The Path of Life: “Melted”

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Worship: Change


I was told a story by my college music theory teacher. A huge symphony orchestra was recording a huge symphony, probably by a late Romantic composer. During a particularly loud part of the music, the two bassoon players who had rests at the moment, were having a conversation. They forgot that there was a sudden “grand pause” in the music and suddenly it was deadly quiet. In the moment of silence, one said to the other, “I fry mine in butter.” Recording ruined; bassoonists everywhere disgraced.

Some things gain their usefulness only when melted. Butter is one of those delicious things. Our baked potatoes, toast, hot biscuits and rolls could testify to this if they stayed around long enough.

The Refiner’s Fire
In a way, the Christ-follower who has been melted by the Refiner’s Fire of the Holy Spirit is the one who is useful to the Master. The Lord is the only One who can change hearts. We can cajole, nag, manipulate, plead, and abuse those whose hearts need changing and nothing works. We can change their behavior with rules, regulations, penalties and cruel and unusual punishment but these things harden rebellious hearts instead of melting them.

Melting requires heat. Life is full of heat: time pressure, performance pressure, unbroken self-destructive habits, financial demands, relationships, unspoken expectations. It is a heat we feel every day and it keeps us awake at night. In a character sense, this pressure hardens us in a good way—giving us inner strength and the confidence of experience.

The Refiner’s Fire spoken of in the Bible is a different kind of heat. It isn’t based in circumstances or personalities or even our own shortcomings and commanding dreams. This fire is the fire of the Spirit of God applied to our human spirit. This part of us is deeper than personality, or ambition, or patterns of behavior. It is the source of those things. Let’s call it the heart of us, the place were the spirit abides within us.

The original language used in this passage refers to the refining of precious metal by the application of heat. The gold or silver melts quickly so the hard and worthless material bonded to it can fall away.

Do we see that we are precious to the Lord?
We are to Him gold and silver, worthy of careful refinement. He controls the heat and will never harm us. When the fires of the Spirit are burning in our spirit, we can rest, knowing that we will better for it, cleaner because of it, more fit for the Master’s use, tried in the fire.

When the heart of someone we love seems impervious to logic, unaffected by reason, unyielding to the appeals of what is right and what is wrong, there is only one way that heart can change.

Only the fires of the Spirit can melt a heart as frozen as this.

The plan of action is this: prayer. And when we are done praying, pray some more. There is a marvelous promise in the closing lines of the Old Testament: The Lord will turn the hearts of parents and their children to each other. If your child is the one with the frozen heart, claim this promise in prayer every day.

The Lord is the only One who can change hearts.

Psalm 17:1-3
Hear my plea of innocence, O Lord; give heed to my cry; listen to my prayer, which does not come from lying lips. Let my vindication come forth from your presence; let your eyes be fixed on justice. Weigh my heart, summon me by night, melt me down; you will find no impurity in me.

Malachi 3:1-4 NIV
“See, I will send my messenger, who will prepare the way before me. Then suddenly the Lord you are seeking will come to his temple; the messenger of the covenant, whom you desire, will come,” says the Lord Almighty. But who can endure the day of his coming? Who can stand when he appears? For he will be like a refiner’s fire or a launderer’s soap. He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver; he will purify the Levites and refine them like gold and silver. Then the Lord will have men who will bring offerings in righteousness, and the offerings of Judah and Jerusalem will be acceptable to the Lord , as in days gone by, as in former years.

Malachi 4:5-6 NIV
“See, I will send you the prophet Elijah before that great and dreadful day of the Lord comes. He will turn the hearts of the fathers to their children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers; or else I will come and strike the land with a curse.”

2 Timothy 2:20-22 NKJV
But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay, some for honor and some for dishonor. Therefore if anyone cleanses himself from the latter, he will be a vessel for honor, sanctified and useful for the Master, prepared for every good work.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-22 NIV
Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. Do not put out the Spirit’s fire; do not treat prophecies with contempt. Test everything. Hold on to the good. Avoid every kind of evil.

Hebrews 12:28-29 NIV
Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, for our “God is a consuming fire.”

Song of the Refiner’s Fire
Spirit of the Living God
Composer: Daniel Iverson

Spirit of the Living God, fall fresh on me.
Spirit of the Living God, fall fresh on me.
Melt me. Mold me. Fill me. Use me.
Spirit of the Living God, fall fresh on me.

Semper Reformanda!
Stephen Phifer

© 2016 Stephen R. Phifer All Rights Reserved

The Path of Life: "Melted"

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