Tested By Fire
by Adam Howard
Content Coordinator, CBN Europe
Preparation for Guy Fawkes Night are well underway. The bonfire is piled high with broken pallets and old scraps of wood and has been checked thoroughly for hedgehogs. Fireworks have been bought and a suitable perimeter set. As I built the fire, it sparked a thought in me; what materials am I building with in my life?
As we read the bible, we become aware that this life on earth is not the final destination. It is but a temporary address, as we are created and intended for eternity. We long to build something here that lasts and has eternal purposes. However, the materials we use define the longevity of what is built. In 1 Corinthians 3:11-5 (NIV), Paul lays it out like this;
“For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. If anyone builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, their work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each person’s work. If what has been built survives, the builder will receive a reward. If it is burned up, the builder will suffer loss but yet will be saved—even though only as one escaping through the flames.”
Wisdom builds with an eye to the future
So, what does that actually mean?
How can we build something that stands up and stays up when tested by fire? I think it is ultimately a question of whose blueprint we are using. If we build from our own strength, out of our flesh and earthly desires, these things will ultimately fail in the light of eternity’s blaze. Building from ‘self’ may well fulfil the need or serve the purpose in the immediate future but does not have lasting satisfaction. When under pressure or the heat of fire, the structure will fold and fall.
I long to build something that lasts. By building with the right materials, from the Creator’s plan, we get to be a part of something that will outlast our earthly existence. Heavenly building supplies, like integrity, faith, hope and justice; these are the things that when tested by the fire stand strong. Wisdom builds with an eye to future.
Don’t be dismayed. There is always time to shift and change. So, as you pile high the pyre this bonfire night, maybe think about building a spiritual bonfire too. Put on it those things that we have built with that we know are not going to stand the test of time. Lay down the materials of ‘self’; chuck on the doubt and allow God to burn it away by His Spirit. Whatever it is that you feel like you need to lay down into the fire, and however painful that may be, be encouraged. Speak to soul and remember that He always brings beauty from our ashes.
“to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of His splendour.” – Isaiah 61:3 (NIV)
Smile as the fireworks pop, whizz and bang overhead because Heaven celebrates with you; a display of His splendour.