For you, O God, have tested us; you have tried us as silver is tried.Psalm 66:10
I am amazed at how faithful God is to refine my heart, making me more and more into His image for His glory. Have you ever had a time when you seem to face the same sin or struggle over and over? I know I do with myself, and I can also see it while disciplining my children. Discouragement can creep into my thoughts as I wonder why I choose the wrong action again and again. Sometimes I find myself in the bathroom with a child discussing the same sin issue as yesterday and the week before, almost as if it won’t go away.
Malachi 3:3 says the He is a Refiner’s Fire, purifying and refining us that we may bring gifts of righteousness to Him. He is a consuming fire, and Scripture reminds us that only when the dross is removed from the silver can the vessel be shaped.
refining my heart
Refining silver requires several steps. First the ore is broken. The Gospel is clear: we offer nothing for our salvation, and we contribute nothing to our great need for rescue from our sin. We need the breaking open by His hand so that Christ alone can save us.
A crucible, a place where concentrated forces interact to cause or influence change and development, heats these pieces of ore. High heat separates the silver from all the other matter mixed with it. Proverbs 17:3 says The crucible is for silver, and the furnace is for gold, and the LORD tests hearts. The Holy Spirit works within our hearts, convicting and bringing up to the surface the waste, the sin, the flesh I wrestle, in order to remove them and cleanse me from my unrighteousness. His hands patiently skim this next round of selfishness or impatience off the top all the while seeking to clarify my heart that I can reflect Him more and more.
Silver becomes more and more malleable and flexible as the dross is removed. My heart bends more towards His as He refines. The artist can fashion beauty as the waste is removed.
How much do I dread the dross? How often do I avoid or try to cover up the very thing God desires to draw to the top in order to remove? I seek every opportunity to recirculate it through or push it back to the bottom so that no one else could see or so it doesn’t reflect on me. But God wants to work in these very areas that shame wants to hide. He desires to eradicate the flesh that He may be glorified.
Even in parenting my children, as I watch the Spirit refine and work to remove the sin, the waste, the dross in their lives, I squirm. I worry that I am responsible, that perhaps their struggles are my fault. I want to step in between His hand and them and buffer or mend. As my daughter wisely stated, “Perhaps God is at work in our character in ways only He can.”
Only He knows the exact plan for each of us. Thankfully He knows the vessel He desires to create and continues to refine. He will work in our lives that we may know and love Him more.