The Lord is a master designer of people, the Creator of things He calls “very good”, and His Word proves over and over that He is a skilled Restorer of broken things. God has a design and purpose for every, human life, but the shaping you experienced in the fallen world means God will need to reshape you in the refiner’s fire to make you more like Him – as you once asked Him to do.
If you sense you are in the refining fire under God’s merciful hand, you are most likely experiencing a season of difficulty where what you thought you knew is being challenged, the ground you once felt stable on is being shaken, and you have conflict inside you with how you think or act versus what you know would honor the Lord.
Many people struggle under the intensity of the refiner’s fire that God uses to reshape them and as a result they walk out of it and never experience the fullness God intended for them to have.
Why is the Refiner’s Fire in the Furnace of Affliction?
Paul wrote, “And the Lord—who is the Spirit—makes us more and more like Him as we are changed into His glorious image.” (2 Corinthians 3:18 NLT) Your desire to be more like Christ is a godly desire the Lord wants to fulfill, and He has a process and plan for your good. You can trust Him.
Remember this: The refiner’s fire is a process you ask for when you ask the Lord to make you more like Him- and you can walk out of it at any time. Believers cry out to God to make them more like Him, and then cry against Him when He responds with the refiner’s fire, but it’s the only way to shape you into His likeness.
In Isaiah 48:10 the Lord spoke saying, “See, I have refined you, though not as silver; I have tested you in the furnace of affliction.” Silver and gold are refined with a smelting process whereby they are converted into a molten liquid. Do you know what is refined in a furnace? Iron is forged in the fire.
- While iron is very strong, it is also brittle.
- Iron is hard and can only be shaped in extreme heat while silver remains soft and malleable without much heat needed to shape it.
- Iron is much stronger than silver, but it also rusts more easily.
- Silver and gold need purification, iron needs to be shaped.
- Iron possesses magnetism, the ability to draw things to itself, while silver does not.
- Iron is an essential element in your blood you need to remain alive, unlike gold or silver.
- Iron is strong enough to be able to be shaped and used for almost every purpose on earth.
Iron, as well as silver and gold, need the skilled hands of a Master designer to bring out their best qualities, but their processes are very different.
In your faith journey, you will see that when God is working to purify you versus reshape and strengthen you, you’ll walk through very different seasons of “fire”. You need both for your spiritual transformation in Christ.
1. The Refiner’s Fire Reveals the Iron Strength in You
Once iron is forged in the fire, it must then be pounded over and over with a hammer to begin to shape it. As iron starts to cool, its color begins to change and in order to be softened again, it must be placed back into the fire to be red again, and pliable.
Each time iron goes back into the fire it has a new shape. Every twist and mark shapes it. Each time it needs another reshaping, the iron goes back in fire. Pounding, squeezing, twisting – whichever method the blacksmith uses will depend on what He has in mind for the end result.
There’s iron strength in you and the Lord sees it. He heard your request and this is His answer because the strongest and the most beautiful iron is forged in more than one fire.~Alicia Purdy
If you’ve asked the Lord to make you more like Him and then everything began to get worse, take heart. There’s iron strength in you and the Lord sees it. He heard your request and this is His answer because the strongest and the most beautiful iron is forged in more than one fire.
“Have not I commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go,” the Lord said in Joshua 1:9.
You aren’t born strong in the Lord. You’re born into sin and spiritual weakness – but the Lord is with you and He will be your strength if you’ll bind yourself to Him with a faith of three cords: The Word, your worship, and the communion of prayer.
Remember this: “When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze,” the Lord promised in Isaiah 43:2. When you are being forged by the fire, you won’t be burned because God knows exactly the right amount of fire needed to make you pliable, soft and workable and strong- and more like Him.
2. God Will Use Even the Enemy’s Fire to Refine and Strengthen You
Don’t fear the fire. Sometimes that fire comes from the Lord Himself, and sometimes the fire in your life comes from the hand of your enemy, the devil.
In the Old Testament, Genesis 50:20 shows that what your enemy means to cause you harm, God will use it “to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today.” (ESV)
In the New Testament, this same promise is repeated: “…we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose for them.” (Romans 8:28, NLT)
Your enemy sends fire to burn you, but God uses it to reshape you.
The Lord is as worthy of your praise while you are in the fire as He is when life is less heated. Worship has nothing to do with your situation and everything to do with a good, faithful and merciful God who will not only reshape you in the refiner’s fire, but will remain with you while you are in it.
Will you continue to burn for Him?
- It was through fire that God spoke to Moses.
- It was through fire that God led His people out of Egypt during the darkness of night.
- It was through fire God sent a miracle answer from heaven to consume Elijah’s water-soaked sacrifice.
When God controls the fire, there is purpose, beauty, strength, protection, revelation, miracles and transformation. If you are in a season of “forging” right now, give God the glory even in the hardest times. Worship in the secret place keeps you connected to Him and you will emerge from the refiner’s fire fundamentally changed, unbreakable and shaped into a thing of beauty and He will put you to His good use.
3. The Refiner’s Fire Will Shape You into a Tool Fit for the Master’s Use
Unlike silver, which is refined through a process of boiling, the blacksmith forges his iron pieces in fire, not over it. Why? Silver and iron are two completely different metals with fundamentally different properties and purposes.
In the Bible, there are many mentions of the Lord refining His people as silver, however, in Isaiah 48:10 He said, “…not as silver” – meaning that the season will come when the Lord wants to shape you into a strong, useful instrument for the Master’s use, and there will be a season spent in the fire to do it.
But in the hands of the Master, all fire has a purpose that He will use to transform and shape you, strengthen you and design you perfectly for what He needs. Remember when you said you wanted to be more like Jesus? When you said you wanted more of Him and less of you? You said you wanted to be used by Him.
But in the hands of the Master, all fire has a purpose that He will use to transform and shape you, strengthen you and design you perfectly for what He needs.~Alicia Purdy
Each time the Lord needs to reshape you for a new purpose, you may need to go back into the fire to soften again. You will be hammered and twisted and heated until you are what He needs to be- as long as you submit to the process.
Once the heating period is over, iron is then cleaned and buffed with a wire brush to remove the rough edges. Does that sound like anything you’ve been through?
…“So the craftsman encourages the smelter, And he who smooths metal with the hammer encourages him who beats the anvil, Saying of the soldering, ‘It is good’; And he fastens it with nails, So that it will not totter.” (Isaiah 41:7)
Your desire is to be a tool fit for the Master’s use and God is watching over your forging process. He is a master craftsman shaping and strengthening you with intention, love and great care.
If you want to be more like Him and be used in His Kingdom, He is willing to work with you in the forging fire, if you are willing to let Him.
4. In the Refiner’s Fire, You Must Trust the Blacksmith
God doesn’t send or use suffering to teach you lessons and He doesn’t “allow” suffering either. However, He does accept that suffering is part of the human condition in a fallen world- the result of sinful choices.
Think about this:
If you want to be more like Jesus and be used in His Kingdom, He is willing to work with you in the forging fire, if you are willing to let Him. Fix your eyes on Jesus.
- Proverbs 3:5 says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.”
- Psalm 37:5 says, “Commit everything you do to the Lord. Trust him, and He will help you.” (NLT)
- Psalm 62:8 says, “Trust in Him at all times, O people; pour out your heart before Him; God is a refuge for us.” (ESV)
- Isaiah 26:4 says, “Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord God is an everlasting rock.” (ESV)
- Psalm 32:10 says, “…steadfast love surrounds the one who trusts in the Lord.”
When you are walking through a season of fire, run to the Lord! You need to be close to Him in prayer, praise and the power of His Word. God doesn’t send pain and suffering (although the fire might be tough at times), but He uses your choices, the attacks of the devil and the problems of people for His good purpose in your life.
You can trust the Lord. Your fire is an answer to prayer and an act of great love to shape you into what He wants you to be. What a good, good Father!
Thought for Today: Don’t Fear the Heat of the Refiner’s Fire
Remember that just because it hurts, or because you feel the twisting and the heat and the pounding doesn’t mean it’s bad or that you’ve missed God. You are being forged in fire because God wants to bring out your strength in a certain area so He can use you – as you asked Him to – for a specific purpose in His plan.
What the does Lord need you to be in His Kingdom? For what purpose is He forging you right now? Maybe you don’t know just yet. Have you submitted to His process?
Dear friends, “I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Jesus Christ.” (Philippians 1:6, MEV)
If you want to be like Jesus, “fit for the Master’s use, and prepared for every good work,” (2 Timothy 2:21) you must be forged in the fire, and then fashioned by the Master into what He needs. Trust Him. Lean on Him. Draw closer. Worship and give thanks. He sees the strength in you even if you don’t see it in yourself.
Stir Your Faith as You Walk Through the Refiner’s Fire:
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