Refiner’s Fire

There is this song we used to sing at the church quite often named "Refiner's Fire."

I love(d) this song. In fact, I vaguely remember it coupled with the classic "White as Snow" bringing me to tears many times on mission trips to Mexico. Until today I had never really realized how terrifying the idea of God being a refining fire truly was.

From my history in metal work during the gold rush I know quite a bit about refining metals…Okay…actually I know nothing. What I do understand is that gold melts at one specific temperature and other metals melt at other temperatures. I know, right, I am blowing your mind right now…. This is how a smart person would describe it:

…metals with low melting points are refined. Metals like Sn, Pb, Bi have low melting points compared to the impurities in the metal. A block of impure metal is placed on a sloping furnace. The temperature of the furnace is maintained a bit above the melting point of the metal to be refined. The metal melts and flows off the slope; it is then collected and cooled.

So through that process metals are separated, and you get pure gold, silver, copper, etc. Now look at your life. As a person who has at one time put your faith in Christ as Lord and Savior for the forgiveness of sins, you are a new creation…gold if you will. But looking at your life, there seems to be a lot of impurities in that gold…some stuff that is holding you back…some "lesser metals" lodged in there. This is where the refining process fits in.

In order for the essence of who you are in Christ to be revealed, God needs to turn up the heat. This refining process can be painful, dealing with the hurts of your past, the struggles of your present, and the fears of the future. This process can bring about feelings that you never wanted to deal with, emotions you never knew you had–a terrible dilemma. Option one: remain impure and never live the free life God has for you. Option two: get burned, get hurt, get sad, ultimately get refined, and live in the freedom Christ died and rose for.

I mean, option two ends better, but the beginning often turns us away.  It scares us; we don't want to go there. So we settle for mediocrity and never push ourselves to be refined by the master refiner. God knows what you can handle; He knows what you can take.  You are much safer in His hands than in your own, though it will not always feel like that.

So, are you going to look at the refining process and see it as a threat as those about whom Malachi was speaking did? Or are you going to look up to your loving father, your abba, your daddy, and say, "I have a feeling you know what is best for me, and I am going to trust you in this." I pray that you choose the latter; it won't be easy, but it will be better.

Purify my heart,
let me be as gold and precious silver.
Purify my heart,
let me be as gold, pure gold

Refiner's fire,
My heart's one desire
is to be holy,
set apart for You, Lord.
I choose to be holy,
set apart for you, my master,
ready to do your will.

Purify my heart,
cleanse me from within and make me holy.
Purify my heart,
cleanse me from my sin, deep within

Bryce Cooley
I've been doing some form of ministry since 2000. For 13 years I was involved in the youth ministry at Cordova Neighborhood Church as everything from youth intern to youth pastor. God has led me and my lovely wife Bethany to Church of the Foothills where I currently reside as the Digital Publishing Coordinator. I'm excited to see where God leads my wife and I.
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Bryce Cooley
I've been doing some form of ministry since 2000. For 13 years I was involved in the youth ministry at Cordova Neighborhood Church as everything from youth intern to youth pastor. God has led me and my lovely wife Bethany to Church of the Foothills where I currently reside as the Digital Publishing Coordinator. I'm excited to see where God leads my wife and I.