Character in the Crucible

09 Feb

“These are the times that try men’s souls.” Thomas Paine penned those words on December 23, 1776 during the height of the Revolutionary War. The same words could be spoken of any trial or crisis.

A crucible is a container used in a laboratory process. It is made up of material designed to withstand very high temperatures which will melt or alter the contents within the container. The Scriptures indicate that God often uses the crucible of trials to shape and develop our character.

Job 23:10 – “But he knows the way that I take; when he has tried me, I shall come out as gold.”

Romans 5:3–4 – “Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope.”

James 1:2–4 – “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”

As the process of refining gold in a crucible or firing pottery in a kiln illustrates, the heat can refine, purify, reveal, or crack the item being tested. Gold is refined in the fire. The process purifies the gold as the dross comes to the top and is removed. The beauty of pottery is often revealed in the fire of the kiln. The pattern and color comes to light as the fire intensifies. On the other hand, some vases or jars may crumble as a hidden crack or flaw is revealed.

The same thing can happen in our lives through time spent in the crucible. Our character can be refined as God uses a trial to purify us. Our abilities can be revealed as we discover hidden qualities about ourselves. The pressure of the trial can harden and confirm our convictions. But we can also crumble if we bail out too soon or don’t submit and stay quiet during the process.

When trials come, when the crucible heats up, we need to trust that God has the end is mind. He wants to produce golden, refined character in our lives. We must submit to the process and let him work, no matter how hot the crucible becomes.

God reminded me of these principles after a recent visit to the crucible.

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Posted by on February 9, 2012 in Bible Study, Character, Quotes, Scripture


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