Tuesday, May 15, 2007

The Furnace




"The crucible for silver and the furnace for gold, but the Lord tests the heart." Proverbs 17:3


The standard method for preparing gold or silver is to burn away any impurities in it until it is pure. In order for this process to be successful, intense smoldering heat is necessary. It is said that in older days, a goldsmith would look to see if he could find his reflection in the gold, and when he did, then did he stop the process of the purifying. He would also look for the time when the gold was melted and easy to bend or mold to begin creating it into a beautiful piece of jewelry.

Refinement is never easy. It is never fun to have a bad week at home or in your spiritual walk. It can be painful to be stretched beyond capacity. It can come in many ways...it might be a trial, it might be through sin, it could be through tempation, it could be through affliction. Whatever the case may be, whatever the Lord has divinely orchestrated in our lives, refinement is mandatory for we know our hearts are desperately wicked and deceitful. Only our King knows the deep waters of sin in our hearts and so out of great love for us He refines us until He can see the image of His holy Son reflected back in our lives.

Burning off the unwanted dross in our lives can be a painful process but the end result is magnificent! It's been eloquently noted that "He uses the furnace of affliction to try our faith by adversity (Isaiah 48:10). He uses the furnace of infirmity to build our reliance on His grace (2 Cor 12:9-10). And He uses the furnace of temptation to measure our obedience. (Gen 22:1-2; 1 Peter 4:12)"

Our God is the most skilled of refiners, for He is the Master Refiner, and His fiery furnace is for the purpose of perfecting our faith. When we come to the point where can bear the flames no longer He has succeeded in birthing forth beauty as we look up and cry out to Him for mercy. With tears in our eyes, and surrender in our hearts, lo and behold, His glorious and astounding work is complete.

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