Assignment, Should You Choose To Accept It:
Romans 8:28-29 this week: “We know that all things work together for good if we love God and are called according to his purpose. For whom he did foreknow he did predestine to become conformed to the image of the Son of God.”
Now in each of your trials this week, make the connection: Why does God work all things together for good? To make you like Christ!