- Written by Andy Searles
I have been meditating recently on the old fashioned term, "Chastening". This is the process through which God lovingly and purposefully corrects and purifies us. The process presents us with a difficult tension because it is something we know that we need...but, oftnen, really don't want.
One popular metaphor for this area of growth is the process of refinement that God puts us through - similar to when priceless metals are being perfected.
There are a few times in the scripture where this metaphor is used. One of them is Malachi 3:3, where we read of about our Gracious Father, "He will sit as the a refiner and purifier of silver; he will purify the Levites and refine them like Gold and silver. Then the Lord will have men who bring offerings in righteousness."
I want my offerings (my life!) to be pleasing and right before God! As I have studied and reflected on this aspect of the chastening process, there are three things that I would ask, with trepidation, for God to do in me.
1) Turn the Heat Up. In order to purify precious metals they have to experience heat. It is in the heating process that the impurities come to the surface and can be removed. I know that there are all kinds of impurities buried within me that aren't going to be removed if I seek a safe and comfortable life. If we side stepping challenges, back away from difficulties and avoid significant decisions we maybe able to avoid some pain, but the cost doing so ensures that impurities will remain within. Our character is defined, shaped and revealed when the heat is on.
2) See His Reflection. Precious metal workers would heat the metal, continuing to wipe off the impurities once they came to the surface, until they could see their reflection in the precious metal. Wouldn't it be great if we could get rid of our impurities so that the reflection of Christ could be seen in and through us? The world doesn't need a better version of me, it needs Jesus to shine through me as my impurities are removed.
3) Not allow things to get too hot. The scripture in Malachi talks about the worker 'sitting' while the process takes place. The reason for this is that the one doing the refining had to constantly keep an eye on the melting metal to ensure that it was just the impurities that were getting burned. To burn the precious metals were not a good thing. In the same way, God watches over us, ensuring that things won't get hotter than we can handle. He doesn't want to destroy us, just the sin within.
Do you want to ask God to "Purify your heart"? Will you?