Joining in again today with the Five Minute Friday writing fellowship, I’ve “free-written” not just once, but twice. Read on and you’ll see why…
So the free-write prompt word for this week on Five Minute Friday is “refine.”
I read it and sigh.
I don’t want to write about refine.
I don’t want to think about refine.
I don’t like the idea of refining, because it makes me think of metal and fire and searing intensity—just as the fiery illustration on a linked post to the host page emphasizes.
I’m not metal, and fire hurts. And it seems like I’ve had enough “refining” that if I’m not pretty well done by now, I’m never going to be, so what’s the good of all that pain?
This is way too cynical to put online.
But I do get tired, oh so tired.
Please Lord, help me get through all this refining process, and end up refined!
Stop! No, time’s not up, but I’m starting over. Scratch all that writing! (above).
I stop and ponder….
I look up the word’s definition, and I see an interesting repetition! Do you see it?
re fine vt 1 : to free… from impurities or unwanted material 2 : to free from moral imperfection : ELEVATE 3 : to improve or perfect by pruning or polishing … 5 : to free from what is vulgar or uncouth…
What’s repeated is the phrase “to free…”!
This has quite a different feel from being plunged into fire!
I have also looked up “refine” in my online concordance, in many different Bible translations, and what surprises me there is that I haven’t yet found any contexts where “refine,” “refined,” or “refining” by fire are actually talking about the growth and improvement of the earnest believer in Christ! (except possibly one, obliquely).
They talk about gold or silver or God’s stubborn, rebellious people who have to be corrected against their will, because they won’t bend to His, won’t make any effort to free themselves of their immoral practices, and follow His instructions and ways.
I may be missing something here in this quick survey, but what’s impressing me so far is how big a part the believer evidently has in the refining process—and by that I mean the improving, growing process, not necessarily always by fire.
Yes, God does prune us, correct us, and give us a share in Christ’s suffering, which is intended to have an improving effect on people like me and lead us into deeper fellowship with Him. But even that won’t make it happen if I don’t participate, cooperate, yield to the process. I can still balk and rebel.
God is clearly the doer of much of the spiritual “polishing.” But I make it more or less possible by how much I make myself available to Him, yield to His instruction as well as His working, and put aside the junk of my life that comes between me and Him.
Then I think of last weekend’s silent retreat [I attended] and what it taught me. And one thing I suddenly realize more clearly is The Refining Power of Silence.
I have no time left. I’ll have to write that in a separate post.
Maybe I’ll start right now in a third five-minute free write…