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Purest Gold: God's Refining Fire in our Lives

by Traci Hendrix

After salvation, many young Christians wonder if there's anything more to their newfound faith than just the security blanket of "being a Christian." Time and time again, God shows himself as a "refiner," and our lives are as gold. God started leading me in this study to understand what He was doing in my life, as well as in the lives of others. When we understand the purification process gold must endure to have the brilliant precious metal we know so well, we start to understand the significance of many verses that may confuse a "casual Bible reader." Simply understanding the many heating and cooling cycles through which the metal passes, we can equate that to our own Christian walks.

I have often heard many of my friends telling me about the problems of their lives, how they have to endure such trials and tribulations sent by the enemy. I, too, would think attacks and snares plagued my life. More times than I care to remember, I claimed the same thing, blaming God's refinement process on the one who needs no credit for making trouble in our lives. Gently, as only He knows how, I found myself reading through the Bible, finding passages of Scripture pertaining to gold, to refinement and to encouragement for successfully overcoming the trials and tests. God encouraged me to understand where he was taking me in the process. I found a great deal of dross burned from my life in a short amount of time when I finally allowed God to do His work in me.

Friends, family, and acquaintances have all had an impact on my life, yet through the process we hold everything into our hearts. Just like the metal, these things tarnish our hearts, making them less pure less malleable and less useable by God. As you read through the passages to follow, take time to hear what God is saying, to see where He is refining you and changing your emotional, spiritual, and physical life to Purest Gold.

Psalm 19
(7): The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul; the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple;
(8): the precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes;
(9): the fear of the Lord is clean, enduring for ever; the ordinances of the Lord are true, and righteous altogether. (Revised Standard Version)

How beautiful the psalmist wrote of God's perfect design, guiding us into His perfecting plan for our lives! When we are willing to submit to His plan, to follow His order, seemingly, one finds himself or herself facing various trials and tests. It's very easy to miss focus on the seemingly apparent cause of the trial, and forget Job's declaration.

Job 31:24-28
(24): "If I have made gold my trust, or called fine gold my confidence;
(25): if I have rejoiced because my wealth was great, or because my hand had gotten much;
(26): if I have looked at the sun when it shone, or the moon moving in splendor,
(27): and my heart has been secretly enticed, and my mouth has kissed my hand;
(28): this also would be an iniquity to be punished by the judges, for I should have been false to God above.

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Ah, Job. He's our favorite one when we find ourselves in a situation of testing, trying, or tempting. "Job didn't have it this hard" I heard one person say. He continues on through this passage to question why this has happened to him, being a righteous man, sounding very similar to some of our own complaints. Job states if he has made Gold his hope, then he has denied God. Through the Bible, there are other situations that teach us not to focus on the worldly worth of Gold; there is a popular joke that goes something like this...

There was a man who was very rich, and knew he was dying. When he was on his deathbed, he was given one wish, which he took, stating, "I wish to take all my riches to Heaven with me." Upon his arrival, several of the angels met him, and inquired into the contents of the bags. This gentleman explained, and they laughed hysterically. Puzzled at their laughter, the man asked with much concern the hilarity of his burden. One of the angels responded, "Why did you bring pavement for the roads?"

Revelation 21:21b
(21b): And the street of the city was pure gold, transparent as glass

As humorous as this may seem, it is true. God has no use for physical possessions. It is very easy in today's society to revel in wealth, physical possessions and appearance, and education.

James 5:3-4
(3): Your gold and silver have rusted, and their rust will be evidence against you and will eat your flesh like fire. You have laid up treasure for the last days.
(4): Behold, the wages of the laborers who mowed your fields, which you kept back by fraud, cry out; and the cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord of hosts.

1 Peter 1:7
(7): ...So that the genuineness of your faith, more precious than gold which though perishable is tested by fire, may redound to praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.

Someone recently pointed out that if we are willing to walk through the fire of testing, we will be refined through that fire, and made into purest gold, which is just as transparent as glass with Him. We become so clear and pure that anything we do or say will be seen as glass. No impurities will be found; no flaws or imperfection will be able to stay, because they will immediately be noticed within. The process of purification is repetitive, often time-consuming, and very intense.

Elijah found this to be true at the beginning of his life as a Man of God (1 Kings 17). He had prayed for a drought, and God saw fit to answer his prayer. Immediately, God led Elijah in a lesson of faith, and provided food and shelter for him. However, the fire intensified and his purification process began a different pace when the river dried up due to the drought. Trusting a widow in a pagan land wasn't Elijah's idea of provision, yet he obeyed God in full, receiving the blessings meant for him.

As we are put under heat testing our faith, we seem to believe the intensity is too much work, and we will never make it through this fire. Our human desire is to give up and retreat. Through the fire, the pressure of removing the impurities seems intense, though it's only a matter of allowing them to surface within our own hearts and minds. When a heating pressure is applied to our lives, God is beginning the refinement process. Though we often question God as to why we are being persecuted, we soon come to find that God is blessing us with the very thing we thought was the curse.

Proverbs 25:11
(11): A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in a setting of silver.

Often times when we initially read Proverbs, we take them at face value. The same is true with this Proverb. Reading through this again, there is a different meaning. Perhaps, now, in the context of this work, the secondary understanding is immediately evident to you. It became clear to me as I was researching this. Each and every person we come in contact with, those who are hurting and in need of encouragement, without a friend or even those who are simply walking through life unaware of their needs, each one in their own right needs a fitly spoken word. As we become more like Christ, and become more transparent in our own spirits, more like refined Gold, we are able to share earth's precious metal, and God's refinement of our own lives with them. This gift is very much like taking a small piece of our testimony, wrapping it with God's bright love, pure shining and bright like pure silver. In essence, taking a piece of us, the newness God has revealed in us, and sharing it with them, giving them a desire for the purity. Many times in the recent past, I have been complimented on my purity, my desire to share the workings of our God through my life. These comments, like apples of gold in settings of silver, have been an encouragement to withstand the trials of God's refinement.

Haggai 2:8-9
(8): The silver is mine, and the gold is mine, says the Lord of hosts.
(9): The latter splendor of this house shall be greater than the former, says the Lord of hosts; and in this place I will give prosperity, says the Lord of hosts.'"

Knowing the scripture foretells the glory of the new temple, the one that shall be in operation during the Great Tribulation, it is also comforting to know in the passages we have seen that God claims the refined gold, and the untarnished silver as His. He promises Peace in our Newness, and He promises we will be greater than before. Each one of us, called according to His Purpose, must go through a process of refinement from our sinful life as part of sanctification, and perfection in our lives. As we encourage each other to continue walking through the fire, adding to their processing gold with our apples of fitly spoken words, we "encourage one another until He comes."

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