Lighting a candle in your home produces a small flame and a fireplace has bricks to control flames and a chimney to vent smoke.
But imagine just tossing a few logs in the middle of a room in your home and lighting them!
No one in his right mind would do such a thing! Why? Because the flames from the fire would not just burn the logs but would also kindle on carpets, wood floors, furniture, curtains and anything else flammable, and would continue to spread until the entire house burned down!
In a home, only a controlled fire is acceptable!
What about the fire of God? Jesus promised to baptize us with the Holy Spirit and fire. Like any fire, God's fire has similar properties in that it spreads beyond our control. God can control natural fire and spiritual fire but man cannot!
God spoke to Moses in the burning bush. The bush burned but was not consumed. God was able to allow the bush to burn yet not bot be affected by the hot flames. The three friends of Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, were thrown into an incredibly hot faming furnace - yet were not burned. Even the smell of flame was not on them!
We often speak of desiring God's power in terms of fire. We use expressions like, "He is on fire for God" or we pray, "God send your fire." We mean that God should impart power, inspiration, zeal and strength to our hearts and lives.
But do we really know what we are asking for when we pray for the fire of God?
If we call for God to send His fire to us, we need to understand something: His fire cannot be controlled by us!
The weather in Chicago has been very cold recently - well below zero on some days. When folks are out in this weather, it isn't very long before we yearn for warmth. We want to be in a nice warm house or sitting next to a cozy fireplace. Yet we wouldn't stick our hands into a fire or ask for someone to shoot a flamethrower at us to warm us. Why? Because we want to be warmed - not set on fire!
If we ask God to send His fire, we have to be fully aware that His fire will not only inspire or empower us, it will also burn the dross out of our lives!
Gold is refined to make it more pure. This process involves heating the gold to a high temperature. This makes the "dross," or unwanted, worthless and useless material rise to the top. The refiner then skims off this "dross" - anything that is less than pure! He then heats the fire hotter which brings more dross to the top which is skimmed off. This cycle of heating the gold and skimming the dross causes the gold to become more and more pure!
God is the great refiner!
6 In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials,
7 that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ.
1 Peter 1:6-7
The fire of God is always a good thing but know this:
THE SAME FIRE THAT "RE-FIRES" US ALSO "REFINES" US!
We so often want God to "re-fire" us with His Divine energy and inspiration but we cannot contain or control His fire to do only that. When it comes, it will also "refine" us. In short, God's fire will do whatever God wants it to do! God will send "fiery" trials to us, which heat us up to a very high temperature! Why? To destroy the gold?
It is important to have this deeply ingrained in us:
THE HIGH TEMPERATURES OF THE REFINING FIRE WILL NEVER HARM THE GOLD!
The refiner has complete control of the fire. Gold can be melted but the refiner will never allow the flames to burn hot enough to melt the gold! It's only hot enough to remove the dross.
Likewise, God's fire will never harm us! God will never allow the fiery trials to exceed our "melting point" - only be hot enough to remove the impurities!
12 Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you;
13 but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy.
1 Peter 4:12-13
Therefore, we should always welcome the fire of God, knowing that we will never be harmed by it - but only purified!
At the same time, we must be fully aware that God will never bypass the refining character of His fire. If we want His fire, we must be willing to accept both the fiery trials which purify us as gold and the Holy Spirit baptism with fire which empowers us!
Father, we pray that you send the Holy Spirit baptism with fire to us. Inspire us, revive us, empower us and energize us to do Your will! We also welcome Your refining fire which burns out impurities from us so that we can reveal Your glory more accurately and more purely!
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