See, I am sending my messenger to prepare the way before me, and the Lord whom you seek will suddenly come to his temple. The messenger of the covenant in whom you delight—indeed, 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 descendants of Levi and refine them like gold and silver, until they present offerings to the LORD in righteousness. Then the offering of Judah and Jerusalem will be pleasing to the LORD as in the days of old and as in former years. (Malachi 3:1-4, NRSV)
This passage has always been one of my favorites because it talks about the time God takes with holding us in the fire. “He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver.” I have friends who make jewelry and they have confirmed to me that one who refines silver watches it constantly. It is not something you put in the fire and walk away from. You are watching and turning and making sure the temperature is just right and you know when it is refined and purified when you see your reflection in it. Can you imagine God sitting with you in the fire, turning you and adjusting the heat until He sees his reflection in you!
But this time I read the passage and I was struck by fullers’ soap. So I wondered what Fullers’ soap is. And I looked. A Fuller was one who took newly made cloth, in this day mostly wool, and washed it and bleached it to make it white and fuller. A Fuller took out the gunky stuff and made the cloth white and fluffier.
So not only is God looking for His reflection in you, but He is also making you cleaner, and brighter and fuller. He is making you like Him.
So allow the refiner and fuller of your life to mold you and shape you!