Romans 12:2 “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”
There is a metallurgist term for testing the genuineness of something and it’s called failure and defect analysis. A failure is defined as any situation where a part fails to function as intended by its design, fabrication and application. In metallurgy the fire shapes and purifies the metal as it burns off the dross but if the process is not completed then the integrity of the metal is compromised. The dross is the foreign matter, dregs, or mineral waste, in particular scum formed on the surface of molten metal.
The process of testing metal can be characterized by the testing of people and their spiritual position. The greek term dokimazo is a term used to show something as acceptable (real, approved); put to the test to reveal what is good. You may have read it several times in the apostle Paul’s letters, in the gospels, and in John’s letters but was interpreted with words like ‘to analyze‘, ‘examine‘, ‘prove‘, or to ‘test‘.
The process of testing can be applicable in many ways and is crucial for understanding who we are and where we are at spiritually.
If we are tested by God, how will we hold up?
One of the most popular test procedure which is performed on Metals is the Corrosion resistance test. Metals have to tolerate several environmental conditions such as moisture, humidity, high temperature, etc. that corrode the material surface. Corrosion is reflected in a slow deterioration and the elements are to blame.
As believers living in a world that is constantly in a state of sin, the elements of worldly influence can have a corrosive influence in our lives, particularly if our spiritual quality has not been refined.
Jeremiah 6:27-30 “I have set you as an assayer and a fortress among My people,
That you may know and test their way.
They are all stubborn rebels, walking as slanderers.
They are bronze and iron,
They are all corrupters;
The bellows blow fiercely,
The lead is consumed by the fire;
The smelter refines in vain,
For the wicked are not drawn off.
People will call them rejected silver,
Because the Lord has rejected them.”
The elements of corrosion appear as destructive trends that erode righteousness and leave holiness as an afterthought.
- Stubbornness of spirit
- Slanderous tongues
- Corrupt hearts and minds
These are elements of a spirit that has either rejected the Truth of God or been left incomplete in the refining fires of God’s testing. Those who are found among them are those who cannot accept God’s rebuke for sin or get to the point where they refuse to continue in obedience. The intent of their heart begins to turn to evil, they may feel justified in their own minds but their thoughts are only on themselves.
The corrosion of this world can be found in our public universities down to our childrens grade schools, on televisions and at the movies, wherever the world influences it leads those into darkness and corruption.
Lack of Awareness
Spiritual testing extends into our thinking and the motivation for how we live.
Luke 12:56 “You hypocrites! You know how to interpret the appearance of the earth and sky. Why don’t you know how to interpret the present time?”
So many people suffer through the anguish of life, not understanding how their circumstances came about. A lack of discernment is found among those who are blind, they may be able to use their intelligence with the things of the world but spiritually they have no understanding.
Scientists can measure the Universe and the elements they see around them, doctors can evaluate patients and draw conclusions based off their clinical results, and psychologists can evaluate the mind and draw conclusions from how people think….but leave God out of all these fields and all you have are specialities of the Creation without sight of the Creator.
If we want to understand what God is saying in regards to our position, we must use the tools He’s given us to test ourselves.
1 Corinthians 11:27-28 “Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty concerning the body and blood of the Lord. Let a person examine(dokimazo) himself, then, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup.”
There is a common tradition in the church of recognizing the sacrifice Jesus made through His life and death on earth. The taking of communion is a ceremony that is a holy remembrance of Jesus’ body and blood given for the sins of man.
Paul expressly warns against partaking of this ceremony in an unworthy manner.
The ceremony of the communion does not regenerate a person nor does it take away sin. It is solemn occasion that gives the individual the opportunity to declare openly their commitment to Christ and outwardly testify of how they have been redeemed by His life and death.
If someone partakes of the bread and the wine, they are making a statement that they understand the great work that Jesus has done and they have given their life to Him. If they take it in an unworthy manner, they declare they know the way to life but have not acted on this way through means of repentance of sin.
We are encouraged to examine our hearts before we take communion and see if we fail the test.
If we are not real about our salvation, we will not be counted among the redeemed at the end of the age, when the Great Judge separates the sheep from the goats.
The Great Metalsmith
The Lord is the One who shapes His people into the form that He desires, one that He knows is best for us.
We are placed into His kiln, the fires of trial burn away the dross and the sword takes it shape. The hammer shapes while the fires soften and purify.
What is God using to purify and shape you today?
1 Thessalonians 2:4 “On the contrary, we speak as those approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel. We are not trying to please people but God, who tests our hearts.”
For those who have been refined in God’s fire, the gospel is entrusted with those who carry it into the world. The Word of God is sharp, it cuts through the haze of falsity and indifference while leaving the hearer with a clear choice by which to decide….Heaven or Hell, LIfe or Death, the Narrow or Broad way?
The Lord prepares His people, the question we have to ask is do we accept His preparation?
If we love the Lord, we will trust Him through the pain.
We will trust Him as He removes the dross of sin from our lives.
What remains after the refining is a people that bear the marks of the King, His insignia is stamped upon us in the form of the Holy Spirit. This glorious people are those who will one day be robed in white and crowned in glory.
Will you be counted among them?
Remain steadfast and rejoice if the Lord is working on you, be patient and seek after righteousness, knowing that when God does the refining…it means He loves you.