Typically, we avoid it.
If someone yells "fire" in a crowded place, it can cause panic!
The threat of a fire in our homes is something we take seriously.
The news reports of "wildfires" are both numerous and tragic.
Sometimes, though, "fire" can be a good thing.
Like a campfire around which we gather our family.
A bonfire that we gather as a community around to celebrate, fellowship, and cheer.
A source of warmth in the midst of a cold winter's night.
There is another kind of fire that is good...yet at times, painful.
It is the "Refiner's Fire" of God.
It is a fire we are invited to enter into--willingly!
It is a fire we not only get near, but are actually encouraged to walk through!
It is this 'refining' that God invites us into for our own good...and for His glory.
In the midst of this refining process, He burns off the excess junk in our lives, so that the 'spiritual gold' that is in our hearts gets more and more pure.
Each time He turns up the temperature, more 'junk', impurity, and excess floats to the top. There He scrapes it off and discards it, making us that much more pure.
It can be a painful process, because some of the things that HE deems as "impurity" or 'excess', we might think of as essentials to be protected.
He--the Refiner--is the One who knows best.
We--the gold--need to submit ourselves to Him in this process--only then can we be made pure.
Yet...for many of us who are Christians, we don't want to hear this...we'd rather not be refined. We'd rather that He allow us to keep our impurities and be 'good enough'. We don't want discomfort, we don't want hardship, we don't want the Refiner's Fire.
And that's one big reason that our faith is so weak and our lives are so uninspiring and mediocre, spiritually speaking.
He wants people who are WILLING to go through His Refiner's Fire!
"This [group]I will bring into the fire;
I will refine them like silver
and test them like gold.
They will call on my name
and I will answer them;
I will say, ‘They are my people,’
and they will say, ‘The Lord is our God.’” (Zechariah 13:9)
The Refiner's Fire can be uncomfortable. It can be disturbing. It can be downright painful.
Yet, to those who are willing to go through it, they will come through it like Gold that has been purified and refined. They will shine like never before!
Job knew of this fire, and he struggled through it...but willingly stayed in it.
“But he knows where I am going.
And when he tests me, I will come out as pure as gold.
For I have stayed on God’s paths;
I have followed his ways and not turned aside.
I have not departed from his commands,
but have treasured his words more than daily food." (Job 23:10-12)
Stay strong in your faith. Cry out to the Lord for strength...but DO NOT shrink from His Fire.
It is for your good and His glory.
It IS worth it!
Today, will you join me is saying "Purify My Heart..."?