"I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined by fire" (Rev. 3:18a).
There is a refiner's fire for the Master's use. This authentic fire deals with the heart. It brings awareness of where the heart really is. I saw this in the Pensacola outpouring in the 1990s. Many did not understand this fire because it came with many unusual physical manifestations. Critics of that revival got bound up in their thinking focusing on the manifestations instead of what was happening in the hearts of the people.
"In order that the genuineness of your faith, which is more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tried by fire, may be found to result in praise, glory, and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ" (1 Pet. 1:7).
Pure gold is soft and bendable—that is what the refiner's fire does; it makes the heart like that. Pure gold shines the brightest and reflects the light of God, and the light of His kingdom. Believers whose faith has been tried by fire make the most powerful witnesses on the earth.
When the Spirit of God is not allowed to move this way in our churches and in personal lives there is no refiner's fire that turns hearts to pure gold. The Word and the Spirit together causes this great preparation in every heart. For it is the Word that brings the instruction, correction and reproof, but it is the Spirit that deals with our hearts and eventually makes everything new, fresh, and alive again. Baptisms of fire burn away the chaff, until only the wheat remains. The sin, the mental strongholds, the traditions of men, and the lusts of the flesh and impurities of the heart are burned away in the refiner's fire.
The refiner's fire brings out the pure gold. It removes your blind spots and causes you to see. It always results in a purity, and it is the pure in heart that see (Matt 5:8).
Here's a personal word from the Spirit that moved in our hearts. "Look at the age of men you've admired. Look at their natural age and when they began to have a great impact. According to their degree of yielded-ness and holiness is how I used them. Flaws were often overlooked because of their greatness in the anointing. That is why you must go to the refiner's fire and be purified from character flaws that could eventually hurt you and others, for there are some things in your flesh that will still cause some to stumble. Greater shall be the impact from things that fall off in the refiner's fire. Fleshly strongholds caused many to die an early death. Lack of refiner's fire."
It is dangerous for ministers to have a strong anointing on their lives and not be in the refiner's fire. Remember that God's gifts and callings are irrevocable. He will not take away the anointing and the calling on your life (Rom 11:29). If someone with a strong calling and anointing on their life is not yielding to the Holy Spirit in the refiner's fire or praying to be more like Christ, his fleshly flaws could send him to an early grave, or cause him to lose his reward.
The lordship of the soul is taken away in the refiner's fire. There is a surrender and a submission to God. In the Old Covenant this was done through discipline and hardship and frustration experienced in the flesh. Moses and the children of Israel wandered in the wilderness for 40 years as a means of being refined through leanness of flesh in order that their souls could be brought low so they could obey God. The blood of Jesus Christ had not yet been shed, and the Spirit had not yet come and quickened them, so God had to deal with them according to the deadness of their spirit.
In the New Covenant, this work is done through the exaltation of the spirit of man, where the seed of the nature of God matures until it takes over the soul and the ascendancy of the weakness of the flesh in a man. God will not work this in a man without his consent. If man will not yield to the Comforter and the refiner's fire, the work will not be done in them. And if they will not yield, but yet continue to pray to be conformed into the image of Christ, then God will have no choice but to send hardship and frustration in the flesh to accomplish the goal of submission as He did in the Old Covenant.
Think about it. Even the original apostles of the Lamb were trained according to the deadness of their spirit. None of them were born again yet, so Jesus had to deal with them differently. He taught them directly and trained their soul first. It wasn't until the Spirit had been imparted to them that they were trained in spirit by the Holy Spirit, and could understand some things.
"I have yet many things to tell you, but you cannot bear them now. But when the Spirit of truth comes, He will guide you into all truth" (John 16:12-13a).
Frustration and leanness of the flesh as well as powerlessness in ministry will often bring men to a low place where they are willing to surrender and go to the backside of the desert. Paul was an example of that in the New Covenant. Even with the Holy Spirit helping him, Paul came to a place where he was willing to surrender the reigns of his soul and intellect and be trained on the backside of the desert. There he received great revelation of the New Covenant post-resurrection realities and the mysteries of God. He went to the refiner's fire and qualified himself for greater use to the Master who had called him.
This is a life-saving, ministry-saving word so that the body of Christ, led by the Ephesians 4:11 ministry gifts, can mature to fullness of stature and bring the life and power of God to a lost and dying world.
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