by Chi Onwuchekwa

"The bellows blow fiercely, the lead is consumed by the fire, the smelter refines in vain for the wicked are not drawn off"

Jeremiah 6:29

Welcome to the first of this year's edition of the Awakening Call. In this edition, I share a word on the tragedy of a futile attempt by God to purge us of impurities.

An easier understanding of the opening verse is found in Jeremiah 2:30. It states:

"In vain I have chastened your children;
They received no correction."

From scriptures, we see God compare His efforts at purging and refining us to the process of purging and refining metal of its impurities. His intentions are similar to those of the goldsmith to purge the metal of its impurities so that it's true worth and value is brought out.

Malachi 3:3 states:

"He {the LORD} will sit as a refiner and a purifier of silver;
He will purify the sons of Levi,
And purge them as gold and silver,
That they may offer to the Lord
An offering in righteousness."

What is there to purge in us? A lot. Of fallen man, Genesis 6:5 states:

"Then the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually"

Apostle Paul admonishes the new believers at Ephesus to:

" put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts" Ephesians 4:22

He mentions some of the corruption as lying (v.25), stealing (v.28), bitterness, anger, evil speaking and malice (v.31), fornication, uncleanness, covetousness (5v.2).

Also in the fifth chapter of his letter to the Galatians, he mentions the following adultery, lasciviousness (v.19), idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, wrath, strife, seditions (v.20), envying, murders, drunkenness (v.21), godless charter (2 Timothy 2:16).

And so every once and again, God allows us to enter a season of tests and trials (sometimes called the wilderness) with the purpose of purging us of self-centred and carnal desires, to help us to deny self and endure the pain of staying true to Him and His will. Moses explains the purpose of the wilderness in Deuteronomy 8:2-6; 12-16:

" the Lord your God led you all the way in the wilderness, to humble you and test you, to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep His commandments or not. You should know in your heart that as a man chastens his son, so the Lord your God chastens you."

It is terrible though when we pass through the fire yet come out unpurified and a people we know God has called us not to be. Sometimes we face such fierce trouble or trials that we make vows to God that if He would bring us out of our distress, if He would deliver us out of our troubles we would walk holy, we would not be covetous, we would commit to the word and to prayer, we would be just and fair, we would stop lying, stop stealing and stop committing adultery or fornication. We make promises that if He would deliver us from our troubles and distresses we would walk upright and blameless before Him in all or certain areas of our lives.

The truth is that some of the challenges we face are meant to destroy in us the desire to do those things that we did that led to the troubles we are in. For example, say a person manipulates an invoice and events take a turn where he is likely to be found cheating and possibly lose his job. He cries to God for forgiveness and help not to be found out. God answers and he is delivered. Soon after, he succumbs to the same desire as before - desires that ought to have been purged out of him by the distress he faced at the possibility of being found out.

In this instance, the fire did come to purge him of his unrighteous desire, but the refining process was in vain as he still retains in him something that ought to have been purged out of him. Truly, the smelter has refined in vain.

We must allow our trials bring us to a place where we let go of thought patterns, values and habits we continue to practise even though we know that they do not represent God's will.

When we refuse to allow the fire to purge us of the filth and the dross, we retain the corruption of the old man and are left impure, of little of no worth and unusable by God for anything exceptional.

Continuous refining and purging is the only way to retain our worth and purpose in God. After all, all that God seeks to remove from us are only those things that devalue our worth in Him.

We need to be watchful and discerning during difficult times. Often, our tendency to focus on the enemy rather than self leaves us oblivious of God's purpose in permitting the trials we face.

May the Lord Himself comfort us and help us to yield to the refining process so that we come out of the fire vessels of honour, sanctified and useful for the Master, prepared for every good work in Jesus' precious name.


Chi Onwuchekwa

I am a Christian, a Lawyer, an Enterprenuer and I pastor a church in the United Kingdom.

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