Thursday, 21 May 2009

Fire, Fire!

"And He shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver" (Malachi 3:3)

A silversmith's job is long and tedious. He or she must pay close attention to detail and be concerned with even the most minimal facet of the work at hand in order for it to be acceptable at its completion. The process of refining is the art of ridding the object of impurities. The desire of the refiner is to bring forth the metal in its truest form. And so the silversmith sits nearby and places the object in the fire. He must plant himself in such a position as to see exactly how much heat is being applied to the metal in order to be prepared to take it out at just the right moment. Any length of time too long will damage the precious work.

Our Divine Silversmith often places us in the fire. Situations and circumstances begin to get almost too hot to handle, the true essence of of heart rises to the surface (sometimes not a pretty sight!) - BUT He is there with us, well able to guide, instruct, direct and love us through it.

The silversmith continues to pay attention to the metal and the scorching heat surrounding it until it is complete. And there is only one way that he can be certain that the work is done and the metal ready to be removed from the fire: he must be able to clearly see his reflection in it.

God's interest is always to make us look more and more like His son. He desires to use all of our circumstances, good and bad, to work inside of us in such a way that we are refined into a woman or man in which Christ's reflection can be seen. No matter what you life's circumstances look like right now, you must always remember that there is something bigger going on than what you can see with your natural eyes. This means that you and I must humble ourselves in the midst of the fire so that the divine Silversmith can get busy on our case and begin His work.

Paul said this, "Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus. Although He existed in the form of God did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant and being made in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross." Jesus did not like the thought of dying on a cross but that was not His focus. His focus was to allow the Silversmith to do exactly what He wanted with His life even if that meant laying it down. And so Jesus the Christ, knowing that He had the power not to, still subjected Himself in humility to the refining process. This is where He found true freedom and joy: in submission to His Father's will.

The same is true for us. No matter how difficult the cross ahead looks. No matter how hot the furnace seems to burn. If it is the will of God then it is the only place where you and I will find true peace; in the hands of the Master Refiner. This is the place where we will become refined. Where the impurities will be burnt away so that we can be presented to the Him "perfect and complete, lacking in nothing". (James 1:4)

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