Wise King Solomon wrote, “Take away the dross from the silver, and the smith has material for a vessel; take away the wicked from the presence of the king, and his throne will be established in righteousness” (Pro. 25:4-5).
In order to purify silver to the point that it could be used or sculpted, the silver ore would be melted by fire. When that was done the dross (impurities, refuse) would be brought to the top where they could be removed and what was left was pure silver that could be fashioned for whatever purpose was needed. However, as long as the dross remained within the silver, both the value and usefulness of the metal was greatly diminished.
Solomon takes this principle and applies it to counselors of kings. He says that if you take away the wicked people (the dross) from a place of influence before the king, his throne will be established in righteousness. It has often been proven that, if you know who is giving a ruler (whether he be a king, president, CEO, etc.) counsel and guidance, you can know what kind of ruler he will be. The people that he trusts the most will be the people that reflect his morals and principles. This concept is certainly seen in the Scriptures with such examples as Rehoboam (1 Kings 12) who, instead of heeding his father’s counselors decided to listen to his own that were closer to his age. The results were catastrophic for his kingdom, and fulfilled the prophecies God had made before the death of his father.
However, let us take this same basic principle and make some applications for us. For we can take the exact same argument Solomon applies to kings and make a parallel application to the lives of each individual when it comes to their friends. A person’s friends are the ones that will first be approached for help, advice, and direction. Show off an individual’s friends (true personal friends, not social media), and people are able to see what kind of person that individual is and what they value most in life.
Therefore, it is essential that we remove the dross (evil influences) from our friendships. The Christian who seeks to follow Christ will not be surrounded by people who do not love, appreciate, and consider the things of Christ. Paul stated that, “evil companionships corrupt good morals” (1 Cor. 15:33), and Peter reported the effect that a life of serving Christ has upon those old friends who do not hold the same values (1 Pet. 4:3-6).
Beyond our friendships, however, there is another area in which this parable applies: the attitudes and actions of life. As we seek to serve Christ we must seek to mold our lives after his example. In order to do that, we must first be willing to remove the dross from our lives so that we can be the right material for that molding. The Colossians were told: “Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. On account of these the wrath of God is coming. In these you too once walked, when you were living in them. But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator” (Col. 3:5-10). Before we can be fashioned after the manner of Christ into the kind of person God wants, we must first remove the dross so that we may approach him with purity and holiness (Rom. 12:1-2).
Have you removed the dross?