In the heat of the cruicible, we become better Christians

Published 12:00 am Saturday, March 13, 2010

Some lifelong friends of ours disciplined their young children – all three are young adults now – with a small wooden paddle. The paddle, about the size of a 12-inch ruler, had the words “Heat for the Seat” printed on it in red letters.

The parents needed only point to the paddle hanging on the wall beside the refrigerator when their children misbehaved. Reminding them of the heat they had previously felt on their seat often would immediately improve their behavior.

Heat has a way of cleaning and purifying. Metals and ores are purified when melted with intense heat in a container sometimes called a crucible.

I once heard a minister describe a crucible and how a refiner went about his work of purifying the metal. He described a large, tall vessel like a vat. The refiner would watch the boiling caldron from a seat perched on the side of the crucible.

Any impurities in a precious metal such as gold would rise to the surface of the molten mixture. The refiner would use a tool to skim the dross off the hot, liquid metal until all the impurities were removed.

The minister concluded his sermon illustration relating how the refiner knew the metal was purified – when he could see his unblemished reflection on the surface.

Although we are created in the image of God (Genesis 1:26), the impurity of our sin mars His reflection in us.  It takes the fiery trials of life to purify us. The Apostle Paul tells us, “Think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you (1 Peter 4:12).

A crucible can also be defined as a severe test or trial. Though I wish I could say it isn’t so, trials and tests show me what I’m really made of.  My crucible may be for my correction or just a trial of my faith. But I find consolation in the fact that I learn to be more Christ-like from being in the crucible.

Paul also writes, “That the trial of your faith, being more precious than gold that perishes, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honor and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ (1 Peter 1:7).

As one author has said, “A clay pot in the sun will always be a clay pot.  It has to go through the white heat of the furnace to become porcelain.”

Charles Spurgeon has written, “The good that I have received from my sorrows and pains and griefs, is altogether incalculable. What do I not owe to the hammer and the anvil, the fire and the file? What do I not owe to the crucible and the furnace, the bellows that have blown up the coals and the hand which has thrust me into the heat?”

Remember the words of Spurgeon while going through fiery trials, “As sure as God puts his children in the furnace, He will be in the furnace with them.”