Refiners Fire

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Malachi 3:1-4

See, I am sending my messenger to prepare the way before me, and the Lord whom you seek will suddenly come to his temple. The messenger of the covenant in whom you delight — indeed, he is coming, says the LORD of hosts. But who can endure the day of his coming, and who can stand when he appears?

For he is like a refiner’s fire and like fullers’ soap; he will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver, and he will purify the descendants of Levi and refine them like gold and silver, until they present offerings to the LORD in righteousness. Then the offering of Judah and Jerusalem will be pleasing to the LORD as in the days of old and as in former years.


Take a moment to ponder the image of refining. Where in your life does the image take root? For me, it’s in the process of cooking. Straining the homemade chicken stock to remove the impurities; reducing a sauce to concentrate the flavors; practicing a dish again and again to achieve perfection.

I confess I don’t think about the process of refinement within myself enough. Ridding myself speck by speck of the impurities within. As we wait for the coming of Christ- in the form of both a humble baby and in the Savior of the world- we have the opportunity for refinement.

And as we know, refinement doesn’t happen on its own. It happens through intentionality,  through practices and disciplines, and most importantly, through the work of Christ in us. For this is not a process that we can undertake on our own.

Jo Owens

Prayer

Emmanuel,
God-with-us,
purify our hearts like silver,
discard the impurities that cloud us,
open us to your new possibilities,
and guide us each day.
Amen.

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