May we all strive for a clearer reflection!

Author unknown.

There was a group of women in a Bible study on the book of Malachi. As they were studying chapter three, they came across verse three which says: "He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver."

This verse puzzled the women and they wondered what this statement meant about the character and nature of God. One of the women offered to find out about the process of refining silver and get back to the group at their next Bible study.

That week this woman called up a silversmith and made an appoint­ment to watch him at work. She didn't mention anything about the reason for her interest in silver 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 so 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 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 even 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."

This story is especially meaningful to those of us who may be in the hottest part of the flame right now. To know that God has his eyes fixed on those he is refining and cannot be distracted is most comforting! Nothing that happens in your life goes unnoticed by the Father—most comforting. He is aware of all and guess what? He's on your side!

The fruits of the Spirit are love, joy, peace, longs uffering, gen!leness, goodness, meekness, temperance and faithfulness. We are told that the mark of a true Christian does not lie in his works, but that we will know them by their fruit! Here we must also remember that this is His fruit, not ours. It is the fruit of the Spirit—that word is capitalized in the Bible. It is His Spirit through us to others. What an awesome responsibility that is!

Whenever I find myself in the "hottest flame," I just instinctively look at the "fruit" list. "What fruit is my Lord trying to bring forth in me now?" Every day He presents to me situations that require me to be gentle, kind, patient, etc. I've gotten to where I look for them nos,. and rejoice when they come! I'm sure we've all at some time or another asked the question, "Why do bad things happen to good people?" or more specifically, "God's people?" I don't ask anymore. I just know. How else can He perfect in us the fruit of the Spirit unless obstacles are presented?

Sometimes it's in small ways, but very powerful; sometimes in much deeper ways, painful even. It's during these times I hope you will remember one thing from this devotional today.

"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."

May we all strive for a clearer reflection!