First Peter 1:7
These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith–of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire–may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.
The Work of Adversity
Adversity is allowed by God for many reasons. You can call them storms if you like. To me, they are storms of direction, storms of reflection, storms of correction, storms of affection, and storms of perfection. Even the smallest of irritations in an oyster forms a precious pearl. Adversity can work in our life to refine us and make us more like Christ. God clearly says in His word that He tests us and tries us like silver is refined in the fire (Psalm 66:10). This makes silver all the more valuable, as the impurities are removed. A faith that has never been tested is a faith that cannot be trusted. God doesn’t test us to break us but to build us up. A set bone is stronger after it has healed and is even harder to break, as is the work of adversity in the life of the believer. I don’t think I have ever learned more from when things go well than when things go badly.
The Refiner’s Fire
The verse in 1 Peter 1:7 reminds me of how they refine gold. They heat it up, typically seven times. Each time, a little more of the dross is burned up or scooped away and taken out. When does the refiner know when the gold is pure? When he sees his own reflection. In a similar way, God is refining each of us more and more each day until we reflect His Son. Being refined into the image of Christ is what God is interested in. Paul says that we are being transformed into His image and that this transformation or refining is from the very Spirit of God (2 Cor. 3:18). Don’t you want that? The moon reflects the sun but has no light source of its own, and in the same way, we are to reflect the Son’s image, the true source of all light (John 1:4, 9).
Broken Is Better
God sometimes allows circumstances to humble us, to break us, and to have us come to the end of ourselves so we’ll be knocked down and only have one way to look, which is up. The fact is, God cannot fix what is first not broken. A prideful person is so full of themselves that God cannot fill them with His Spirit. There isn’t any room left for God. Until God humbles us, He will resist us, just as He does every pride-filled person (James 4:6). Don’t let adversity break you, but let it shape you, mold you, and form you into the image of His Son.
A Closing Prayer
Father God, oh holy One, You alone are the Refiner, and I have so much dross yet to be removed. So please help me see the overall picture of the Refiner’s work in removing everything that is not in the image of Your great and glorious Son, in Whose name I pray.
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