Last week I was in Ouray, Colorado on a combined bear hunt and spiritual retreat. The bears are safe, but my time with God was anything but. God apprehended me in a most unexpected life changing way. The Spirit invaded my heart and I wept before Him like I haven’t in years.

Going into the retreat I thought I was on safe ground to seek Him about the vision for the coming year and other issues. But the Hound of Heaven was sniffing out some sinful parts of my life. In a somewhat unprecedented manner, the Holy Spirit arrived on the scene with His power and conviction. And though I had buried my pain, shame and anger deep into the crevices of my spirit, He gently, but firmly, captured my attention with harbored unforgiveness.

As the emotions welled up inside and the tears cascaded across my face, I asked the Spirit to show me how to pray. I literally didn’t know what to do. Almost like a movie scene with Romans 8:26-27 as the script, the Spirit interceded for and through me. I asked for, received, then pronounced forgiveness toward the perpetrators of my hurt.

And then freedom, real freedom, was poured into my heart! Joy burst forth. Not only was I forgiven but my anger and hurt was gone. It had taken four years. It had taken a journey of deep reflection. But now, it was time to open the floodgates of forgiveness and let the healing waters of the Spirit pour forth.

The Refiner’s Fire is a purifying fire that God is using in my life to burn out my selfishness, my pride and arrogance. I didn’t expect it and I certainly didn’t want it, but I’m embracing it. It’s good because He’s good. It’s loving because He’s loving.

Embracing the Refiner’s Fire,


Steve Holt M.A., D.D.

My newest book, WorshipperWarrior, can be found at