This “counsel” is given by Jesus to the Laodicean Church, who said that they were “rich and increased in goods” (Revelation 3:17). Their emphasis was on the external blessing and provision of the Lord, rather than upon their being changed “within.”
This “gold” that is to be refined in fire, is the “divine nature” of the Lord Jesus Christ. It is our lives purified - with all the dross and sediments removed in the “refiners fire” so that His life might be revealed through our lives – our being transparent in His presence, as a “sea of glass.”
“And before the throne there was a sea of glass like to crystal.” Revelation 4:6
Another purpose in our being “tried in the fire” is to prepare us to be a container of “His glory.”
“Arise, shine; for your light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon you. For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people: but the Lord shall arise upon you, and His glory shall be seen upon you. And the Gentiles shall come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your rising.” Isaiah 60:1-3
Jesus ascended in glory, and He is increasingly releasing and imparting that glory, in these last days.
“But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.” II Corinthians 3:18
This “open face” is the result of the “veil” having been “rent” when Jesus died on the cross, so we can again enter into the manifest presence of the Lord. The reason why we behold “as in a glass” the glory of the Lord is that this “glass” acts as a “shield” which allows us to experience as much glory as we can handle. As our capacity increases, the level of glory that we experience will also increase.
The Apostle Paul was on his way to persecute the Church when the Lord suddenly appeared in such glory that he fell from his horse and was blinded. The manifestation of glory was so great, that he had to be prayed for to restore his sight. Much of what Paul said of his “pressing toward the mark” was that he never forgot the manifestation of glory that he experienced, and he contended to again experience this level of glory.
One of the many “facets” of the glory of the Lord is that it has an effect which is like our looking into a “mirror.” When the glory appears, we see the reflection of ourselves as we presently are, in contrast to the image of the Lord Jesus Christ. We see how far we are from what we should be. We need to experience the glory, not because we have prayed enough or that we have done all the right things, but rather so we can truly repent.