Fire Consumes Or Purifies

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze” (Isaiah 43:2 NIV).

 

One thing that is as certain as death and taxes is that in this fallen world is we will have problems.  Jesus said these words in John 16:33 many years ago, but they still ring true today.  “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”  To me, this means that our earthly troubles are temporary but our Lord and Savior reigns forever and in Him and through Him we have life and victory over sin and death.  What sort of life does He offer you may wonder?  Well, as we return back to the book of John in chapter 10, verse 10, we learn the answer.  “I have come so that they may life, and have it abundantly (emphasis added)” 

Our troubles often appear overwhelming when we focus on the discomfort of the problem rather than the provision and protection of God.  Also, our troubles can consume us when we try to face them alone rather than with a group of fellow followers of Christ. 

Problems and trouble come in many forms, but they always bring some sort of “heat.”  It is important to understand that the flame that is causing the heat is never intended for our harm. Of course, a fire that destroys a house is terrible, but such a fire would not come from God.  My house was not destroyed by fire but was badly flooded in 2016.  I was devastated, but I watched God work through human hands and eventually my house was repaired, and my furniture was replaced.  Now, I have a powerful testimony to His faithfulness.

Everything that is good about a fire can be listed as a blessing of the Holy Spirit. Fire is a purifying force, and the Holy Spirit is the ultimate purifier.   Rev. Max Lucado wrote in a recent devotional – “We need the cleansing, sanctifying work of the Spirit of God.”  As I first read this devotional from Rev. Lucado my mind drifted to Malachi 3:3. “He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver.”  Silver is refined through heat to burn off the impurities.  Similarly, we are refined through our troubles as we grow closer to God and then emerge with a strong testimony of His faithfulness.  I think it is interesting that a silversmith knows that all of the impurities are gone when he can see his reflection in the molten silver.  As we are refined, our face begins to “look” more like Christ and we begin to seek the same things that He is seeking for us.

While we are in the valleys of life, life is certainly hard.  The stress can take a toll on our bodies.  However, this is the best time to invite this refining fire to finish its work in our hearts.  A wildlife in the forest brings immediate devastation, but eventually there is new growth and renewal.  The fires in our lives also bring about spiritual renewal in spite of our physical condition, which I think is the message of (2 Corinthians 4:16).  “Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.”  

The next time you feel the heat of life, stop and realize that God is at work in your life.  If you turn toward Him, you will not only emerge on the other side with a closer walk with our Lord, but also a testimony that is a powerful witness in a world that so badly needs powerful witnesses.  Don’t let the fire consume you but rather let it purify you.

Prayer:  Dear God, Thank you for refining us.  Forgive us for the times we turn from you and help us to embrace the fires of life and yoke to your Holy Spirit to find joy in all circumstances.  Amen. 

Meet the Author

Todd Shupe is a Men’s Ministry Specialist through the General Commission of United Methodist Men and is in training to be a Certified Lay Minister through the Louisiana Conference of the United Methodist Church. He currently serves as the President of the Baton Rouge District of United Methodist Men and is a Board Member for Gulf South Men and serves on the Action Team for The Kingdom Group. He is a volunteer for the Walk to Emmaus, Grace Camp, and Iron Sharpens Iron. Todd resides in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

We welcome your comments below.

Thank you for visiting. We trust that you have enjoyed reading our articles.

Liked this post?

Read more below or search for more topics...

  • Obstacles to Joy

    Obstacles to Joy “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world”  (John 16:33 NIV). We all have stress and anxiety.  These are obstacles to the happiness that we all seek.  I think what is important is how we deal with these obstacles.  A little bit of stress is natural and no problem.  It can be helpful and protect us from dangerous situations. Regardless of the source of our stress, we as Christians have a proven method to rid ourselves of it but it takes courage...
  • Who Knows The Truth?

    Who Knows The Truth? “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms” (Ephesians 6:12 NIV). One of my favorite Bible studies focused on the questions of God in the Old Testament and the questions of Jesus in the New Testament.   I would not pretend to fully know the meaning behind the questions.  However, it is apparent to me that the questions are, at least in part, designed to draw the listener into a deeper state of self-examination. I enjoy my “red...
  • Book Review: Twelve Ordinary Men

    Book Review: Twelve Ordinary Men “Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of Him who is the head, that is, Christ (Ephesians 4:15 NIV).  I have enjoyed reading the book, “Twelve Ordinary Men” by John MacArthur.   Each chapter focused on a different disciple and blessed me with new insight to each of these men.  I was particularly drawn to the chapter about John, the Apostle of Love.  Throughout our lives we all find ourselves on different sides of the truth and love issue.  Sometimes we want justice and sometimes we want mercy. Most...