VIEWS: 30 PAGES: 2 POSTED ON: 3/30/2011
The Refiner’s Fire The Lord is determined to purify and cleanse His people. He allows many of His chosen people to pass through the furnace of affliction. He is determined to bring forth the pure gold of holiness, genuine faith and Christ-like character. But is it possible that we have put out the Spirit’s fire as He seeks to move among us? John Benson writes I was a metallurgist before I heard out into a mould and shaped for adultery with Bathsheba and then the Lord’s call to ordination. I use. In a similar way, I was going conspired with Joab to have her still bear the scars from laboratory to be refined by fire and shaped husband Uriah killed in battle. The accidents with steel bars at very into something useful for the Lord. Lord sent Nathan the prophet to high temperatures. I soon learnt speak to David. ‘Why did you that respect is needed – even when Before I develop these points, let despise the word of the LORD by the fire is contained in a carefully me quickly add that the refining doing what is evil in his eyes? You controlled furnace. You cannot play process continues to this day. The struck down Uriah the Hittite with with fire without getting burnt. Fire Lord has not finished dealing with the sword and took his wife to be gives warmth when we are cold. me. I am still a work in progress. It your own’ (2 Samuel 12: 9 –10). Fire cooks our food. Fire refines is only through the riches of God’s David had no place to hide, metals in the furnace. Fire also mercy and grace that I can stand. no room to negotiate and no words destroys. Spurgeon expressed it with his to speak in mitigation. He characteristic clarity: ‘We are not confessed his sin and Nathan The words of Daniel Iverson’s what we hope to be, But we are assured him that the LORD had hymn ‘Spirit of the living God’ made not what we used to be. There has taken away his sin. David’s sense to me as I worked in the lab: been progress, but there is still a confession is amplified in long way to go.’ ‘I press on to take Psalm 51 and he recognises that: Spirit of the living God, fall afresh on hold of that for which Christ Jesus ‘The sacrifices of God are a broken me. took hold of me.’ (Philippians 3: 12) spirit; a broken and contrite heart, Spirit of the living God, fall afresh on O God, you will not despise. (Verse me. 17) Break me, melt me, mould me, fill me. BREAK ME Spirit of the living God, fall afresh on me. Jesus said that when the Holy David is convicted of his sin. Lust, Spirit comes ‘he will convict the pride and arrogant self-confidence Scrap metal was broken up and world of guilt in regard to sin and have been exposed. He is broken placed in a furnace. The furnace righteousness and judgement’ and contrite before God. He is was heated until the metal melted (John 16: 7 – 8). King David had forgiven. He can make a fresh start and the impurities burned away. painful experience of such with God, but he will face constant The molten metal was then poured conviction of sin. He committed trouble in his own household because of his sin. praise, glory and honour when A politician of an earlier generation Jesus Christ is revealed.’ (1 Peter was described as ‘a self-made Isaiah also experienced a deep 1: 7) Peter is in good company man, very much in love with his conviction of sin when he saw a when he writes in this way. creator That is the summit of vision of the LORD seated on a human pride and ambition. Such throne, high and exalted. He heard Job went through some of the most ideas cannot survive in the the seraphs calling out, ‘Holy, holy, painful trials recorded in Scripture. presence of the high and lofty holy is the LORD Almighty; the He suffered the loss of family, One who says: ‘I live in a high and whole earth is full of his glory’ property and health. He struggled holy place, but also with him who is (Isaiah 6: 3). His immediate with his unhelpful comforters, but contrite and lowly in spirit’ (Isaiah reaction was to say, he developed the conviction that 57: 15) ‘Woe to me! I am ruined! For I am a ‘when he has tested me, I will man of unclean lips.’ A seraph flew come forth as gold.’ (Job 23: 10) Jesus prayed in the garden of to him with a live coal from the Gethsemane that the cup of altar, touched his lips and said, Isaiah expressed a similar thought: suffering might be taken from Him, ‘See, this has touched your lips; ‘See, I have refined you, though but He ended his prayer with ‘yet your guilt is taken away and your not as silver; I have tested you in not as I will, but as you will.’ sin atoned for.’ He had a broken the furnace of affliction. For my (Matthew 26: 39) He came to do and contrite spirit before a holy own sake, for my own sake, I do the will of the Father. God. He was not despised. He was this. How can I let myself be forgiven and then commissioned to defamed? I will not yield my Jesus taught us to pray ‘your will go and speak God’s words to the glory to another.’ (Isaiah 48: 10 – be done on earthas it is in heaven.’ people. 11) That includes ‘your will be done in my life.’ It includes ‘mould me and Why do we try to by-pass this stage Malachi continued the theme: ‘For shape me as you want me.’ of being broken before the Lord in he will be like a refiner’s fire . . . he ministry today? Have we reached a will purify the Levites and refine Is it possible that we have resisted higher level of holiness than those them like gold and silver.’ (Malachi the Holy Spirit (Acts 7: 51) as we who have gone before us? Has the 3: 2 – 3) have asserted our own control over Lord lowered his expectations of the life of the Church? Have we us? The Lord continues to take the resisted the Holy Spirit as He seeks saints through the refiner’s fire. The to lead us forward in obedience Is it possible that we have grieved Lord is determined to purify and and holiness? Do we need the Holy Spirit of God (Ephesians cleanse His people. He allows to pray ‘mould me’ and yield 4: 30 – 32) by our bitterness and many of His chosen people to pass ourselves again to the Father’s anger, by our lack of love and through the furnace of affliction. holy will? forgiveness, by our lust and greed? Some face persecution and Do we need to pray ‘break me’ and death. All face temptations and FILL ME allow the Holy Spirit to convict us trials. He is determined to bring and change us? forth the pure gold of holiness, Is it possible that we have grieved genuine faith and Christ-like the Holy Spirit, put out the Holy MELT ME character. Spirit’s fire, and resisted the Holy Spirit by our lack of holiness? Have We soon learn that fire is hot and Why do we avoid the refiner’s fire? we looked for the power of the that it is wise to step back and take Of course it is painful and we avoid Spirit in ministry and overlooked your hand out of the flames. We the pain. Why do we put up with the insistence of the Holy Spirit that instinctively step back from pain sin in our lives? Why do we settle holiness is essential if we are to and suffering. We also know that for a life that is not on fire with continue to serve? Is it possible some hardship cannot be avoided. passion for the Lord? Is it possible that we need to return to a radical that we have put out the Spirit’s fire holiness of life if we are to Peter wrote his epistles in the (1 Thessalonians 5: 19) as he experience the streams of living gathering storm of persecution. He seeks to move among us? Do we water that Jesus promised to those knows the present reality of trials, need to pray ‘melt me’ and who believe in Him? Do we need to but he also looks to their eternal allow the Holy Spirit to do radical, pray again: significance: ‘These have come so holiness-producing, surgery in our that your faith – of greater worth hearts and lives? Break me, melt me, mould me, fill me. than gold, which perishes even Spirit of the living God, fall afresh on though refined by fire – may be me. MOULD ME proved genuine and may result in Canon John Benson has recently retired after 20 years in the Diocese of Singapore. During these years he has served as Vicar of St George’s Church, Dean of Cambodia, Director of Training, and Vicar of Chapel of the Resurrection. He is married to Anita and they have two grown up daughters. This article first appeared in ReSource magazine. Click here for more articles.
Pages to are hidden for
"John Benson - The Refiner's Fire"Please download to view full document