Worthless matter, trivial substance, unusable waste, useless scum – these are all words describing dross. In practical terms, dross is the by-product – what floats to the top as metal is heated to a molten-liquid state. The dross is then removed or filtered out. This process is done to purify the metal – removing the unusable parts – those substances that can make the metal weak or brittle.   This process makes the metal ready to be molded and shaped for a specific purpose.

Have you had periods in your life when it seemed as though all of hell was breaking loose against you?  All that you considered normal, good, acceptable and prosperous were being stripped away… and you couldn’t really explain why?  “Oh God, what’s happening?”  Maybe, it was your health, maybe a good job, possibly a longtime relationship – slipping away before your eyes – feeling like your ‘life thermostat’ was just turned on HIGH! From personal experience, I can tell you that the ‘heat’ is uncomfortable and it burns!  It can be heartbreaking, miserable and downright scary!  Thoughts come of ‘what did I do wrong – where did I screw up?” – “My life is over and will never be the same.”  Yes, my life was over and was never the same… but that was the point – the purpose behind the ‘heat’. The life I was living was not what God wanted for me and He wanted it to change. I went through a period in my own life some years ago when my significant long-term relationships changed, my job ended and I had to sell my home – all within 8 months!  It was scary.  I found myself not only in a new place physically, but emotionally, mentally and spiritually as well.  There were days when I felt like a ‘fish out of water’. But, praise God, I came out of it just fine… better than fine in fact.  Looking back, what I realize was, I was like a raw piece of mined metal ore that God has His eye on for a specific purpose.  But, in my present state, I was unusable.  I could not do what He needed me to do – raw, full of impurities, unshaped and dirty.  I had to go through the dross removal process.  The funny thing is that we all start out as a raw piece of mined ore.  Wrong choices, unhealthy upbringings, walking the wrong path, etc., impurities have worked their way into our lives and if left there, will keep us from fulfilling what God created us for.  God in His love for us, will take us through a life process of removing those impurities, so He can use us for His purposes. That’s what we were created for in the first place.  Your ‘dross’ removal process most likely will look different than mine.  You are different than me – different purpose, different personality/’wiring’ and different impurities.

Also, the purification process is usually a life long journey as well.  There will be times when the ‘heat’ seems hotter than at other times, but some of our impurities are pretty stubborn and it takes a lot of heat to remove them.  Typically, a silversmith has to heat and reheat the silver multiple times in order to get it to the right concentration, consistency and percent pure silver he needs.

Remove the dross from the silver, and out comes material for the silversmith’ Prov. 25:4.

Got Dross in your life? God is taking us all through the dross removal process.  When those times of intense heat come, don’t run from them.  Ask God to show you what it is He wants to teach you and to help you to let go of those ‘impurities’ He is trying to remove from your life.  And no matter how ‘hot’ it gets, remember that Jesus will never leave you or forsake you (Hebrews 13:5) – He loves us and wants to use us for a greater purpose.

And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. 1 peter 5:10

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