Awaken 2019: A Refined Heart
“The refining pot is for silver and the furnace for gold, but the Lord tests hearts.” - Proverbs 17:3
A refining pot or crucible is unfamiliar to most of us in 21stcentury America, but it was a common item in biblical times. A refining pot was a durable piece of ceramic that could be heated to very high temperatures in a furnace or on an open flame. During that time, when a metalworker wanted to purify gold or silver, he or she would put the metal into a refining pot and heat it until the metal liquified. Once the refining pot was heated, the impurities would be forced to the surface and become visible. As the impurities rose, they were removed, and more heat was applied. This process continued until the precious metal was pure. The metalworkerknew the gold or silver was pure when he looked into the liquid metal within the refining pot and saw his reflection.
In today’s passage from Proverbs 17, the process of refining precious metal is used to illustrate the work God does in our hearts. God applies heat by exposing our weaknesses, our struggles, and aspects of our life that do not reflect His life. Heat is both hot and uncomfortable, but as it is applied in our lives, we are conformed more into the image of God.
God’s desire is to shape our lives in such a way that when people look at us, they see Him. He loves us enough to take us through the slow and sometimes painful process of purification. As a result of this process, our faith is strengthened, and our lives are refined. We can all look back at difficult moments on our Christian journey and identify painful but necessary ways that God refined our hearts.
Another example of the refining process is when diamonds are formed in nature. The formation of natural diamonds requires temperatures over 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit and extreme pressures 90 miles below the surface. A good friend of our church, Pastor Gregg Matte, describes that process by saying, “No pressure, no diamond.”
Regardless of where you are spiritually in God’s divine refining process, you can be encouraged by this today: the unexpected circumstances and periods of “pressure” in your life, that you desperately want to change, are often what God uses in order to change you.
In conclusion, take some time to read and reflect on the following questions:
- How has your heart become hard to the voice of God? See Hebrews 3:15
- When is a time your faith was strengthened that you can look back on now and thank God? See Philippians 1:6, Romans 8:28
- Do you need to change your perspective of a current circumstance in light of God’s divine process of refinement?