What the Fire Leaves Behind

I was recently reminded of the wonderful scripture found in Isaiah 43:2 – “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.”

I’ve thought a lot about going through the fire and what it means, especially as it relates to Isa 43:2.  The scripture does not say that nothing will be burned.  That nothing will be destroyed or changed.  It says you will not be burned, and the flames will not consume you.

This concept gets me stirred up.  It brings a whole new understanding to this scripture.  You see, we have many things that are attached to our lives.  Some of these things are beneficial and some are not.  We own things, we are given things, and some things we create ourselves.  When we go through the fire Isa 43:2 promises that we will not be hurt, but it does not make the same promise to those things we possess.  But as Jesus clearly pointed out in Luke 12:15 – Then he said, “Beware! Guard against every kind of greed. Life is not measured by how much you own.”  Your life is not measured by the things you possess.  When you pass through the fire some of these things may get burned or destroyed.  When the three Hebrew children were thrown into the fiery furnace they were not burned.  But the ropes that bound them were destroyed.  In like manner, God may have you pass through the fire in order to free you from things that keep you bound.

But, let’s be honest.  I like things.  Money, houses, cars, TV sets, computers, microwave ovens, the list is endless.  I like these things.  I’ve spent a lifetime accumulating and taking care of these things.  But should God see that these things have become too important, then I may have to go through the fire, so that during the testing only those things that are beneficial to me remain.

Finally, Paul said our life will be tested by fire.  1 Cor 3:13-15 – “But on the judgment day, fire will reveal what kind of work each builder has done. The fire will show if a person’s work has any value.   If the work survives, that builder will receive a reward.   But if the work is burned up, the builder will suffer great loss. The builder will be saved, but like someone barely escaping through a wall of flames.”

Somehow, I believe if our life is tested now, in this life, there will be less loss come judgment day.  It is not wrong to have, possess, and accumulate things.  But, these things are not to be the center and focus of our entire life.  They are to be used and controlled, not using us, or controlling us.  They are to be kept in their proper place.

Going through the fire, helps us keep focus on those things that are most important.  It helps us to understand the temporal nature of man’s existence.

When my dad died, he left my mom financially independent.  But the things he left behind were of a simple man.  Simple tools, a few suits, shirts, ties, cufflinks, some golf clubs, and a few odds and ends.  Not much to show for a person’s life.  But these things did not make up the man.  A man is much more than his possessions.

What are we clinging to?  What are we holding onto?  Do we have them in their proper place?  If the fire should take them away, will we be ok?

One Response to “What the Fire Leaves Behind”

  1. John O. Says:

    Another excellent one, Chuck. Gonna read this to my Sunday school class this Sunday.

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