“He shall sit...and purge them” (Malachi 3:3). Every Christian who has ever been drawn near to the Lord knows something of the sinfulness of his heart and the impurity of his life. The closer we are to Him, the more conscious we become of our sinfulness and of our unworthiness.
Paul calls it the “flesh” (Romans 7) and “the body of this death”. It is the self in our lives, the carnality, the unholiness, and it dogs our footsteps all along the Christian pathway. Chastening is a divine means of answering our prayer for cleansing. Did you not pray for God to cleanse you? He answered by putting you in the fire. He is cleansing as “a refiner and purifier of silver”. The “dross” in your life is being burned in the fire of affliction.
Spend a moment in solemn reflection. What is the “dross” in your life that needs to be purged? It may be arrogance, pride, love of praise, love of attention, self-will, stubbornness, an unteachable spirit, peevishness, immaturity, jealousy, anger, impatience, love of money, selfishness, or an unforgiving spirit. All such “dross” grieves the Holy Spirit who dwells within us, and so we must be “refined” and “purged”. This means we must pass “through the fire”, but there’s some comfort for you here. The refiner has a purpose— it is not to destroy his precious gold and silver, but to consume the “dross” and bring out the beauty and purity of the gold. Fire cannot destroy the gold; it only melts it. Oh, how we need to be melted before God! When the gold is melted, the dross floats on the top and it is easy for the refiner to skim it off. How long since you have been melted?
The three unyielding Hebrews were cast into Nebuchadnezzar’s fiery furnace. It was seven times hotter than usual. Please note that they went into the furnace fully clothed and securely bound, but when they came out, three things were apparent. Not a hair of their heads was singed. More than that— the fire burned off their bands; and more wonderful still — the Lord had walked with them in the fire.
The same three things happen to the Christian in the fiery trial.
1. First, he is never harmed by the fire. Can you tell me that you were ever harmed by God’s chastening? Oh, this doesn’t mean that it doesn’t hurt, but always the hurt is for our good.
2.Second, the fire sets him free from the shackles of carnality that hindered. The most radiant Christians are the ones who have suffered the most.
3. Third, God’s presence is very real and precious in the fire.
The next time you feel the heat from the fire of affliction thank God that He is consuming not you, but the “dross” out of your life, and that you shall come “through the fire” purified and cleansed.
Edited for misspelled word