“Behold, I send my messenger, and he will prepare the way before me. And the Lord whom you seek will suddenly come to his temple; and the messenger of the covenant in whom you delight, behold, he is coming, says the LORD of hosts. But who can endure the day of his coming, and who can stand when he appears? For he is like a refiner’s fire and like fullers’ soap. He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver, and he will purify the sons of Levi and refine them like gold and silver, and they will bring offerings in righteousness to the LORD.”
Malachi 3:1–3, ESV
The chosen people of God had turned away from God and went after other gods. They hadn’t trusted in the Word and had become like every other nation. That is the danger we face in life. Our desire is to fit in and be like everyone else. As a father, that is something that I desire to teach my children, that they need not fit in. We, as followers of Christ, are meant to stand apart from the world. We are not to be haughty or prideful. It does not mean we should ever look down on another, but we don’t need to fit in or act like things that are contrary to God’s will are good. When you are different, people become uncomfortable. We want to let people feel welcome and as comfortable as we can, but certain things we should not feel guilty about not standing by or affirming. An aunt of mine once told me that as a pastor, I should wear my collar, and all pastors should so that people will know that they are pastors and will watch what they say and do. I responded, “Well, act like everyone around you is a pastor, and you won’t have to worry about saying the wrong thing.” If someone feels uncomfortable saying or doing something around a pastor, then they probably shouldn’t feel comfortable doing it at all. This is the way that all Christians should view their witness. This doesn’t mean that we should be judgmental and wagging our fingers at people every time they do something wrong. We should be quite the opposite. We should live a life that reflects Christ. This is the refiner’s fire that we all are put within. As the things that are contrary to God begin to fall away in our lives, the better we can reflect our Lord to others. In reflecting our Lord, others being pulled by God will be attracted to us and they may enter into the light. Our lives are our witness of the transforming power of God and his renewal of our lives.
Let us pray. I thank you, my heavenly Father, through Jesus Christ, your dear Son, that you have kept me this night from all harm and danger, and I ask you to protect me this day also from sin and every evil, that in all I do today, I may please you. For into your hands, I commend myself, my body and soul, and all that is mine. Let your holy angel watch over me, that the wicked foe have no power over me. Amen.