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‘…He will purify…and refine them like gold…’ Malachi 3:3 NIV

When gold is refined over extreme heat the first thing to come to the surface is dross. The next thing to be separated from it is silver, a less precious metal that blends with the raw gold ore. There’s an important lesson here. Most of us are unable to separate the good from the best, so Malachi writes, ‘He will purify…and refine them like gold’. God does it, because we don’t know how! After committing adultery with Bathsheba, David writes, ‘Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.’ (Psalm 51:10 NKJV) David prays for two things: a clean heart and a steadfast desire to walk in purity. Personal failure is usually the result of a slow, steady build-up, rather than a single act of disobedience. It happens when we focus on the wrong things and neglect our spiritual life. So God calls us to the place of solitude, a place with no distractions, in order to probe our deepest thoughts and open our eyes to certain issues that need attention. It is here He makes us aware of what we excuse, or try to hide from others. It’s here the junk we’ve collected during the busy hours of our day gets filtered out. With the debris out of the way, we’re able to see things more clearly and respond to God’s nudgings. There’s no way to have a deeper, more intimate relationship with God without the discipline James talks about: ‘Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands…and purify your hearts…’ (James 4:8 NKJV)

SoulFood: Ezek 37:1-14, Matt 27:50-53, 1 Thess 4:13-18

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