1 Peter 1:7 (NLT) – “These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold–though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world.”
I remember in highschool, my science teacher taught me about the gold-refining process. In very basic terms, it proceeds like this:
- through a tedious extraction process, mined gold is separated from its natural rock environment, and dissolved using water and chemicals.
- In its dissolved state, the gold is mixed with chemical flux and placed into a smelter.
- Inside this furnace, the gold/ flux mixture is heated to 1,600 degrees celsius (that’s 54,080 degrees Fahrenheit)!
- The internal and surface impurities–called slag– rise to the top of the liquid, while the heavier gold sinks to the bottom of the smelter tank.
- The slag is poured from the smelter, leaving gold that is 80% pure.
- The liquid gold is then poured into molds and left to cool for about 4 hours.
There’s your science lesson for the day. Here comes your spiritual lesson.
- God finds us right where we are; fractured and surrounded by the natural sins of the world, within our personal lives.
- By saving grace, salvation and water baptism, we show our commitment to the Lord by dying to our former lives, and rising in the newness of Christ.
- Almost immediately, we encounter trials by fire. This is when the flesh fights back for control over our new lives. The drinker suddenly battles against the need to drink; the adulterer battles against the lustful cravings of companionship; etc.
- Through overwhelming trials, God is actually burning off detrimental traits. We may lose friends who can’t handle our new way of living. We may lose material stuff. We may lose creature comforts. This is the slag rising to the top of the chemical mixture, to be skimmed off.
- By constantly bathing in the presence of the Lord (praise & worship, reading, praying, and fellowship), the slag of our old lives is poured out and skimmed off, leaving us in a state of liquid gold ready to be placed into God’s mold. His mold for each of us is unique.
- The mold then is the task or call on our lives; whatever it is that God has called us to do for His kingdom.