My Journey into the Refiner's Fire
It’s been a while since I’ve written a blog. There are a couple reasons for that: #1 - I’ve been working on a curriculum with a friend, so even though I’ve been doing a lot of writing recently, it’s for another project. #2 - I started doing some videos on the basics of prayer during this season of quarantine. I felt the Lord ask me to begin those a few weeks back, and so that became another “blog” outlet.
However, this morning I awoke with the feeling that it was time to write a blog today about a recent God-experience. A few days ago, I had an encounter that forever changed me. Let me explain.
A couple weeks ago, I posted on Facebook how there were certain lyrics I don’t sing unless I can sing them with complete sincerity. One of them came from a Maverick City Music song about wanting to be “tried by fire.” I was singing this song during a set at KHOP about a month ago and actually stopped when I got to that line.
Frankly, I didn’t want to be tried by fire. Yes to being purified, in some cosmic, esoteric, not tangible way where I can sing songs to Jesus, feel closer to Him, feel better about myself, and then continue on my way. But willingly put myself into the fire for Him?
I think part of it stems from my real life experience with tragedy, death, betrayal, financial lack, severe disappointment, public humbling…. Why ask to be tried by fire when I’ve had my share of hardship and still feel a bit singed in certain areas of my heart? Why cry out for more refining when He’s going to refine me in His time anyway, as my life has proven?
So, I wouldn’t sing that phrase. Keepin’ it real between me and God - I just would not sing, “I wanna be tried by fire.” I literally stopped the song half way through and put it aside.
And then the Lord met me this past Tuesday evening at KHOP in a powerful way. I felt His palpable holiness like I had not experienced in a while. In my mind’s eye, I saw Him walk into the room. The feeling of His holiness was so overpowering,
I remember sitting there at the keyboard, this revelation hitting my spirit like a sunrise: that choosing to walk into the fire is an expression of love unto the Lord. It’s declaring that His love is worth it. That He is worth my heart being cleansed and purified and therefore growing in its capacity to love Him. That beholding His face is 100% worth having a pure heart, no matter the cost. He is worth everything.
Here’s another way of looking at it: Purification is not about me. I always thought it was. It’s not about God making me “holy enough” so He can stand to be around me. Jesus’ blood has already redeemed me and cleansed me of my sin. He already LOVES to be with me. Purification is about all the little foxes that can ruin the vineyard of our souls (Song of Songs 2:15). It’s the refiner’s fire and the launderer’s soap (Malachi 3, Hebrews 12, Zechariah 13, etc.). Purification is about Him. My “yes” to the fire is my gift to Him. And it’s His gift to me.
In my mind I had separated His love from His fire. I saw them as two separate entities. What the Lord was showing me is that His love is fire. And His fire is love. It’s like trying to decide if God if more love than holy? Or is He more holy than love? The truth is, He is love and holy. He is holy and love.
Later that evening at home, when I was alone, the Lord met with me. He opened my eyes and I beheld His nail-pierced feet on the cross. I pause, even as I type these words, allowing that holy moment to wash over me again. When I saw His feet, I groaned. Or yelled. It was completely involuntary. So, I’m not really sure how to describe it. It’s like my soul could not handle the beauty and weight of what I was glimpsing. His feet were holy. And like Isaiah, I was overcome by what I saw.
This verse went through my spirit, “How beautiful…are the feet of those who bring good news” (Is. 52:7a). I had never connected that verse to Jesus. I always thought about it in relation to us - that we are the ones with beautiful feet when we share the gospel. And it’s true the verse does have to do with feet that proclaim peace, good tidings, and salvation.
But in this moment, the Father was also showing me that Jesus, the One who both is the good news and preached the good news, that His wounded feet were beautiful. Jesus, the spotless Lamb, became obedient unto death on a cross. It was His gift to His Father and it was His gift to me. And to you.
I am undone. Not sure how else to put it. I am undone.
It’s time to sing.
Refiner by Chandler Moore
(Maverick City Music)
If the altar's where you meet us
Take me there, take me there
What you need is just an offering
It's right here, my life is here
And I'll be a living sacrifice for you
You're a fire
I wanna be consumed
I wanna be tried by fire
You take whatever you desire
Lord here's my life
If Your glory wants to come in
Let it fall, we want it all
Your fire is consuming
Fill this place, set it ablaze
So clean my hands
Purify my heart
I wanna burn for You