Water purifies by cleansing; fire purifies by refining.
Different purification methods are needed based on the stubbornness of the impurity. Stains on clothing are easily removed with washing, while impurities in gold require an intense refining fire.
In my daily prayer time, the Holy Spirit convicts me of those areas in my life where I fall short. I am quick to surrender the “easy” impurities, e.g., gossip, evil thoughts, or anger. But I find myself rationalizing my pride and resentment, or the sin that so easily ensnares me.
When I surrender these bad habits, God’s forgiveness and cleansing freely cover me. This is when God purifies me with the water of His Word and Spirit. However, when I stubbornly hold on to judgmental attitudes or a prolonged sinful lifestyle, a deeper purification method is needed—God’s refining fire. This fire may come as His providential interference where He sovereignly brings disciplinary events into my life. Or it may also come by way of natural consequences that result from my sinful, unrepentant actions.
Either way, God’s loving discipline is aimed at purifying me more and more each day. In His love, mercy, and grace, He softens my heart and burns away those things I don’t need and He doesn’t want. My loving Father’s goal is to transform me into the image of His Son, Jesus Christ. He seeks to purify, but never to consume.
As a result of the Israelites’ victory over the Midianites, they brought home the spoils of war. To remain ceremonially clean, God told them to purify everything—some items by water, but most by fire. What couldn’t survive the fire was to be purified with the water of purification.
As you experience God’s purifying process, surrender to the work He is doing. Willingly and readily yield the impurities in your life to His cleansing.
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