December 3, 2012

Refined by Fire

By Jeffrey Moore, a senior Bible and religion and communication double major from Ashland, Ohio
THIS WEEK’S THEME: Refined by Fire

In the epically stereotypical quest to save the world, the hero always learns from a master. At some point the master says to the young hero: “You have learned well, now you are ready to forge your own sword.” Then comes the montage of blacksmith work: melting, hammering, melting and hammering again until the metal is just right. “You must remove every impurity so that it has no weakness,” says the master. The refinement process is a test in patience and evidence of the hero’s progression towards a greater purpose.

For Christians, the refinement process is a metaphor for the kinds of changes God wants for disciples. There is a temptation to define Christianity solely on what we believe – on our theology, or on what we do – our praxis. But disciples of Christ also care about who and what we are – our character or identity. Being a Christian means letting God shape us into a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17). It means undergoing a difficult process of refinement in which our impurities are slowly melted away and God molds something simple into something unique. It is a test in patience and evidence of our development as God’s creation.

Refinement is not comfortable for the metal, nor is it easy for the metal worker, but it is necessary. In the end, the hero and the metal undergo a similar process. They are each refined through hard work, commitment and patience.

Take some time this week to think about how Christ might be trying to refine you into something unique: an instrument for a greater purpose.



Comments (14)

  1. Thank you for this devotional. This is just what I needed to hear today.

    Margaret McDowell December 3, 2012 |
  2. Jeffrey– Thanks for this reminder that we are being newly created by God every day, which can sometimes be a test of endurance and patience.

    Quinn Brenneke December 3, 2012 |
  3. Thanks for this inspiring devotional, Jeffrey. You are wise beyond your years!

    Becky Horst December 3, 2012 |
  4. Please include links to Scripture in your devotionals.

    Betty December 3, 2012 |
    • Hi Betty! We will see what we can do. Thanks for your feedback! – Jodi Beyeler, Devotions Editor

      Jodi Beyeler December 3, 2012 |
  5. Thank You fpr the challenge to begin this week.

    Mary K. Mishler December 3, 2012 |
  6. Thanks for your thoughtful post, Jeffrey.

    Miriam Zehr December 3, 2012 |
  7. I like your phrase “letting God shape us”. A great reminder that we must daily choose this “shaping.”

    Betty December 3, 2012 |
  8. I very much appreciated the ‘mythic’ links you made with the master craftsman/apprentice relationship in the refining process. It does all of us good, who need such refinement, to know of the intimate concern our Sensei God has toward our becoming flourishing, skillful, perfected Kohai (apprentices). Thanks, Jeffrey.

    Jim Brenneman, GC President December 3, 2012 |
  9. Thanks for this encouragement. I agree that it takes patience and for most of us a lifetime. Have a blessed Christmas.

    Richard Hirschler December 3, 2012 |
  10. I love your analogy of the refining process to our life in the faith. Thank you!

    Barbara Clark December 4, 2012 |
  11. Very nice… l liked that you pointed out the importance of BEING who we are in Christ as well as what we believe and do. Reminded me that this painful process brings wholeness and we don’t turn out misshapen or lopsided (like I feel sometimes). Nice. thanks.

    Diana Thomas December 4, 2012 |
  12. Very helpful and thought-provoking, Jeffrey. thank you.

    Elaine Schrock December 4, 2012 |
  13. Most excellent, Jeffrey, thank you for the reminder that it is our character that Jesus wants to transform

    Sanford Yoder December 6, 2012 |