I have been stirred recently by the connection of several Scriptures, and I pray that the Lord will write through me what I feel He has written on my heart.
John the Baptist said that One would come after him who would baptize with the Holy Spirit and with fire. I have often pictured being baptized with His fire as becoming more passionate for Him, excited and powerful with the fire of the Holy Spirit. And while I do believe that all of this is true, an interesting perspective has overwhelmed me.
I want you to picture Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego in the fiery furnace. Then I want you to imagine that you are with the apostle Paul on the island of Malta. The heat had been turned up in these individuals' lives, yet what remained after the trials was faith that was of more worth than gold.
The three men were thrown into the fire, yet all that was burned was the bondage that went in with them. The apostle Paul encountered a serpent that had been driven out by the heat of the fire; however, between the two of them, the flames only claimed one of their lives.
We are tried and refined in the fire. It is the trials that test our faith that develop the perseverance and character that pleases the Lord. I'm sure that Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego were not desiring to be thrown into a furnace to prove their faith and to prove who is God...but I know that they had to be called out of it by the king, because they found they were not alone in there. I'm sure that Paul was not looking for a snake to bite him so that his faith in God could be tested and proven...but I know that what should have killed him was shaken off of him, leaving him unharmed.
I trust the One who baptizes with the Holy Spirit and with fire, and I trust that what does not need to remain in my life will be burned up, shaken off and left consumed in the flames.
O Lord, may we lay ourselves down on the altar today, trusting You to consume the sacrifice. May the fiery trials that we must endure only prove our faith, and prove Your faithfulness. Thank You, Lord. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
1 Peter 1:6-7