“Like A Refiner’s Fire” (James 1: 2 – 3, ESV) by Carley Evans

“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness,” writes James “to the twelve tribes in the Dispersion.” James further writes that the full effect of steadfastness is perfection, so that we are “lacking in nothing.” (James 1: 4)

God is “like a refiner’s fire and like fuller’s soap. He sits as a refiner and purifier of silver, and He purifies the sons of Levi and refines them like gold and silver, and they bring offerings in righteousness to the Lord.” (Malachi 3: 2 – 3)

Trials are common to humankind; not one of us escapes them. The son of David writes,”Whether it is love or hate, man does not know; both are before him. It is the same for all, since the same event happens to the righteous and the wicked, both to the good and the evil, to the clean and the unclean, to him who sacrifices and to him who does not sacrifice. As the good one is, so is the sinner, and he who swears is as he who shuns an oath. This is an evil in all the is done under the sun, that the same event happens to all.” (Ecclesiastes 9: 1 – 3)

Very few are able to count trials as joy. But Christians “know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to His purpose. For those whom [God] foreknew He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son.” (Romans 8: 28 – 29) If we are to be “conformed to the image of [God’s] Son,” then we must be refined. The process of refinement is often painful as the dross of our daily lives is burnt off, melted away through adversity. Adversity makes as stronger, if we submit to it and learn from it. “In the day of prosperity be joyful, and in the day of adversity consider: God has made the one as well as the other.” (Ecclesiastes 7: 14)

The manner in which we respond to the days of adversity is key — if we trust that God is at work in us for His good pleasure, to perfect us; then we are able to count those times of suffering as joy.

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2 Comments Add yours

  1. Wow… I was just telling a Sister the other day about the lesson I heard years ago about how God is like a refiner of gold (in this illustration). How he puts heat under it and the dross comes to the top and he scrapes it away and then he turns up the heat and the dross comes to the top and he scrapes it away and then he turns the heat up some more and keeps repeating the process until he can see his own image reflected in the hot metal.
    So God does to each of His children. He’s putting us in the fire and anything not like Him, He burns away so that we can more perfectly reflect Him. Jesus said, “And I, if I be lifted up from the earth (earth = man i.e. “thy will be done in earth,” obviously not talking about in the air or animals, but in those who can accomplish His will), will draw all men unto me” (John 12:32). We can’t afford to sin because someone is looking at us, we’re made a gazingstock and the whole world is waiting to see Jesus in us.

  2. lambskinny says:

    I love that — “we are made a ‘gazing-stock’ and the whole world is waiting to see Jesus in us.” That’s great! Thanks.

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