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What is the Refiner’s Fire?

A young friend recently wrote the following:

Q.  I was just reading todays meditation, what do you mean by going through the refiners fire, and how do you do that?

A.  The process is one of purification of precious metal by:   fire.  It has to do with the removal of impurities which would make the precious metal LESS than it should be.

In the Christian life, we are so often weighed down by our own selfish desires, petty ambitions, amusements or attractions which are temporal instead of eternal.  We focus on the skin of the person next to us rather than the soul.  We judge by the eyes instead of valuing the person.  In short, we don’t reflect the image and glory of God.

How do we partake of this cleansing?  You don’t “do” it as much as endure it.  God is the One who oversees this process in your life.  He sends you into the fire and takes you out according to His pleasure.  And He does it for His glory.

What does He use to accomplish this?  Adversity.  Trouble.  Rejection.  Failure.  The afflictions that come our way.  In short, anything bad that we encounter, God is able to use to free us from the crust, grime and dirt of this world and our own selfishness and change us more into the likeness of Jesus.

Here’s a good story to go along with it:

Some time ago, a few ladies met in a certain city to read the scriptures and make them the subject of conversation. While reading the third chapter of Malachi they came upon a remarkable expression in the third verse.”  And He shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver.”

One lady’s opinion was that it was intended to convey the view of the sanctifying influence of the grace of Christ. Then she proposed to visit a silversmith and report to them what he said on the subject. She went accordingly and without
telling the object of her errand, begged to know the process of refining silver, which he fully described to her.

“But Sir,” she said, “do you sit while the work of refining is going on?” “Oh, yes madam, ” replied the silversmith, “I must sit with my eye steadily fixed on the furnace, for if the time necessary for refining be exceeded in the slightest degree, the silver will be injured.”

The lady at once saw the beauty, and comfort too, of the expression,

“He shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver.”

Christ sees it needful to put His children into a furnace. His eye is steadily intent on the work of purifying, and His wisdom and love are both engaged in the best manner for them. Their trials do not come at random; “the very hairs of your head are all numbered.”

As the lady was leaving the shop, the silversmith called her back, and said he had still further to mention, that he only knows when the process of purifying was complete, by seeing his own image reflected in the silver.

Beautiful example! When Christ shall see His own image in His people, His work of purifying will be accomplished.

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10 Responses to "What is the Refiner’s Fire?"

  1. Anonymous says:

    So can you ask God to take you into the fire or does He just do it when He thinks you’re ready for it? Is the fire what we go through it like everyday with the stuff we face?

    1. admin says:

      Most of what we face everyday isn’t “the fire.” It’s just annoyances. Inconveniences to an otherwise pretty comfortable life.

      The fire is painfully hot. It’s the “where are you God when I need you? Why did you leave me? How come all I feel is pain?” kind of experiences that generally come in waves or cycles on an occasional basis for most people. It is under this type of INTENSE heat that the core issues of life come to the surface and SHINE while the fluff gets burned away. We leave the fire with a clearer vision of who God is, who we are, and what matters in life.

      Can you ask God to take you into the fire? Sure! It please Him when His children ask to be purified. A prayer like that indicates our willingness to endure pain in order to have our characters changed.

      But whether we ask or not, He will take us through the fire (not just INTO the fire) because He loves us too much to leave us the way He found us.

  2. Anonymous says:

    So when you say it’s painfully hot, I mean like He wouldn’t make us endure things/situations that were too ‘hot’ so to speak, like what He we couldn’t handle would He?

    Is there not a scripture that says something along those lines?

    1. admin says:

      You’re right. 1 Corinthians 10:13 tells us that God will not allow us to be tempted beyond what we are able to bear without ALSO making a way of escape for us.

  3. […] What is the Refiner’s Fire? (Source: Walk With God) […]

  4. Dei says:

    First, thank you! I found this because I had searched the term refiner’s fire. This morning during praise and worship I saw fire via the Holy Ghost. The message given by my Bishop dealt with the Scripture re:the three Hebrew boys being placed in the fire. Finally, a word came to me; refiner’s fire. I began to question if I am going to placed again in the fire until I read your story. It confirmed for me that it’s time for me to come out. Oh glory Hallelujah!!!! I am God’s blessed Beloved daughter and all so grateful!!

  5. Suzy says:

    Going through my own refiner’s fire, or dark night of the soul, I questioned God. God, if you are sovereign and omniscent knowing how this would hurt me so deeply, WHY did you let it happen. My spiritual ears now hear, and indeed, like Job, not only did I hear of God with my ears, NOW my eye sees Him!

    Indeed, it something that must be endured. Clinging to Him with faith. He is deepening our faith in trust in Him because he wants to use us for greater purpose (Psalm 105:17-22) and bless us (Deut 8:16.)

    Weeping may last the night, but joy does come in the morning, and He will redeem our time and misery in better ways we could hope for.

  6. Risa says:

    I was blessed and encouraged as I read the story of the young woman who went to a silversmith to understand what a refiners fire. It is true we will all go through the fire at some point in our lives. Just like the three hebrew children shadrach, meschach and abendigo. But the comfort is knowing that we are not alone. that God is there with us. In the case of the silversmith, he is intently watching us, observing us, seeing what is truly in our hearts. It is at these times we can see truly what is in our own heart. He is purifying our hearts. When the process is complete he sees a reflection of himself. I think we can prolong the process of purification by our attitude. If we give God praise in the midst of the firey furnance, he helps us to endure the process while giving us peace in the midst of it.

  7. reginald cosby says:

    This is very interesting. I completely understand. Thank you.

  8. Rosie says:

    I am greatly blessed by your messages. I am in the fiery furnace at this time and it is hot, but I know my God is with me and will see me through. His Word says ‘Never will I leave you, Never will i forsake you’. So I know that I will one day shine for my Jesus and He will see His face in me! So hold on all you who are also being refined. There are better times ahead. Just have the faith and trust our God no matter how hot it gets.

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