Refine – to remove impurities or unwanted elements from (a substance), typically as part of an industrial process.
The Refinement Process: When silver is mined from the ground it is commonly mixed with a number of other elements. In order to get pure silver that can be used for commercial or industrial purposes, it must be refined. Silver has an extraordinarily high melting point—it must be heated to nearly 2,200 degrees in order to be refined to complete purity. Only when it has been through that process does the silver become useful for its intended function. Beautiful service pieces, high tech equipment, and collectible coins all become possible once the silver has been refined. Without that process, it is largely worthless.
Satan is delighted when we allow wicked influences to remain in our lives, because they keep us from fulfilling our purpose and the will of God for our lives. One of his most effective lies is that these influences won’t really have any impact on us. Believing this lie has destroyed many believers as they fell prey to an influence they didn’t recognize or guard themselves against. As Paul warned the church at Corinth, “Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners” (1 Corinthians 15:33). Let’s look at a Biblical example of where these bad influences (impurities) come from and the effects that they can have on our life.
“And a mixed multitude went up also with them; and flocks, and herds, even very much cattle.” – Exodus 12:38
As Moses left Egypt with the children of Israel, they were not alone in the departure. The Bible says that there was a mixed multitude with them. This means that not only were God’s children leaving Egypt, but they were also bringing some Egyptians with them.
The children of Israel had been slaves for over 400 years at the time that they were set free! This is a great picture of salvation, but this also shows us that when we get saved, we still have worldly influences in our lives. These Egyptians were raised totally different than God’s children were. They were taught to worship over 5,000 false gods, they looked up to Pharaoh as their leader, and they had no real concept of who God was.
When we first get saved, we are mixed with the world. We have worldly speech, we laugh at worldly jokes, our faith is in worldly things…. even our convictions are carnal in nature! But after we get saved, we receive some spiritual things into our lives that we didn’t have before. We now have the Holy Spirit dwelling inside of us, we can understand the Bible, and we have direct access to God through prayer! You see? After salvation, we a mix of worldly and spiritual influences.
The Bible says that Moses went on top of Mt. Sinai for 40 days and 40 nights. During this time, he spent time with God and eventually was given the Ten Commandments. Moses never told his people how long he would be gone, so after some time, the people started to get worried.
“And when the people saw that Moses delayed to come down out of the mount, the people gathered themselves together unto Aaron, and said unto him, Up, make us gods, which shall go before us; for as for this Moses, the man that brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we wot not what is become of him.” – Exodus 32:1
The people went 40 days without seeing their physical leader so they panicked and built a golden calf to worship… they were used to Pharaoh! The Bible doesn’t say whose idea it was to build the golden calf, but it’s safe to say, that at the very least, the idea came from the Egyptian influence these people had in their lives! They were born and raised in an environment were idol worship was common, so when they became worried, they reverted back to their worldly behavior and built a false god to worship. Because they kept these worldly influences in their life, it took less than 40 days for God’s children to go from praising Him to worshiping a false idol.
It’s important to remember, Israel was God’s chosen people, the mixed multitude was not! So, the Israelites understood God and had a relationship with him, while the mixed multitude was simply blending in and obeying the rules! Having a relationship with God is crucial for the Christian life. Simply following the rules won’t get you very far.
“Following God’s rules with a relationship will eventually lead to rebellion”
It’s easy to think that our worldly friends, tv shows, and music won’t have much of an impact on our life, but if we allow them to stick around, eventually they will keep us from growing spiritually.
“(19) And it came to pass, as soon as he came nigh unto the camp, that he saw the calf, and the dancing: and Moses’ anger waxed hot, and he cast the tables out of his hands, and brake them beneath the mount.
(20) And he took the calf which they had made, and burnt it in the fire, and ground it to powder, and strawed it upon the water, and made the children of Israel drink of it.” – Exodus 32:19-20
Needless to say, Moses was very angry when he saw God’s people worshipping this golden calf. He had just spent 40 days alone with God and returned to complete rebellion! The Bible says that Moses ground down the false idol into a dust and made the people drink it… complete destruction!
Moses had the right idea! He didn’t tell them to ignore the statue or to move it out of sight… he completely destroyed it so it could no longer bring temptation to the children of Israel.
“(26) Then Moses stood in the gate of the camp, and said, Who is on the Lord’s side? let him come unto me. And all the sons of Levi gathered themselves together unto him.
(27) And he said unto them, Thus saith the Lord God of Israel, Put every man his sword by his side, and go in and out from gate to gate throughout the camp, and slay every man his brother, and every man his companion, and every man his neighbour.
(28) And the children of Levi did according to the word of Moses: and there fell of the people that day about three thousand men.” – Exodus 32:26-28
Moses even took it a step further and got rid of 3,000 people who refused to be on the Lord’s side. He wanted to ensure that this never happened again… and it didn’t!
Everyone has worldly influences in their life when they get saved. It’s important that we recognize this and replace them with godly influences. Eventually, you will reach a place where you can no longer grow spiritually until you get rid of some worldly influences in your life.
What bad influences have we allowed to tag along in our lives? Something from our unsaved life that just stuck around for the journey. You may not see the direct effect of those influences every day, but I can assure you that they are impacting every area of your life!
Let’s strive to get rid of these impurities in our life… the cost is too great to keep them around… Let’s live a refined life!