Fire is used to purify, cleanse, and sanitize. When we have a splinter, it’s common to use fire to purify the end of a needle before using it to remove the foreign object embedded in our skin. It cleanses and sanitizes the needle so that in the process of removing the item that has penetrated our body’s protective cover, we don’t end up with bacteria that could lead to bigger problem: infection.
Sin is an infection which, if left untreated, will spread like cancerous poison throughout our whole being; mind, spirit, and body (James 1:15). It separates us (Isaiah 59:2) from the only Being that loves us unconditionally (Psalm 136). The consequences not only negatively affect us, but those we love and in our spheres of influence, which can be far reaching beyond what we are aware of.
When ceramic pieces are in a kiln and it’s heated up in the “firing” process, any impurities in the clay will burn out, more often than not, causing an explosion that typically not only damages the original piece, but commonly, does damage to pieces in the kiln around it.
When I was a student at Herron School of Art, unfortunately, we saw this happen a lot. When students weren’t diligent to keep foreign matter out of the clay, not only would their pieces be destroyed, others in the kiln were damaged, if not also broken beyond any hope of being repaired.
Sin has the same effect. It has the power to steal, kill, and destroy us (John 10:10), and those affected by it around us. It has a devastating domino effect that can harm even the most innocent. It’s what makes it so destructive, but God provided the means to destroy its power over us (1 John 3:8).
The firing process of the kiln, or of a metalsmith refining gold, has the same effect as trials, misunderstandings, false accusations, persecutions, and suffering for wrong and unfair judgment, hard times and chastening do on us (1 Peter 4:13).
The fire will bring out what’s impure in clay, gold, and our faith. The process will purify our faith and ultimately make us to reflect more of Christ, than we would without it (2 Corinthians 4:18). Without the process, the impurities remain. With the firing process they are removed, regardless of how painful the process is.
“Through our faith, the mighty power of God constantly guards us until our full salvation is ready to be revealed in the last time. May the thought cause you to jump for joy, even though lately you’ve had to put up with the grief of many trials. But these only reveal the sterling core of your faith, which is far more valuable than gold the perishes, for even gold is refined by fire. Your authentic faith will result in even more praise, glory, and honor when Jesus the Anointed One is revealed.” 1 Peter 1:5-7 The Passion Translation (emphasis added)
Fire also represents passion. Uncontrolled passion will lead to sin (James 4:1-2). Passion controlled by the Holy Spirit will result in not only purity and righteousness, but also the manifestation of the power of God in and through our lives. The only way we can operate in the level of passion God designed us to, is to be fully surrendered to the Lordship of Christ Jesus and the Word of God, which is God (John 1:1).
Anything less is a counterfeit and it’s not hard to recognize the counterfeits all around us if you’re living a life of allowing the fire of God to process you regularly (1 John 4:1). However, if you’re allowing sin to dominate you, your view is clouded and you may not be able to recognize the counterfeits (Ephesians 4:17-18). That’s why it’s important that you read the Bible yourself, study it, meditate on it, and don’t just take what someone says it says for granted (Acts 17:11). Know it so that you can identify anything and everything that is contrary to the truth of it. Know what the Bible says about who God is (1 John 4:7) and who you are in Christ (Romans 8:35), His only Son that He sent to this world to die for our sins (Romans 5:8), so that we could be reunited to Him.
God can’t be united with sin and only through Jesus Christ are our sins forgiven. We literally need to ask Him to forgive us, believing that He is the Son of God, died for our sins, rose again and went to be with His Father, in order for the poison/cancer of sin to removed from our lives (Romans 10:9-10).
What’s cool … though fire is hot … is that He promised to send His Holy Spirit to help guide and direct us in this life (John 16:8-11) and He gave us His Word, the Holy Bible, as our instruction manuals (2 Timothy 3:16).
Problem is that most of us don’t read instruction manuals until there are problems with the operation(s). That’s fine too, with God (Philippians 1:6), but ultimately, He wants us to be reading the Word daily, literally consuming it like food in order to feed our spirit (Matthew 4:4), so that essentially, we’re spending time with Him. It’s because He loves us and wants to empower us with His grace (2 Peter 1:3) and supernatural power to live an abundant life here on earth. When we prioritize our focus on Him, He gives us revelation of who we are as His sons and daughters.
The Bible refers to us as ministers of flames (Hebrews 1:7).
If we’re allowing the fire of the Holy Spirit to burn up everything not of God in us, not only are we going to be experiencing the life God destined us to, but we’ll be setting fires everywhere we go … fires of purification and passion that produce the outcome of His reflection in and through us, especially when we are being treated as Christ was:
- Falsely Accused
While all along, He knew none of His suffering was in vain. He knew that as He endured it all, never entering into sin, that it would result in our freedom; spiritually, mentally, emotionally, and physically. He did it because He loves us and wants us to spend eternity with Him (Hebrews 12:2).
He knew that fire was a purifying agent and that as He absorbed the impurities, it would protect the vessels from being destroyed (Malachi 3:2).
May we keep the same focus when we experience the firing process, knowing that the result will be our faith refined and the empowerment of the ability to advance His kingdom here on earth, in and through our lives daily, ultimately, taking with us into eternity, as many as possible.
Burn, baby, burn.