Yesterday, I wrote about God who is a consuming fire (Jealous? God? Part 1). Just like we escape from a building on fire, we try to escape the fire of God. There is a fire that is exceptionally good for us. Specifically, the Refiner’s Fire.
We must understand one of the basic fundamental beliefs of the Christian faith. It is an inescapable truth we must always keep at the front of our minds. That undeniable truth is that EACH OF US WILL STAND BEFORE GOD ONE DAY. We will answer for how we lived, what we did, and for every idle word spoken. The good fire is a cleansing fire that cleans up the child of God to shape his or her character. We call this the Refiner’s Fire. Our God is a consuming fire. He is also the Refiner who purifies and polishes those who are godly (those who belong to Him).
“Yet He knows the way I have taken, when He has tested me, I will come forth as gold. My feet have followed His tracks; I have kept His ways without turning aside,” (Job 23:10-11).
Job was going through his own personal hell on earth. Job was being refined. Everything that could have gone wrong went wrong. Yet while his wife said, “Curse God and die,” Job maintained his integrity. Job clung to God, and he longed for God. Job went through one trial after another. Those trials shaped his character. It was after he was tested, he came out like gold from the furnace of affliction. “Then Job replied to the Lord: ‘I know that you can do anything, and no one can stop you. You asked, ‘Who is this that questions my wisdom with such ignorance?’ It is I—and I was talking about things I knew nothing about, things far too wonderful for me. You said, ‘Listen and I will speak! I have some questions for you, and you must answer them.’ I had only heard about you before, but now I have seen you with my own eyes. I take back everything I said, and I sit in dust and ashes to show my repentance,’” (Job 42:2-6). At the end of it all, God restored twice as much to him than what he had before all the trials began (Job 42:10-15).
We go through the refining fire when trials and testing come our way. It is a good kind of fire. It is the kind of fire that keeps us on track. It is the kind of fire that removes the impurity (sin) from our life and drives us to repentance before the God we serve. It is the kind of fire that sharpens our character. It is the kind of fire that doesn’t leave us in the muck and mire. It is kind that doesn’t leave us in despair or feeling hopeless. It is the kind of fire that drives us before the face of God to commune with Him. It is the kind of fire that draws us deeper in our relationship with God. It is the Refiner’s Fire.
“…when He has tested me, I will come forth as gold.” God never leaves us alone when we are going through the fire. His Holy Spirit guides us and teaches us through whatever it is that comes our way. Through these times, we progress further in our walk with God. We don’t look back; we continue to press forward. With assurance, we can know we are made overwhelmingly victorious because He loves us.
We must be in right relationship with God, rooted in Jesus Christ, guided by the Holy Spirit, and grounded in the Word of God. There is no neutral ground when it comes to serving the Lord. We cannot have one foot in the world and one foot in God. The foundation of our life MUST BE Jesus Christ. He is the only Sure Foundation, the Chief Cornerstone, which cannot be moved (Isaiah 28:26, Ephesians 2:20, 1 Peter 2:4). He is the One who we can fully trust and put our hope in.
Jesus Christ is the One who baptizes us with the Holy Spirit and with fire. “I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire,” (Matthew 3:11). For the godly, this fire is the fire that will burn away sin out of the lives of the godly. If the ungodly cling and hold on tightly to their sin, this fire is the fire that devours them, the fire that brings devastation.
Remember this: Absolutely nothing is hidden from God. Everything is exposed before Him.
Linda A. Knowles