The refining pot is for silver and the furnace for gold
[to separate the impurities of the metal],
And each is tested by the praise given to him
[and his response to it, whether humble or proud]
(Proverbs 27:21 AMP).
Solomon compares refining metal by fire to how we believers receive praise. It’s possible that we may be assessed better by what others say of us. However, humility, truthfulness, and the crucible of testing should display godly character in us.
Purity of Character
The melting points of silver and gold (precious metals) are well known by the jewelers and craftsmen. This treatment by fire removes impurities. We need to reject impurities in our character, speak the truth in love, deal honestly with others, and have compassion for all. This will reveal Christ-like character in us.
Things Praise Reveals
The Holy Spirit shaping your thoughts, intentions, and performance should be evident to all. I’ve found three useful and interesting interpretations of this proverb:
- A man’s character is displayed by the way he receives praise. On the other hand, living for the praise of man can lead to missing God’s intentions for us.
- A man is viewed by the things he praises. This can encourage or discourage us.
- A godly man dismisses the praise of unworthy substance—this process is a hard task. We must listen closely to the Holy Spirit on a regular basis and embrace it as a crucible for growing in Christ.
Building character is based on discipleship, Bible application, and steadfast faith in Jesus Christ. Humility, truthfulness, and the crucible of testing should display godly character in us.
Prayer: Father, I accept your crucible. Test me and try me to improve my character—I want to be like Jesus. Selah.
As a face is reflected in water,
so the heart reflects the real person
(Proverbs 27:19 NLT).
Solomon gets introspective with this verse. He uses the example of self-assessment and then being assessed by what others see in our actions, our speech, and our motives. This proverb needs some examination. God knows us inside and out, but others know us only by what they observe and hear.
We must see ourselves in the mirror of God’s assessment, the intent of our heart. God knows how we think, consider others and serve them. Godly character is built on spiritual action based on his Word.
What Others See
Do we love others as much as we love ourselves? Do we show it? What we do is viewed by others as part of our character. The optimum here would be to ask ourselves . . . “What would Jesus do?” Then do it that way.
Our challenge is to view ourselves as God would and act on it. Our heart, one with God’s, should be the compelling reason for what we think, do, and say. God knows us inside and out, but others know us only by what they observe and hear.
Prayer: Father, reveal to me how to respond to others, to meet peoples’ needs, and to encourage them. Thank you for lifting me up daily. Selah.
Just as iron sharpens iron,
a person sharpens the character of his friend
(Proverbs 27:17 Contemporary English Version).
It’s worth meditating on Solomon’s one short verse. He focuses on improving character of another — body, mind, and soul. It’s a precursor to the Great Commission commanding us to make disciples and teach new believers to live God’s ways.
Teach God’s Ways
In a Christian setting this means teaching new believers to blossom in their understanding and knowledge of biblical concepts—to grow in their faith. When Jesus commissioned us to make disciples of all men, he was teaching everyone God’s ways:
“Go out and train everyone you meet, far and near, in this way of life, marking them by baptism in the threefold name: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Then instruct them in the practice of all I have commanded you. I’ll be with you as you do this, day after day after day, right up to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:19,20 The Message).
Train to Succeed
The world’s concept is that a mentor or leader would train a person to be the best they could be. (All God intended them to be). This could be work related, character building, family life instruction, financial guidance, or many other areas needed to live a godly and productive life.
The intent of this poignant verse, iron sharpens iron is to build good character in others. It’s a precursor to the Great Commission commanding us to make disciples and learn to live God’s ways.
Prayer: Father, help me be a light for others to see you in action. I need your continuing guidance every day. Selah.