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February 10, 2014

The Furnace of Affliction

I have tested you in the furnace of affliction.”

Isaiah 48:10 (NIV)

Have you ever been in the furnace of affliction? Maybe you’re there now as you read this. It’s painful and often confusing. We wonder what God is doing at first and why. It seems so unfair. But, if you embrace the process instead of resisting it, you’ll discover that God is doing a great thing in your life. God loves us just as we are, but He loves us far too much to leave us that way. His goal is to conform us to the image of His dear Son, the Lord Jesus. The problem is we rarely change when we see the light, but we often change when we feel the heat.  How hot and how long you are in the furnace is really up to you. Just as precious metal is refined to remove impurities, God’s design in the furnace of affliction is to remove the impurities in our life that are not Christ-like. The refiner knows when the process is complete when he can see his reflection in the molten metal clearly. All the slag, the wasted material from smelting the metal, is removed and the metal is pure. Peter understood the furnace of affliction personally. He wrote about it later in his letter of 1 Peter when he was encouraging Christ followers who were also experiencing the furnace of suffering in their lives. He told them, These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold—though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world.” (1 Peter 1:7 NLT) James must have also experienced the same in his life. In James 1:2-4 he said, When all kinds of trials and temptations crowd into your lives my brothers, don’t resent them as intruders, but welcome them as friends! Realize that they come to test your faith and to produce in you the quality of endurance. But let the process go on until that endurance is fully developed, and you will find you have become men of mature character with the right sort of independence.” (Phillips NT) Be encouraged child of God. He is doing a deeper work in you that He may accomplish a greater work through you for His glory.