As many of you are aware of, there are horrible fires raging here in Northern California. They have wrought destruction to an area very close to where I live. So close in fact that our air quality was so bad the schools were closed two days last week. The amount of devistaion that they have caused will mean that it could take years to fully rebuild and restore all that was lost.
In relation to the spiritual, we, as believers often think of fire like affliction or trials. We think of fire as destructive and painful. As hot and overwhelming. Indeed, fire posses all of those qualities. Yet, as believers, the cry of our hearts should be, "Lord, send the fire!" Fire brings heat, heat melts away all that cannot withstand the temperatures. The Word of God does just that according to Jeremiah 23:29. The holy words of the Almighty burns away the evil from our hearts, it burns the carnal from our desires. The flesh cannot withstand the fire of God and live, but the Spirit within us is born of the fire of the Holy Ghost. It longs for the purity which the fire delivers.
Isaiah 43:1-2 NASV says, "But now, thus says the LORD, your Creator, O Jacob, And He who formed you, O Israel, "Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name; you are Mine! "When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And through the rivers, they will not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be scorched, Nor will the flame burn you."
When you are dedicated to Jesus, the flames of spiritual fire cannot burn up your spirit. When you are walking in the way of the Holy Spirit, you have nothing to fear in the fire. If the things of the physical, or the things of the flesh pass away, your spirit is still held, unscathed, in the hands of the Lord. You will walk away not burned, but even more alive than ever before in the Spirit, stronger than you thought you could be. Why? Because the things that cannot withstand the fire are gone! They no longer hold to you or weigh you down. This is what the Word of God does! It burns out those things which are not of God!
As many of us understand, this is not a painless process. In fact, there are some who have found it so difficult to accept they have attempted to smother the fire by making sin acceptable and even welcomed. Yet, when our hearts are dedicated to the Will of Jesus Christ, we must allow His Word full authority to come and burn up what is not of His Spirit or His Nature. I don't know about you, but as a believer, I don't want to be carrying things with me that keep me from walking in the purity of Christ. I don't want to be guilty of twisting the Words of God to avoid the fire. Purity requires the fire. Fire purges from us what is not of the purest nature. And my desire is to be pure before a Holy God, a God that can accept nothing less, for that matter.
So today, let me encourage you to accept the fire of the Word of God. The Word that is, as Jeremiah said, "a hammer," it can smash a rock to pieces. May the purging fire of Jesus destroy in us, what is not of Him. And may we long for the purity that the fire brings. It may be hot, it may even be overwhelming to see our sins, our flesh, laid bare before us as we examine our hearts according to God's holy Word. But let the flames eat up the evil in our hearts. Though it may be as destruction in our eyes, the Lord sees it as wholeness.