The concept of refinement is not unfamiliar to us as Christians. We understand that in order to grow stronger and build character, we’re going to face pain and struggles of different sorts.
The concept and analogy applies in the unbelieving world just as well. If you’re training for an athletic event, you need to prepare to work hard, feel exhaustion, pain, and soreness.
There are countless stories of those who rose up through adversity, pained personal histories, struggle and hurt, and it equipped them to accomplish great things, teaching them the power of perseverance, discipline, and their own inner strength.
When I think of refining, I usually picture a blacksmith with a long piece of metal turning red hot, pounding it into a sword. It’s refined in its exposure to that incredible heat and then shaped into a powerful and useful tool.
I don’t mind thinking about how the hardships and struggles I have faced have made me who I am, better than before.
I like being the precious metal who has been through the fire and come out stronger.
Then I read in Malachi:
Refiner’s fire, yeah, for sure. Launderer’s soap?
I just went from being gold or silver to a filthy rag, filled with stains that desperately need washing out.
We are filthy rags and impure.
We are sinful, desperately in need of refinement.
Refiner’s fire is doing the same thing though. It is removing our impurities. We all need refining because of sin, in the world and in us. This is why we face those trials.
Have you suffered something that spoke directly to one of your specific weaknesses as a Christian?
I certainly have.
While I love picturing myself emerging from the fire with battle scars, I’m right there with Paul in Romans 7.
And yet we are precious to our God and Savior, who knows that sin better than anyone and cared enough to cover it and pay for our salvation once and for all.
Are you struggling? Facing hardship?
Our struggles show us our need for Him, draw us nearer to Him, and grow our faith in Him.
Let’s thank God that he cares enough to be in our lives! Because of Him we have hope through the heat.
We are loved by Him who made us, covers our sin, holds a place for us in His heaven, and is always in us and with us cleansing those impurities, strengthening us, and preparing us for the battle ahead. He makes our calling and election sure!
You ARE precious.
You WILL face fire.
You WILL come out stronger.