The Beautiful Fire

  • Randy Karlberg
Fire pit

I love a good fire!  The dancing of the flames, the smell in the air that brings your mind back to pleasant days, the glow of the light often against the backdrop of dark.  These are just some of the positive outcomes of having a fire.  And I know that I am not alone in being attracted to fire.  My wife is equally enchanted at the fireside.  If you don’t want the challenges that having a fire brings, you can even get recorded visible flames that also will crackle through your speakers provided you have the correct App or media subscription.  Now granted this does not compare to real flames.  But nor does it have the caution and responsibility that a real fire brings.  

We all understand that when a fire is not contained to its boundaries, it quickly becomes a devastating force that can bring incredible destruction, sometimes with lethal implications.  Walking through a town that has experienced a wildfire will easily display the destructiveness of fire.  And yet there is little substitute for the refining attributes fire can bring.  The metallurgist understands the difference between silver or gold that has not been refined through fire and the precious metal that has.  With each level of fire passed, the metal becomes purer.  And it is this historical method of refinement that Peter uses when he speaks to Christians in his first epistle.  

I Peter 1:6-9 reads:

“In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith, more precious than gold that perishes through it is tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelations of Jesus Christ.  Though you have not seen Him, you love Him.  Though you do not now see Him, you believe in Him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.”

 We are encouraged here that the difficult times we face on earth are refining us similar to that of gold being refined by fire.  Hopefully, you have seen the sinful impurities you possess rise to the surface through trials in your life.  Allowing the Lord to “scrape off” these impurities in us does lead to spiritual refinement.  Realizing this is the process we are going through can help us in these times of trial.  I think it can change our questions from “why” to “what?”  What do you have for me to learn from this Lord?  And the reality is that sometimes even that question is not answered in the timeline we desire.  But there is more to what Peter is saying in this process.  

The real goal goes beyond the preciousness of gold.  Because it says that the precious gold will be consumed through this fiery trial.  The real precious outcome is the salvation of our souls through our faith in Jesus Christ.  This eternal mindset is critical to our eternity.  The joy is described as being too great for words when we realize what our faith and confession in Jesus has given us.  Even the universal value of gold does not register as a comparison.  The eternal reality of the Heavenly treasure we have through Jesus Christ leaves us no other response than indescribable joy!  

So what does this concept do for your heart and mind?  What impact will this have on you when you are faced with life trials?  Will your questions for God change as you contemplate the eternal refinement surging through your being?  The very familiar passage from Isaiah 40 comes to mind as I think about trials in my life and what God is doing in me through them.  Isaiah 40:29-31

“He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might He increases strength.  Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.” 

I hope you are resting in the Lord’s strength today focusing on the Joy of eternity with Jesus.