If you have been around church long enough, you have probably heard at least one sermon where they talk about being refined in the fires like gold.
I have heard variations of this sermon with loads of scripture references my whole life, so I was a shocked when I came across this scripture in Jeremiah:
Refining fires are cranked up to white heat, but the ore stays a lump, unchanged.
It’s useless to keep trying any longer. Nothing can refine the evil out of them.
Men will give up and call them ‘slag,’ thrown on the slag heap by me, their God.
After I read this, I couldn’t stop pondering what it is that makes one man or people group like ore, useless and ugly, and another like gold, beautiful and highly valued.
Reading this passage along with other refining fires scriptures (Psalm 66:10, Isaiah 42:10, 1 Peter 1:6-7), one thing stands out: Attitude.
Through choosing rebellion and complaining, the Israelites have chosen to be like slag. The Psalmist, on the other hand, never stops praising Yahweh and comes out like gold.
That means that my attitude is a significant factor to my worth.
Challenges come in life and at work. Choosing to maintain a positive attitude through difficult times will not only refine me like gold, but will help of value to my employer. I need to control my thoughts and my tongue. It’s not enough to only complain to certain people and not the boss, that won’t purify me. I need to genuinely choose not to spend my thoughts and time focusing on negative things at work.
Easier said than done.
Lying in bed, it’s easy to replay an offending circumstance on repeat with revised responses and imagined outcomes without even being aware of it. When I am trying to take thoughts captive, I literally take my hand to my head and pull out the thought I don’t want to entertain and throw it to the ground. It seems silly, but the physicality of it helps me focus on what is real, pure and right.
You can take control of your thought life and attitude as well. Focus on the Lord and what is right in your work situation and in doing so, you determine whether you will be slag or gold.
This post originally appeared in October 2013.