Refined By Fire

How much do you know about silver? I have been doing some research lately, because I know the Bible compares faith to precious metals that must be tested with fire. It also says much about being refined by fire. I feel like my whole year so far has been the refining fire. I truly believe that God answers our prayers to be more like him, but we don’t fully understand just how painful of a process it can be. I want to help you understand the process it takes to become more like Jesus.

                I can see now where I stand and how the process works. I am still not fully complete in being just like Jesus, there is some refinement and polishing that I know must still take place, along with a lifetime of working out my salvation, but I lost a lot of myself through this process. I should say, I lost all the things that made me in the image of the world. The process to become something completely different takes a lot of work and like metal we must be completely broken before it can be remade into another image.

                Sunday during communion and offering, I mentioned that we should be careful what you pray for. It was in a mildly joking manner, but in reality, it is the truth. Jesus said if we are obeying his commands, we can ask anything in his name and he will give it. The book of James says, you do not have because you do not ask, or you ask and only ask to spend it on yourself, so you do not receive what you ask for. So, what I gather is, if what I need is for God’s purpose and not my own, and it is in obedience to him, I can ask and because he loves me, he will give it like a father giving good gifts. At the end of November, after reading a book about the idols in our lives, I asked that God would tear down the idols in my life, (myself, money, pride, etc.). I also asked that he would crush me, mold me, and remake me in the image of Jesus. Guess what? He did. It has been a long slow process, painful at times, but totally worth the process.

                I can now look back and see the whole process. In the moment, in the battle, in the refining process, I could not see what was going on. All I know was life was hard, harder than it ever has been before. Little did I know my prayers were being answered. Now, out on the other end I can celebrate. It is hard to celebrate in the trial, but at the end of it all, you can finally look back and see the whole process, step by step. “In this you rejoice, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith – more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire- may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ,” (1 Peter 1:6-7).

                Now I fully understand the trials and suffering. God is a father who loves to teach. He is a father who wants nothing more than for us to grant him access to your life, to allow him to remake us as he sees fit. He wants to remake you here and now. If we wait to be remade in heaven may be too late. Like a good father he will guide, discipline, and instruct. So, what I understand now is we are to actually want to be transformed. This is a good thing. Solomon said, “My son, do not despise the LORD’s discipline or be weary of his reproof, for the LORD reproves him whom he loves, as a father the son in whom he delights,” (Proverbs 3:11-12). The writer of Hebrews agrees. “And have you forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons? My son do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor be weary when reproved by him. For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives,” (Hebrews 12:5-6).

                From what I gathered before my transformation; we are to give up our mortal lives. We are to hand over our lives to the father. We are to be living sacrifices. We are to want what he wants. We are to be following Jesus as our guide, we should want his will and not our own, we should have no idols in his place, and he should rule and reign in our hearts. So why wouldn’t we want to be remade into the image of his Son; to truly be children of the father, to look like, sound like, and act like him? I’m guessing most us think like I did before all of this; it is just easier to live life how I want. Life is going smooth, don’t rock the boat. Just stay put and live life comfortably. If you have been through some testing before, it is easier to stay put because refinement means fire, heat, and being uncomfortable. But like I said, shouldn’t we want to be like the father? Paul tells the Romans, “For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son,” (Romans 8:29). We should want this process. We should want more than anything to be remade into the image of his Son.

                This process only happens by fire and refinement. It is a long slow process to make silver pure. It requires heat, catalysts, and polishing, to make silver pure enough to use as a mirror. I was watching a video on this process just the other day. I had given God permission to extract the precious metals from me and make me a mirror image of his Son, not knowing anything about the process. The Bible says, “The words of the LORD are pure words, like silver refined in a furnace on the ground, purified seven times,” (Psalms 12:6). After doing a little research, I find this is true, silver is refined seven times to make it purified. Purified silver reflects 95% of light. That is why it was used in ancient times to make mirrors. If you want the father to look at you, and you like a mirror reflect his image back at him, you need to be made into silver, so pure it reflects God’s own image when he looks at it.

                How does silver become purified? In the video I watched brushes were given to a blacksmith. They were 35% carbon and 65% silver. The brushes were run through a crusher to break up the brushes into smaller bits. Then they were run through a grinder that beat them into a fine powder. Remember, that is exactly what I asked for, to be crushed and remade. The fine mixture of silver powder is added to a stone cup, along with a few catalysts that bring the impurities to the surface. Much like this condition I have, and all the stuff that went wrong between doctors, insurance, and everything else that went wrong, these were the catalysts that would bring the impurities to the surface.

                The stone cup is then put into a blazing furnace. More heat than is physically bearable to the metal surrounds the cup inside a furnace, the solid will become liquid. The melting point of silver is between 1700 and 1800 degrees Fahrenheit. Much like the physical, mental, and spiritual fight that would take place in my life over the course of half a year, unbearable heat was added to melt me and bring all the impurities to the surface.

                Once the metal is liquefied, the dross, or impurities are scraped off the top. What is left is the pure silver. The silver is left to cool completely. Then the heating process begins again. Six more times this process takes place. The silver is added to the cup, with a catalyst, and heated until melted. The dross is scraped off. After seven times in the furnace, you are left with silver in its purest form. James says this, “Count it all joy my brothers when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing,” (James 1:2-3).

                The funny thing about the number seven is, it is the number that represents, completion, wholeness, and perfection in the Bible. That fact that silver is refined seven times, to be made perfect, complete, and lacking nothing as James says, blows my mind. That God would love me enough to not let me remain the same. That he would be willing to allow me to go through so much, struggle, pain, and trail after trial, that in the end I would be whole, complete, and lacking nothing; makes me rejoice today.

                Although we are not out of the woods yet, we are in the cooling process. Becoming a solid again after being run through the fire seven times. While I was still hot, he poured me into a mold, like a master craftsman. Once I am completely cooled, he will polish me up. And when he looks at me, he will see himself. This is what I have always wanted. I want to look like my heavenly Father. I want him to see his son and his very image when he looks at me. Do you want the same thing? Are you willing to say, crush me, mold me, and shape me into your son? It is time to stop being comfortable as Christians. It is time to stop wanting our will and start wanting his. Jesus did it, why wont we follow his command to be perfect as he is perfect, to be reborn, remade, here and now? Again, there may become a point where it is too late. So, we should seek him whole heartedly now!

                The suffering is temporary and a reason for rejoicing. I can promise you this, the end result is worth it. It is going to be painful. It is going to take all you have and then some. But the result is a life that looks like Christ. “Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame,” (Romans 5:2-5). “Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share in Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed,” (1 Peter 4:12-13).

                Count these trials as joy! The process is painful, but in the end the refining process will leave you complete, whole, and lacking nothing. You will be purified and remade into the image of Christ. I am overjoyed to see these idols I clung so closely to go. I am ecstatic that the dross in my life has been removed. I fully understand Paul when he says, “But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith, That I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share in his suffering, becoming like him in his death, that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead,” (Philippians 3:7-11).

                Whatever earthly gain I could have had by holding on to the impurities and idols in my life, I count as loss. I am willing to give them all up, count them as rubbish, garbage, and dog doo. They are just not worth it. They are not worth giving up the surpassing knowledge of knowing Christ intimately and walking with him here in the kingdom of heaven while on earth. I am willing to pay this price and rejoice in the suffering it took to know the righteousness of God, and be in right standing with him. Whatever it takes to attain resurrection from the dead is worth it. It should be worth it. Are you willing to pay the ultimate price for the knowledge of being known by Christ? Are you willing to make yourself a living sacrifice to be transformed into something else? I was afraid to ask for so long. But I rejoice that I did! The process was hard, but so worth it! I rejoice in the suffering that has made my life more whole, more complete, that God is all I need, I truly lack nothing.

                Are you willing to give up all you think will make you happy in this life? to exchange it for being remade in the image of the son of God? The choice is yours. Jesus said whoever would come after me, must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow his example. His example was doing the will of the father, learning obedience through discipline and pain, and dying to himself. Are you willing to follow the example? I can guarantee, you will not find who you really are, until you have been refined by fire. The father is begging you to let him remake you. No loving father wants his children to remain in folly. Trust the master craftsman to remake you into his perfect vessel. Will you let him? I promise if you ask it will be worth the suffering. Having been through it myself, I am here if you need help with this decision, or guidance through the suffering. Let’s truly look like Jesus. Are you willing to ask him? He is waiting.

James Delisle

Published by Hillside Christian Church

We Proclaim: Faith Alone in Jesus Christ is all you need for Salvation! Baptism is an act of obedience following a confession of faith. An outward sign of an inward reality. Sunday Morning at Hillside Adult and Children’s Sunday School — 9:00 a.m Home of the Great Commission: Matthew 28:19-20 Children's Church 10:15 a.m. Worship and Preaching of God’s Word— 10:15 a.m. Praise Band Lead Worship: Easy Listening Contemporary Style and Traditional Music Arrangement

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