"...Though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. 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."
1 Peter 1:6-7
My mom and step dad just moved to Texas and recently opened a jewelry store. I began working for them over the summer. There are so many beautiful rings, necklaces and bling is everywhere you look. It really is a fun job and for the first three weeks I began working there I was having dreams about the jewelry! It was quite funny.
After about a month, I had my first trip to the refinery. We had some old pieces of scrap gold, broken jewelry and just plain "how did anyone ever wear that?" pieces and we loaded them up and took them to the refinery to be melted down and help out with some of the expenses a new business can incur. I began to question how the refining process worked and after speaking with my stepdad and searching the internet it was quite interesting.
Take for example something that is 14k gold. That would be roughly over half gold, mixed with some other type of metal like copper or silver. 24k gold is 99% pure gold and hardly any other alloy is mixed in at all. The refineries take the gold and melt it down to its most purest form, separating the other metals from it. Once they have the gold in it's most pure state, they can make bars and bullion to turn around and sell and make a profit for themselves.
This began to get me thinking about the refining process that happens in our lives. Jesus purchased us, just as the refiner, with our impurities and all. As we allow ourselves to be led by the Holy Spirit, convicted of bad habits and allowing the Word to renew our minds...our impurities begin to be melted away. We don't become perfect but in the process we become who God originally intended for us to be.
Let's read on in 1 Peter starting in verse 13, but this time in the Message version:
"So roll up your sleeves, put your mind in gear, be totally ready to receive the gift that's coming when Jesus arrives. Don't lazily slip back into those old grooves of evil, doing just what you feel like doing. You didn't know any better then; you do now. As obedient children, let yourselves be pulled into a way of life shaped by God's life, a life energetic and blazing with holiness. God said, "I am holy; you be holy." You call out to God for help and he helps- he's a good Father that way. But don't forget, he's also a responsible Father, and won't let you get by with sloppy living." 1 Peter 1:13-17
These impurities in our lives are merely distractions from living God's best for us. So whether it be debt, a lack of healthy eating, a lack of exercise, gossip, worry, whatever it is that God may be speaking to you about. Pray about it, make a plan and attack it! When we blatantly do something out of habit or just because it's easier, but feel convicted about it immediately, it's sin, it's disobedience. Begin listening to the Holy Spirit nudging you and pursuing you to get back on track.
Our God merely convicts, not condemns. Please don't get the two mixed up. Don't expect to call God, Father and think He won't discipline you from time to time. He is not a God who condemns but one who wants to take all the impurities, all the junk out of your life and fill it with the most purest forms of love, joy and peace. Will you let Him start the refining process today?