BAPTISM OF FIRE
We are told that "Every man's work shall be made known... because it shall be tried with fire" (1 Corinthians 3:13). We must understand that in God's purpose for the church, we are on trial right now. Every aspect of our lives will be immersed in the fire of adversity to test it. This includes our own lives, our families, our work, our ministries and our Christian relationships. If these things withstand this immersion into trial (fire) we know they have been established in God. If they do not survive, they were established in out own strength.
The trials and tribulations we endure are for a purpose. They refine us just as fire refines precious metals (Malachi 3:2-3). If gold and silver are refined in the fire, how much more precious are we ? "God the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, according to His great mercy has begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled reserved for you in heaven. .... In this you rejoice greatly, though for a time if need be you are in heaviness through many temptations that the trial of your faith (being much more precious than gold which is tried in the fire) may be found to the praise and glory and honour at the appearing of Jesus" (1 Peter 1:3-7).
God is like a refiner's fire... and he shall sit as a refiner and a purifier of silver" (Malachi 3:2-3). Jesus refines our lives using the "fire" of trial to show up any flaws in our lives.
Trials and tribulations are an opportunity for the Lord to mold our character. Weakness will never show up unless pressure is applied. Don't be overcome when trouble comes. The Lord may use this as an opportunity to develop holiness in you. "It is written, be holy for I am holy" (1 Peter 1:16). This is God's commandment to his children.
God desires that we be transformed (Romans 12:2), but this requires time, correction and refining. We must have our old ways of thinking "burned away" by the Holy Spirit until we reflect the image of God.
But how do we become holy?
Holiness comes when we submit ourselves to God's discipline in our lives. "My son, despise not the chastisement of the Lord, nor faint when you are corrected by him, for the Lord chastises all whom he loves and scourges all he wants to receive as sons... God does this for our own good, that we may be partakers of his holiness." (Hebrews 12:5-6;10). God makes us holy by constantly testing and correcting us.
Trials and tribulation also builds spiritual strength. Just as an athlete builds strength by constant work, so faith is built up through trials. Holiness is faith put to the test and proven. How can we become "over comers" (Revelation Chapter 2 & 3) if we have nothing to overcome ? As we overcome our trials we become strong in faith.
When God sends out His Holy fire upon us it is so that we may become partakers of His nature (Hebrews 12:5-10, 2 Peter 1:4). And this we must hold in mind "Christ was made perfect through suffering" (Hebrews 2:10).
Our part in this is simply to offer ourselves to Him, totally and freely, that He might "transform our nature" to that of His Son (Romans 12:1-2), for we are "predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son" (Romans 8:29).
The source of these trials may be many and varied, but often they come from the most unexpected places. Most often our greatest tormentors are our "Christian Brothers". If God is doing a new and precious thing in us, those who have fallen into the ways of tradition will be threatened by it. Human nature is to fight anything which threatens us. So do not be discouraged when your "Brothers" turn on you. Rather understand that these things must be, so that those who are approved may be seen by their faithfulness under trial (1 Corinthians 11:19).
This must not stop us from loving them as Jesus commanded us. Anyone can fight to defend themselves, it takes a special person to be able to sit quietly and take it. Remember in the trial of Jesus before His crucifixion He was silent.
Elijah and the Prophets of BaalRead 1 Kings 18:17-40
The fire which came upon Elijah's offering was a sign to those around him of God's acceptance of Elijah. It is with us also. The baptism of fire is a sign of God's acceptance of us. Jesus said, "Blessed are they who are persecuted for righteousness sake for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when men shall revile you, and persecute you and say all manner of things against you for my name's sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad for great is your reward in heaven for so they persecuted the prophets before you. " (Matthew 5:10-12).
Moses and the Burning BushRead Exodus 3:1-6
It must be seen that the fire of God was upon this bush yet the bush was not consumed. This is how it is when the baptism of fire comes upon us. We are burn for God yet are not consumed. We are a precious creation of God. He would not do anything which would defile His creation.
Although we are sore pressed on all sides, God gives us hope. With this we may endure the trials. We have been called to "offer ourselves as living sacrifices" (Romans 12:1). This is necessary if we are to have a total transformation of nature from the Human nature to the Divine nature. When we are baptised in the Fire of God it is that He alone may be glorified. There is nothing we can do. It will be beyond our control. The trial of fire will reveal what our lives are "made of".
The fire of God shall fall upon us. If our lives have been built on the rock of the word of the Lord (Matthew 7:24 - 27) the glory of God will be seen in us, for it is God's will that "He reveal His Son in us" (Galatians 1:16). I am sure we do not understand our own salvation. When we accept the truth of Jesus a mighty miracle takes place in us. God raises Jesus up from our death. Remember "It is no longer I who lives but Christ who lives in me" (Galatians 2:20). Indeed Christ is raised from the dead daily as people are "born again". Within each believer Christ is raised up by the power of God. This is the power of His resurrection at work in us. We are no longer our own. We have been bought with a great price so that we may show the "manifold wisdom of God to principalities and powers in heavenly places" (Ephesians 3:9).
"For God who is rich in mercy ..... even while we were dead in sin has quickened us together with Christ. He has raised us up together and made us sit together in heavenly places" (Ephesians 2:5-6). What more can be said. Yes we have trials, but they are the mighty workings of God in us.
Created: 23 - Jan - 1997.