We’re reading the One Year Bible with a group of amazing people and I can honestly say this is the first time in my whole church lady life I’ve ever attempted the challenge. If you’ve never tried it, I highly recommend it! The One Year Bible itself is 365 daily readings of scriptures and each day includes a selection from the Old Testament and New Testament, a Psalm, and a Proverb. You can knock it out in 15 minutes (20 if you’re trying to read Old Testament names out loud) and it’s been a great way to start our day. We are laughing our guts out every time one of us can’t spit out a name with seventeen consonants and we are loving learning the story of how our faith journey began so long ago.
What I did not anticipate was the vast amount of knowledge I did not have about Old Testament customs. It’s fascinating. Before there was Jesus, people had to ritually purify themselves and just about everything else too and it was very complicated.
The rules (the short version)
God gave Moses a particular set of instructions to purify items new to the community.
Objects that would be consumed by a fire were to be washed only in water.
But any object that could withstand fire, made of any metal that does not burn (gold, silver, bronze, iron, tin, or lead), was to be placed directly into the flame before it was also washed in water. (Numbers 31, NLT)
We as people are worth so much more than any bronze bowl or iron sculpture. We are all being refined, groomed, grown. Some people embrace it and lean into the challenge, but others resist it. It’s hard, and it’s messy, and it is certainly the rockier path. God can only do with us what we are willing to let Him do. He is pleasantly persistent and sometimes hits us with a 2×4 when we’re stubborn. Yet ultimately it’s our decision whether or not to let Him mold us for the better.
I think some people will only stand to be washed in water.
But most of the people I know are designed to be sent into the fire.
These objects sent to the fire were stronger already to begin with. Made of metals that do not burn. Designed to withstand the toughest conditions and continue their purpose on the other side of the process.
How it works
The final stage of gold production — refining — involves removing impurities that remain after the smelting process. Refining companies receive doré bars, as well as scrap gold, and reliquefy the metal in a furnace. Workers add borax and soda ash to the molten metal, which separates the pure gold from other precious and less precious metals. A sample is then taken to a lab for tests, or assays, that measure the gold content. In most cases, the gold is 99.9 percent pure. (William Harris, How Gold Works)
The refining process for metals results in the purest materials. Out with the impurities. The refining process for humans results in our highest character and the most expansive potential for fulfilling our calling. Out with our impurities – character flaws of self-centeredness, lack of awareness, pride, insecurity, greed, unkindness, judgment, to name just a few. It is only by confronting those flaws in the burn that we can get to the core of who we are truly meant to be. Then and only then can we operate in our highest calling. Then and only then are we ready to even know what our highest calling actually is.
What’s your fire?
If you haven’t had one, I promise you will. Be willing to walk through it when it comes. If you’re in one right now, all my encouragement and love to you. Fight the urge to resist the flame and let Him do the work He’s got in mind. What will melt away are the parts of you that no longer serve you. These may be parts of your character, the way you spend your time, things in your thought life, or even relationships. Remember less precious things have to melt away to refine the true treasure. The process is painful but the results are worth the work. Lean in. Trust wise people who truly desire only the best for you and whose counsel is in alignment with God’s Word. (This is critical.)
Keep your eyes on the One who is stoking the fire. He will never give you more than you can handle with His help. You will never fall so far that His hand cannot still catch you. When He’s quiet, He’s still there. Keep trusting. Sometimes He’s waiting for you to show Him what you’re really made of.
Refined and ready
One day, on the other side of the fire, you will find yourself standing in a moment meant just for you. One that the fire refined you for. And you will realize that every heartache and loss, every disappointment and failure, every stumble and miscalculation, has been part of the refining process. And it’s purified you to something your Maker can use for more than you could ever ask or imagine.
Stay strong in the fire. Your moment is coming.
The One Year Bible (NLT)
Greater by Steven Furtick
Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert (also try Eat Pray Love, trust me)
The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey
The Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod