Today’s reading: Jeremiah 5-7, 2 Corinthians 10
In 1997, I joined Caterpillar as a cost accountant at the transmission factory. I knew absolutely nothing about manufacturing heavy equipment, but was eager to learn. So like I would do with any new job, I began by familiarizing myself with the organization structure starting with the operations teams – Assembly, Case & Cover, Ring Gears, Bevel Gears, Miscellaneous Gears and Heat Treat. Heat treat? What in the world was that? (I remember secretly thinking to myself.) It didn’t take me long to learn that heat treat was the process of heating and cooling the iron. This scientific (and very expensive process) greatly increased the strength of gears, thereby increasing the overall quality and reliability of the drivetrain.
God, the author and perfecter of human life, uses similar methods to increase our faith and improve the quality of our lives if we choose to put our faith in him. When a precious metal is refined by fire, impurities are burned away. In our lives, God uses trials and suffering to purify our hearts. Ultimately, this results in us becoming more like Christ.
The genuineness of your faith, more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ (1 Peter 1:7).
Jeremiah 6, our scripture for today, talks about God’s attempts to refine the hearts of his people in the Old Testament. Despite the prophet Jeremiah’s repeated attempts, however, they refused to turn from their sinful ways and submit to God.
“I have made you a tester of metals and my people the ore, that you may observe and test their ways. They are all hardened rebels, going about to slander. They are bronze and iron; they all act corruptly. The bellows blow fiercely to burn away the lead with fire, but the refining goes on in vain; the wicked are not purged out. They are called rejected silver, because the Lord has rejected them” (Jeremiah 6:27-30).
Unfortunately we know those who turn away from God and instead choose a life of sin are eternally doomed. Our job as Christfollowers is to share with them the good news of God’s saving grace.
If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved (Romans 10:9).