Fire is inevitable. Fire is terrifying. Fire is awful. Fire is necessary. Fire is refining. Fire is renewing. Fire is energy.
At some stage in our lives, we seem to inevitably experience circumstances that feel like fire, like our whole world may burn to the ground.
We do everything we can to control the flames.
To put them out.
To extinguish them.
To prevent them from ever coming.
I was recently watching a YouTube video from Dr Jordan Peterson, and in it, he shared that in the areas of the US that were prone to forest fires, efforts and strategies were put in place to prevent them.
However, when trees die, they leave deadwood.
Forest fires "clean house" by burning up the deadwood, and allowing for regeneration.
In our efforts to totally prevent forest fires, deadwood was allowed to accumulate.
Eventually, in spite of man's best efforts, lightning strikes and a fire rages.
Because so much deadwood had been allowed to accumulate, the fire raged with such intensity that it scorched the earth down below the topsoil, and as a result, nothing was able to re-grow. That which could have been a forest fire bringing renewal turned into a fire that completely consumed the forest.
He posited that, in avoiding life's fires, we allow so much deadwood to accumulate in ourselves that eventually, when the inevitable fire hits, it completely consumes us. As such, it may be that we are better off embracing smaller fires every so often, whereby the deadwood in our lives can be burned away and renewal can take place.
What is the deadwood in our hearts that we could allow to be burned away?
There are pictures here of the phoenix. Pictures of resurrection. Pictures of Christ.
Throughout scripture (both Old testament and New), we see that the fire that the Almighty brings to our lives is not a forest fire, but a Refiner's fire.
Proverbs 17:3 says "The crucible is for silver, and the furnace is for gold, and the Lord tests hearts."
We see that He is a refiner's fire, and that makes a huge difference. A refiner's fire does not destroy everything in it's path like a forest fire. A refiner's fire does not consume everything entirely like the fire of an incinerator.
A refiner's fire refines.
It melts down the bar of silver or gold, separates out the impurities that ruin its value, burns them up, and leaves the silver and gold intact.
And yet, in 1 Corinthians we read (3:12-15) "The quality of materials used by anyone building on this foundation (Jesus) will soon be made apparent, whether it has been built with gold, silver, and costly stones, or wood, hay, and straw. Their work will soon become evident, for the Day will make it clear, because it will be revealed by blazing fire! And the fire will test and prove the workmanship of each builder. If his work stands the test of fire, he will be rewarded. If his work is consumed by the fire, he will suffer great loss. Yet he himself will barely escape destruction, like one being rescued out of a burning house.
What are you building with?
Has the deadwood cluttered up?
Maybe a voluntary burn off might be in order. Perhaps a "spring clean", lest the fire consumes completely.
"Let me make this clear: A single grain of wheat will never be more than a single grain of wheat unless it drops into the ground and dies (myta). Because then it sprouts and produces (mytya) a great harvest of wheat—all because one grain died"
Jesus gives us an amazing seed here. A seed that was perhaps known in part, and yet was completely without a frame of reference.
Resurrection. What? I mean sure, it's true for plants but people don't come back to life...
We see in time that the seed is indeed his own life.
The Aramaic that Jesus uses contains an interesting wordplay with “it dies” (myta) and “it produces” (mytya).
When we view death, we often see an end. Final. Done. Over. Dead end.
When Jesus saw death, he saw no dead ends.
He saw new life.
He saw production.
He saw regeneration.
He saw all things being made new.
In Him, we can also see that there are no dead ends.
We can see new life.
We can see production.
We can see regeneration.
We can see all things being made new.
Can you see it?