Through the Fire. Pure as Gold.

“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; he will purify the sons of Levi, and refine them like gold and silver, and they will present to the Lord offerings in righteousness. Then the offering of Judah and Jerusalem will be pleasant to the Lord as in the days of old and as in former years.” Malachi 3:2-4

As I reflect on that scripture, I wonder if we are blind to our need to be refined?

Merriam Webster defines refined as “being free from impurities.” The dictionary further describes it as the result of impurities or unwanted elements having been removed by processing. Wow, that’s quite deep!

In order to embrace all that God has for us, that processing starts in our hearts. Proverbs 4:23 says, “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” Our heart is the center of our being. It is the core. The heart is the nesting place for the mind, will, and emotions. Thus, it is imperative we guard our hearts.

Failure to guard our hearts desensitizes us to God’s influence and exposes us to the pull and pressures of the enemy.

Actively guarding our hearts means we are using wisdom concerning what we see, hear, say, and do. It also means carefully choosing the people we associate with. When we actively guard our hearts in this manner, it adds strength and stability to our spiritual lives and keeps God’s favor on our efforts. (See Fire Bible, Modern English Version, Commentary, page 827.)

When I think of being refined and the importance of guarding our hearts, I realize there are times we fall short. When we don’t guard our hearts, sin creeps in. And where there is sin there is always a need to ask for forgiveness.  In King David’s adulterous and murderous shame, he cried out to God with a repentant heart, “Create in me a clean heart O God and renew a right spirit within me!” (Psalms 51:10).

As God’s children, we continually need His holy spirit to purify our hearts. We continually need the posture of King David, to cry out in humility and openness for God’s refreshing spirit to cleanse and renew us daily.

Becoming the Exceptional Women God is calling us to be is not about fads and fashion. It’s not about fake facades or perfection or the perception that we don’t have fears or failures. It’s about experiencing life change by encountering a real God. It’s about allowing His transformative power to recreate us from the inside out so that we may reflect his true righteousness.

So, I ask you, how do you actively guard your heart and encourage your family and friends to do the same?