Yesterday after work, I was pleasantly surprised to find that Tuesday night praise and worship was happening even though most of the students at my university were gone and the semester was over. My love for praise and worship made me decide spontaneously to go. At the beginning, the worship leader read a verse about being refined by fire. Zechariah 13:9 (ESV) says, “And I will put this third into the fire, and refine them as one refines silver, and test them as gold is tested. They will call upon my name, and I will answer them. I will say, ‘They are my people’; and they will say, ‘The Lord is my God.’” She went on to say that she asked a metal worker she knew to explain the process of refining silver by fire. He explained to her that it burns away all the impurities that taint it and it becomes pure. When she asked him how he knew if it had been made pure all the way, he told her, “When I can see my reflection in it, I know that it’s been purified.”
How true is that for us? The Lord purifies us by fire; we are consumed by the fire of the Lord. We are tested, we have the impurities in use burnt away, and when we become pure we reflect His image – not merely our own distorted image. Understanding this process is important to the soul that seeks to be more like Christ. We are tested by facing various trials and temptations. When we are stripped of that which taints us, it’s not going to be easy; often, it will hurt. But our suffering is used for the glory of God and helps us to better understand how to live as Christ did. Christ suffered on the Cross for us, and so to reflect His nature, we must also suffer. We may take solace, though, in knowing that God will never give us more than we are able to bear and that this pain is only temporary. Out of the flame, we emerge even greater than before, spiritually uplifted and better able to live as a reflection of Christ.
“You have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” (I Peter 1:6b-7, NKJV) Rejoice in being refined by fire, and live with a pure faith – to honor Jesus and bear witness of Him to everyone you meet. ♥