Posted by: Omar C. Garcia | November 12, 2010

When Things Get Hot

I was looking through some old files today and came across a devotional I wrote in August 1994, originally entitled, “When God Turns Up the Heat.” He often does turn up the heat. The Apostle Paul wrote these encouraging words to the believers at Philippi, “I am sure of this, that He who started a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus” (Phil. 1:6). God uses a variety of tools to do His good work, including heat. Proverbs 17:3 states, “The refining pot is for silver and the furnace for gold, but the Lord tests hearts.” Here are some of my reflections on Proverbs 17:3 that I wrote in 1994.

Heat is indispensable to the smith that works with silver or gold. Intense heat is used to emancipate things of value encased in prisons of ores. Heat loosens the tight grip of rubbish on what is of value and separates what is priceless from what is worthless. The smith turns up the heat in order to begin the process of purifying silver or gold.

Liked a skilled silversmith or goldsmith, God is committed to loosening the grip of rubbish on what is of value in our lives. The Apostle Paul said that God works in the lives of His followers to conform them into the image of His Son (Romans 8:29). In order to do such a great work in our lives, God must turn up the heat. He must put our hearts into the crucible, turn up the heat, patiently wait for the rubbish to come to the surface, skillfully skim off the dross, and then repeat the process as necessary.

We should keep at least three things in mind when things begin to get a little hot in our lives.

First, when God turns up the heat there is pain. It’s not easy being tested by God, but it is necessary in order for us to be conformed into the image of His Son. He is acquainted with the rubbish that hides the silver and the garbage that entraps the gold. And so, He must turn up the heat in order to remove the rubbish and release the riches. But, don’t panic. God knows how to regulate the temperature through life’s daily experiences and encounters with others. He knows exactly how much heat is required to release Christ-like characteristics from our hearts.

Second, when God turns up the heat there is a purpose. We shouldn’t get down when the heat is up because it’s an indication that God is up to something. God always works purposefully. He knows exactly what He is doing. In fact, we should probably be concerned when life gets a little too cool and comfortable.

Third, when God turns up the heat there is a plan. Proverbs 25:4 states, “Remove the dross from the silver, and out comes material for the silversmith” (NIV). The lesson is clear: without the removal of the dross from the silver, the smith has no material with which to work. And in order to remove the dross the smith must turn up the heat. When God turns up the heat, we can rest assured that He has a bigger picture in mind. He knows exactly what to do with the worthless stuff that floats to the surface and the priceless material that remains. He knows how to dispose of the dross, shape the silver and gold, and make something beautiful of our lives. So, keep your cool the next time things get a little hot in your life. God is up to something good.

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