Refined by Fire

Originally published Tuesday, 04 March 2014.

As mentioned in my last post, sometimes God leads us into the fire. The objective, however, is not destruction but refinement. We are refined––or sanctified––by fire.

Scripture likens the process of sanctification––becoming more and more like Jesus––to the process of refining gold and silver. These two metals are classified as “precious metals,” or highly valued metals that are well sought after. What an amazing analogy for the way God sees His children––loved, valued, and sought after. Yet, these metals, valued though they are, must be refined by heat to obtain a state of purity, which is certainly the case for us as well.

In my understanding of the process, the metal is heated by fire, which allows all impurities to rise to the surface. These impurities are removed. The metal cools. And then the process begins once again. Heat, skim, cool. Heat, skim, cool. And it continues until the metal is pure.

Does this sound familiar? Sound like your life? I know it certainly sounds like mine. In my life, it seems the heat is turned up, and I struggle for a while. Soon, however––usually after I’ve reached a point where I feel I can’t keep going, I can’t keep fighting––Jesus turns down the heat, and I settle into a season of relative calm. But then, of course, the cycle repeats. Over and over. Heat, skim, cool.

Now, get this. I love this part. It has been said that silversmiths know silver is pure once they can look into the cauldron and see their own reflection.

This, my friend, is the purpose of sanctification––to become more like Jesus. Little by little, our impurities rise to the surface amidst the fires of life. And little by little, we become more like Jesus. We were created to be image bearers. God created man in His own likeness, yet sin has gotten in the way. As Christ followers, we serve as a dim reflection of our Creator, but one day, after having gone through all the trials laid out before us, Jesus will look into the window of our eye and see His own reflection. 

What a day that will be!