The Beauty of Choosing to be Refined

The Refiner’s Fire paints such a beautiful picture for us.

You might have heard the story before about the woman who goes to a silversmith to watch the process of refining silver.

The Refiner’s Fire

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.’ (Malachi 3:3) 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.’

I have heard this silver analogy many times. This story becomes more beautiful, more real for my life each time I read it. There are different versions of the story if you browse the web but the analogy remains the same.

God is refining us.

The Bible also uses the process of making silver as an example of what it is like for God to refine us. From this, we learn that he uses the heat of life to purify us into a pure picture of him.

Life Changing Phrases Printable

The struggles of life refine us to His image.

The challenges of life apply a cleansing heat to pride, bad attitude, and selfishness.

This holy heat is applied with purpose.

{Resource: Primal by Mark Batterson}

As I read this story of the silversmith, the story caused me to dig in and figure out what the Bible has to say about being refined like silver.

There are so many verses and phrases that, if we allow them, will purify us!

10 Life Changing Phrases that Purify with downloadable printable list and iPhone background!

During my study of the refining process, I ran into a verse in Jeremiah 6. While reading this verse, I realized that not all silver will be refined. Some silver contains metals that cannot be removed with fire. The silver will refuse to let go of impurity. When that happens, the silver is rejected by the refiner, unable to be purified. Jeremiah 6:29 says, “The bellows blow fiercely to burn away the lead with fire, but the refining goes on in vain; the wicked are not purged out.” Jeremiah was called to speak to the nation of Israel in a time when they were in complete disobedience to God. They were worshiping other gods, seeking help from ungodly nations and living life in an unholy manner.

They were refusing to be refined. They chose the dross over being made into the image of God to the world around them.

If you take the time to look at the verses in the Bible that deal with the refinement of silver, you will know that God seeks the refinement of our hearts. He wants to purify us from the inside out, making us into His image.

It is his desire to refine us. But it is our choice whether we want to be refined.

In other words, we can buy Christian parenting books, read Christian faith blogs, get advice from godly women, sit in church on Sunday, spend our Friday mornings in Bible study and still not want to be refined. We can still step out of the process and refuse to let go of the dross.

You see, daily, God is calling to us, giving us ways to grow, desiring to refine us in the fire of his love and yet we walk away. If we continue reading in Jeremiah chapter 7, we will read God’s command to His people. God says, “…but I gave them this command: Obey me, and I will be your God and you will be my people. Walk in all the ways I command you, that it may go well with you. But they did not listen or pay attention; instead, they followed the stubborn inclinations of their evil hearts. They went backward not forward.”

Think about that last statement.  To be a silver that cannot be refined you have to make a choice to live in disobedience to God. You have to say no to the refining process. You will walk backwards and choose not to take steps forwards toward Him. Even with His quiet whispers, even in the challenges of life, even in the hard work of marriage and motherhood, you can refuse to change, to grow and to be refined.

Since studying the silver process and the verses of scripture about the refining of silver, I can’t get the phrase, “…but the refining goes on in vain…” out of my head.

I underlined it in my bible and I’ve been praying daily “Lord, don’t let me refuse the refinement of your holy fire. I want to be more like you. Help me to be made into a silver that will reflect you. Please help these daily struggles to not be in vain. Help me to see them as opportunities for you to work in my life.”

I don’t want to walk away from the heat.

I don’t want to take myself out of the growth process.

I don’t want to hang on to dross and impurities and other gunk.

I want to choose the refining fire in my life. I want to allow him to write every single page of my story.

If that’s you, I’d love for you to join my mailing list for more resources and helpful posts as we walk this faith journey together! When you first sign up, you’ll receive “10 Days of Joy Journal” via email.

Even though it is hard, even though it is humbling and exhausting. Even though that cute husband and those cute kids often bring up the dross in my heart that God wants to refine. I choose it.

I choose growth. I choose to be refined. I choose obedience. I choose to let every situation of life guide me closer to the image of Christ.

Will you choose this with me?

For more on this topic, you can read a whole post about it here. Free printable at that link!



  1. Wonderful. Absolutely wonderful, God knows what He is doing by letting all these conditions take place in our lives. We just have to make a critical decision to trust Him and put faith in Him only and may we do so with all sincerity & steadfastness of heart. In Jesus Name. Amen 🙏🏾🤍😇

  2. I’m so glad to find and receive this passage, now I know whats happening in my life, I thought God had abandoned me now I know he’s purging me and making me whole. Thank you and thank God for this moment in time for this glorious time we share together.

    1. Thank you for this wonderful encouragement❤️
      I’ve seen myself on these
      Praise to Jesus🙌

  3. Thank you for sharing this. God is absolutely Amazing and Wonderful and I’m thankful He allowed me to come across this this morning. Glory be to God.

  4. I too was looking up refining silver this morning and stumbled into what HE planned to reveal at His precise moment in my life. Thank you for your prophetic pen. And thank you Lord for speaking.

  5. I love the story you have posted here about the refiner’s fire. I am writing a book about how I have used the trials in my life to bring me closer to God. I am calling it My Refiner’s Fire. I would like to use this story as my introduction, but want to make sure I get permission 1st. Can I use this story in my book? If you got it from another source, can you tell me how to contact them? I only want to use the story in italics.

    1. Hmmm… Thank you so much for this post. I know that I am currently in this stage of refining, but it has been difficult to stay in the refinement process

  6. I loved your thoughts, especially your story that I have heard before and was trying to find and came across your web page first. God does NOT give us the fire but allows it for His glory. It would be so easy to throw up our hands and walk away from our husbands, children and friends, when they do not meet up to our expectations. Believe me when I say I have been through the refiners fire, having been married for 61 years, now to a three times Vietnam Vet with PTSD, a son with PTSD, SAD, Schizophrenia and Bipolar from the “drug war” living with us, my eldest daughter in a nursing home having had a major stroke leaving her totally disabled, and five other children with serious refiners fires of their own that I won’t go into. The only thing that keeps me sane is the fact that I know even like Shadrack, Meshach and Abednego, Jesus has been the furnace of affliction with me. I have read the follow scripture numerous times not understanding how it is that He can deliver us, when we are in the midst of the heat, just wanting out of it all.

    1 Corinthians 10:13, “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.

    That help has come to me so many times I cannot count them, in the knowledge, not just the belief, that he is with me continually. Without that knowledge, and that i know how much the Lord loves me, because I have experienced His infinite “tangible” love, I would have given up a long time ago.

    That knowledge remains with me every time the furnace is heated up a little hotter than the time before. I can truthfully say it has been heated up seven times hotter than when I was first thrown in, having married my husband whom I vowed to remain with throughout eternity, in spite of problems . Along came seven children, thirty grandchildren and twenty two great grandchildren. Yes I have been in the furnace of affliction and being refined as silver.

    But the good news is even though the fire still burns hot, and nothing much has changed around me, I am a changed person and I know the Lord knew exactly what He was doing by allowing me the trials in life I have faced. And He knew exactly when to deliver me out of them. and I am delivered. knowing and accepting that it has all been for my good that I would be able, by His good grace, take upon me His image. All I had to do was admit my weakness and ask for His strength, all of which is connected to Charity the Pure Love of Christ. I grew a step at a time, toward the light of His love.

    i finally learned to endure, believe in, have faith in, trust in, hope in, and obey the Lord well enough that I have “entered into His rest”, knowing that He is not only in control of my life but that of my family and friends. I am able to just let them be who they desire to be, even if it is not to my liking. I can love them with a pure love like the Lord loves me and know that He can and will deliver them also., even as He has me, when the time is right. We all have different timelines as well as paths to follow.

    Perhaps tomorrow I will meet up with another test of my resolve to love like Christ, but that is ok. I am not afraid for myself or others any longer, because i know God is in control and all things are possible to them that believe Him. We never know what He has in store for us, but we can be sure, “He uses the bad for His purposes”.

    1. Charlene,
      Your story and faith are encouraging, God bless You. God’s mercys are new each morning.

    2. Wow, what an amazing experience and testimony! Im drawing strength as I read this. Thank you for sharing your story with us❤️. Thelma from South Africa

    3. Thank you so much for sharing your testimony. I am humbled and a little ashamed at my complaining to God about my marriage and my family. You, because of your personal experience, are able to glorify God for ALL he has allowed and for the way he is working. I can expect victory in all of my afflictions. I don’t have to buy into the “overwhelmed” complex for when I am weak he is strong. I have a lot going on that I don’t fully understand but I also have been blessed above measure. Thank you again for sharing.

  7. What a great illustration encouraging us not to make waste of our suffering.
    Even when the pain comes from the world or circumstances beyond our control, the suffering can still be used to refine us, make us beautiful, and glorify God…if we let it.
    Thank you for your words!

    1. “we can buy Christian parenting books, read Christian faith blogs, get advice from godly women, sit in church on Sunday, spend our Friday mornings in Bible study and still not want to be refined. We can still step out of the process and refuse to let go of the dross.” This was so eye opening for me. Thank you for allowing the Lord to use you so ably.

  8. Wow…I’m not sure how long ago this post was written…I stumbled across your website while googling “refining silver” this morning (long story😉). I will just say that God is so good to provide exactly the words (and the Word!) we need when we need them….as I meandered through several of your posts, I was delightfully reminded that He is not limited by time and space. So while your words were penned on another day on another continent, they were oh-so-timely for this Midwest soul this day. Blessings to you and your family and to those you live among and love!

    1. I’m so glad you found the blog today and that it could be a blessing! I did write this awhile ago… but that’s the beauty of God’s Word, isn’t it? It is always on time, relevant and ready for us to learn. Thanks for saying hello. This midwest girl loved hearing from you! Blessings!

    2. Me! Today! – Wow… I did the very same things – googled refining silver… and came across this blog post… perfectly timed for me for today.

    3. I stumbled across this site too when I looked up how does God refine us.

  9. I find this hard to grasp and come to terms with.
    I understand hardships do come often in believers’ lives.. But refining needs to be defined clearly.
    Did Jesus not go through the fire so we don’t have to?
    Is our job not to stand in Christ holy and complete.. The bigger work being believing..?

    My concern is from a place where suffering people are often told to endure the suffering as it is from God.
    Hê is making you holy they are told.
    What kind of suffering is then godly and which is self or worldly inflicted?

    Am I misunderstanding this?

    1. You are asking some very good questions. First, I agree that refining can be hard to grasp. There is a point where we are not going to fully understand suffering on earth. Jesus did come to earth, die and rise again so that we could have eternal life with him. But, it is clearly shown through God’s word that we will experience trouble, heartache, pain and suffering on this earth. Jesus promises that He will be with us through it all. He also promises that He will use it all for the good of those who love Him. That takes trust in his love and his plan for our lives. That he can use all – the good and the bad – to make us more like him, to give us a testimony, to show his glory. Situations that come our way, regardless of how, we are promised that God sees, knows and has a plan. I don’t believe we just “endure” suffering. But we rejoice, seek him, pray, and allow God to work through suffering. Be sure to check out Isaiah 43:1-3 and I Peter 4:12-19

    2. Dieter, I just experienced a stillbirth and it naturally brought up questions of suffering. God prepared me ahead by having me in the book of Job, the first book of the Bible I ever read at 28, and my favorite book of the Bible. The Bible is a great comfort. I also suggest the book A Grace Disguised the authors last name is Stiltser or something that starts with an “s.” The author encounters unimaginable loss. Just like at the end of Job, God doesn’t completely answer the question of suffering you somehow leave satisfied. This author doesn’t pretend to answer the questions of suffering either but at the end you understand it a little better and leave the book satisfied. I think christians while, meaning well, don’t fully understand the theology of the statements they try to use to comfort those in pain. Perhaps silence and just being present can say more than words in many situations. I would love to hold my baby, she passed away at 40 weeks. It’s very hard and we will miss her every day on this Earth. I can’t say I agree that God did this to refine me. However, I would say God has USED this to refine me. I would love to have my baby with me, I can not. I don’t understand it. Since I can not have her here I am grateful that I am allowing the pain of her death to be used by God to refine me. Afterall not everyone comes out more “pure” after suffering. And to tell someone God “caused” your suffering seems presumptions to me. Satan causes Jobs suffering we are told. Certainly God “allowed” it we are also told. And we know suffering is also a result of the fall. That alone gives us two possibilities which would render me, if not most, finite humans from being so certain God “caused” the suffering. I think this saying should be withheld along with the one also thrown around “God only gives you what you can handle”

  10. And wow. That spoke so so deeply to me. Thank you for writing it. And thank you for your obedience to stay in His fire. ❤️ Many many blessings to you all.

    1. I’m so glad that it spoke to you… choosing to remain in the fire is hard but God’s hand guides every step. Thankful that He walks us through the process!

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