We had a fire in the fire pit last night. The girls like to pretend we're camping. We get out the marshmallows and s'mores are not long to follow. I love the nights we get to do that.
You see, I'm a bit of a pyromaniac. Ask my husband. I've almost burned the house down a few times. Not intentionally, of course. I'm not one of those kinds of pyros.
So last night, the girls had gone inside to take their baths. Hubby was inside helping them. I was alone. Staring into the fire. Mesmerized. We have an apple tree in our backyard. I tossed some apples in the fire. I haven't ever watched apples burn. They turn shiny. They glisten. And then their skin starts to turn black as their internal protective moisture is dried out by the heat. Soon, they are shriveled and scarred as they succumb.
After the apples, I threw a small stick in the fire. I like the small sticks. It doesn't take long for them to burn. This stick initially glowed and sparked and radiated bright bits of fire. Then it turned an amazing snowy white color. The fire had completely transformed it into something beautiful. And then a weak piece of the branch broke. And the rest crumbled into ashes. Indistinguishable from the rest of the fuel that had been used.
As I sat and watched the objects transform from something beautiful, to something completely destroyed, I realized that fire has a lot of power. And it reminded me a lot of sin.
When we first start sinning, we are usually mesmerized by it's appearance. Sin is rarely ugly in the beginning. Satan wins us over with shiny things. Things that look good. From the outside, we are transformed into something different then we were. Something beautiful or radiant or amazing. At first we don't realize we are being changed. We look amazing at the same time our very being is being demolished. We bask in the beauty while our protective essences are being sucked right out of us.
In the end, sin can completely destroy us. Make us indistinguishable from the other remains of Satan's battle with our God. Sin will consume us. Completely.
And then I think about the song, "Refiner's Fire." The second verse says, "Cleanse me from my sin. Deep within."
So will sin completely destroy us? Or will sin refine us to be more holy?
I think it all depends on what our internal protection is. If we have the Holy Spirit with us, if we are children of God, we can use sin to refine us. To incinerate the things that grieve God. And what's left looks more like God, because hopefully, He's all that's left in our lives. Another way to be set apart for the Lord, as Brian Doerksen wrote.
If we don't have God as our protection, we will be consumed by that same sin. We may live a spectacular looking life, but we are being destroyed from the inside. And soon we will be no different from the rubble that has burned before us.
If I am going to fall into sin, I want there to be an ultimate purpose. One that benefits myself and my God. I don't look forward to the process, but I do look forward to the end result. I want to be holy, set apart for you, Lord.