When the Bible talks about ‘the heart’, it is referring to our inner man, to the control centre of our lives where we think, feel, and decide. As a result, what we think about, feel, and believe in our hearts impacts everything we do. It is the place where we are either wise or foolish. If we are wise-hearted, we will do wise things and say wise words. If we are foolish-hearted, we will do foolish things and say foolish words.
Proverbs 17:3 tells us that just like silver is refined in a pot and gold in a furnace, so that Lord tries (refines) hearts. This is talking about how silver and gold are heated up and melted so that impurities come to the surface and are burnt up, making the metals more pure.
In the same way, God wants to purge out foolishness and sin that may be hidden in our hearts. To do this, he puts us through fires and trials. Though painful and difficult at times, the Lord uses these trials to make us more Christlike. Therefore, we should be grateful for the trials and tests He put us through. This is the lesson of various passages of Scripture:
- Psalm 26:2 Examine me, O Lord, and prove me; Try my reins and my heart.
- Psalm 66:10 For thou, O God, hast proved us: Thou hast tried us, as silver is tried.
- Isaiah 48:10 Behold, I have refined thee, but not with silver; I have chosen thee in the furnace of affliction.
- Jeremiah 17:10 I the Lord search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings.
- 1 Peter 1:7 That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:
- 1 Corinthians 3:13 Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is.
- James 1:2–3 My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience.
How is the Lord trying your heart? What have those trials revealed? What have those trials taught you? And how are the things that God is doing in your life right now making you more like Jesus? Does understanding how God uses trials change the way you view them?