Proverbs 17:3 – The refining pot is for silver and the furnace for gold, but the Lord tests hearts.
The natural man looks more for what he can get from a relationship than what he can give. Before sin dominated in the garden, Adam and Eve had their eyes on the glory of God and saw each other through the purity God had breathed into Adam’s nostrils. Disobedience to God’s word through listening to the voice of the tempter brought a choice outside of God’s plan and destiny for humankind. It plunged Adam and Eve and their posterity into a need for the “refiner’s fire.”
God deals with his creation in two ways, individually and corporately. In the garden the Lord began with Adam, then Eve, and finally the Serpent. He then drove all three from the garden. The Serpent is brought low and eventually judged by the seed of the woman. Adam and Eve, and their descendants, entered into the refiner’s fire through the individual judgments God placed on the man and the woman.
The cross of Christ became the place of God’s judgment in dealing with mankind’s sin. When we embrace the cross personally and by faith receive what Christ has done for us, we are raised up into the newness of His life and we begin a journey of experiencing the refiner’s fire in the exchange of our life for His.
The primary way the Lord has chosen to refine us is through relationships. Nobody can refine themself. The main reason for this is that it is most difficult to recognize the areas in one’s own life which needs refining. It takes external pressure. Marriage is the primary relationship the Lord uses in the refining process. Next are children that demand attention and cause us to refocus our time, energy, and resources. If we are not blessed with children, the Lord has no shortage of pressures to use in the refining process.
I cannot help believing that the refining process is what John the Baptist was prophesying when he said,“ As for me, I baptize you with water for repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, and I am not fit to remove His sandals; He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire” (Matthew 3:11-12). The fire is the fire of “refinement.” Even our Lord was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. Jesus knew the fire before He experienced the glory.
Refinement is not a popular message. God’s promise of blessing receives much more popularity, but the only way to true blessing is through the fire. Refinement may not sound encouraging, but it will bring the greater weight of glory if we will embrace God’s purpose and His ways.
Father, I confess that Your ways are not my ways. By faith, I receive Your way of the refiner’s fire. I ask to be baptized with the Holy Spirit and fire. Refine me Lord for Your glory.