“Take away the dross from the silver, and there shall come forth a vessel for the finer.”
The process of purifying ore gives us some very practical insight and encouragement regarding our own growth and potential. In its original state, the silver is not capable of being molded and used as a fit vessel. In order for the silver to be suitable for the refiner, the dross or impurities must first be removed. Once the silver is purged of the dross, it is prepared to fulfill its purpose, and the capable hands of the silversmith can shape it into the vessel of his choosing.
The same is true for each of us. As God’s children, we have tremendous potential for His use. Our potential cannot be measured by our natural talents or abilities alone, but by our usefulness in His hands. He wants to make us vessels that can be used for His glory. Only the Master knows what He ultimately has planned for us. However, there is a necessary process that we all must go through. The dross, or impurities, must be removed from our lives. Our potential will be greatly limited if this purifying process does not take place.
This process of purging begins the moment we are saved and should be continued until He takes us home to Heaven. He will work in our hearts and lives to remove the spiritual dross that hinders us from being worthy vessels for Christ. There may be attitudes that we have that are not fitting for a servant of Christ. Perhaps, we have bitterness or unforgiveness toward someone who has offended us. Maybe pride causes us to be condescending or self-centered. Sometimes bad habits such as slothfulness or lack of punctuality are hindrances. Self-pity and jealousy are also unseemly for a servant of Christ. Inconsistency or unfaithfulness renders us unusable. All of these impurities, and many more like them, adversely affect our potential as God’s vessels.
As the Lord works in us to make us what He would have us be, He is preparing us for His service. What does the refiner normally use in this process of removing the dross? The silver is subjected to tremendous heat, turning the ore into liquid form, and then separating the impurities. In a similar way, it is often the experiences of fiery trials that are God’s tools to remove undesirable traits from our lives. This may not always be pleasurable, but God knows what it will take to make us fit vessels.