We just celebrated Independence Day and small and large gatherings were everywhere. Picnics, grilling, swimming and most of all, just gathering with friends and family to honor this great country we live in. One thing all or most of these gatherings had in common was a fireworks display. Who doesn’t love a good fireworks production? They are beautiful! Your anticipation mounts as they are fired off and then all of a sudden, Bam! The electric colors explode into the sky and seem to rain down on you. I’m just giddy when I see them. I get so excited. They truly are the cherry on top to a perfect day of celebrating freedom. 

As pretty as fire is to look at, it also has other purposes besides just amazing us with its beauty. Fire purifies. It refines. It takes impurities out of silver and gold. We can use it as light to see in the dark. We can get rid of debris with it. We can warm ourselves with the comfort of it. We can also marvel at The One who created it. He uses it in much the same ways with His children. Since we are receiving a Kingdom that is unshakable, let us be thankful and please God by worshiping him with holy fear and awe. For our God is a devouring fire. (‭Hebrews‬ ‭12‬:‭28-29‬ NLT) This “devouring fire” sounds pretty serious. Basically, because God is so perfect and holy, nothing that gets in His presence has a chance to remain untouched. Whatever it is will be changed by His purifying nature. We have literal traits and habits in our lives that God wants to remove altogether. Only He has the power to devour such things. This is strong language, but He’s very serious about removing anything that gets between Him and His children. The only thing required of us is to trust Him. He loves us. 

Some of this purification might seem a little scary but God loves you too much to leave you the way you are. If you are His child, He wants the very best for you. The very things that are holding you back from becoming all He wants you to be need to be dealt with. But now, O Jacob, listen to the Lord who created you. O Israel, the one who formed you says, “Do not be afraid, for I have ransomed you. I have called you by name; you are mine. When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you. (‭Isaiah‬ ‭43‬:‭1-2‬ NLT) Notice He doesn’t say “if” we go through these things. He says when. But He gives His promise that He will be with us every step of the way. He promises we won’t drown and the fire will not consume us. He will use these very tools to build our character and to refine us into the image of Christ. He knows this is what a dry and thirsty land of people are looking for. We can only be of help to others if we’re purified by Him. 

God’s ways of doing things certainly are not our ways. We like the easiest route possible. We like to be comfortable. We like the coziness of sitting by a nice fire, but the whole purification by fire is a hard pill to swallow. He knows how we feel, but His ways are perfect. So be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you must endure many trials for a little while. These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold—though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world. (‭1 Peter‬ ‭1‬:‭6-7‬ NLT) So we know the trials of life have a time limit and the joy ahead is everlasting. Also, we’re reminded that our faith is more valuable in God’s Kingdom than any amount of gold this world has to offer. He knows what He’s doing! Trust Him with the purification process. He’s burning off the dross and lightening your load. He’s freeing you up to do things with eternal value. You and the world will be better off for it! The Lord is using His fire to prepare and steady us for His assignments on our lives.

As we watched the fireworks on the Fourth of July, we were in awe of the beauty. We saw a dark sky being filled with light that burst onto the scene and took over. Freedom certainly called for such a celebration. How much more does the freedom Christ offer deserve to light up this dark world? We, as His people, should light up any situation we enter on His behalf. We should attract attention for Him. We should burst onto the scene and point to The Giver of all things good. As we know, freedom is certainly not free. It’s costly. Jesus gave His life so we could be free. We should celebrate and allow God, from Heaven, to watch His own beautiful fireworks display. 

 

Today’s writer is Brandi Crowe. A hairdresser for over 25 years, she is currently the owner of Brandi Crowe salon in Buford, GA. She loves hiking, a good cup of coffee and spending time with family and friends. Brandi lives in a custom farmhouse with her husband, Robby and cat, Harold. 

 

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