Thursday, January 6, 2011

Know My Heart

"Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life." (Psalm 139:23-24 NLT)

A few weeks ago I was praying this part of Psalm 139, and realized that when you ask God to reveal things about your heart, He will. He will refine you, purify you, point out things in you that offend Him. He will change you from the inside out because He loves you.

I often ask the LORD to mold me to be more like Him, to break my heart for what breaks His, and then when He starts to, I am kicking and screaming “the fire’s too hot, the pain is too deep!” It reminded me of an email I received years ago (you may have all read it before), but thought I’d share. It talks about what God starts doing when He reveals in you the things that offend Him-He sanctifies, purifies, and refines.

"He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver . . ." (Malachi 3:3)

This verse puzzled some women in a Bible study and they wondered what this statement meant about the character and nature of God. One of the women offered to find out the process of refining silver and get back to the group at their next Bible Study. That week, the woman called a silversmith and made an appointment to watch him at work. She didn't mention anything about the reason for her interest beyond her curiosity about the process of refining silver.

As she watched the silversmith, he held a piece of silver over the fire and let it heat up. He explained that in refining silver, one needed to hold the silver in the middle of the fire where the flames were hottest as to burn away all the impurities. The woman thought about God holding us in such a hot spot then she thought again about the verse that says: "He sits as a refiner and purifier of silver."

She asked the silversmith if it was true that he had to sit there in front of the fire the whole time the silver was being refined. The man answered that yes, he not only had to sit there holding the silver, but he had to keep his eyes on the silver the entire time it was in the fire. If the silver was left a moment too long in the flames, it would be destroyed.

The woman was silent for a moment. Then she asked the silversmith, "How do you know when the silver is fully refined?" He smiled at her and answered, "Oh, that's easy - when I see my image in it."

What an encouragement to know that our Lord burns away our impurities, watches every second as we are transformed to look more and more like Him! Take comfort in knowing that these hard times, refnining and purifying times, are meant to purge those offensive things and make you to look more like Jesus. Thankful we have a gracious Refiner, who is in control, and will purify me to lead me to everlasting life.

Search me, oh God, and know my heart . . .

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