See that you do not refuse Him who speaks. For if they did not escape who refused Him who spoke on earth, much more shall we not escape if we turn away from Him who speaks from Heaven, whose voice then shook the earth; but now He has promised, saying, "Yet once more I shake not only earth, but also Heaven." Now this, "Yet once more," indicates the removal of those things that are being shaken, as of things that are made, that the things which cannot be shaken may remain. Therefore since we are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us have grace, by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear. For our God is a consuming fire. Hebrews 12:25-29
The fire of God burns only that which is dead or dry in our lives as well as those things that are not of Him. When I was a young Christian I made a statement that I wanted to be totally poured out on the altar of God. If I had only known what that meant and what was required of me, I would have kept my mouth shut. God not only poured me out but is totally burning everything out of my life that He doesn't want me to have, and the things that He doesn't want to have me.
Since the beginning of time forest fires have raged across the earth purging the forests of dead wood, brush, weeds and anything else that would hinder the growth of the trees. Scientists have discovered that these fires are not only good for the forest but are necessary for the trees to germinate. It seems that the heat of the fire causes the trees to drop their seeds to the floor where they will begin to sprout and grow new trees. The excess foliage and brush is consumed and the forest is not only replanted but purged of all that would otherwise hinder its growth.
This consuming fire seems to be the same plan for believers to not only be purged of evil and dead wood, but necessary to bear fruit for the kingdom of God. The fire of God enables us to be pruned of those things that can be removed as the passage in Hebrews states, that those things that are of God may remain even though they are shaken or burned. Throughout the word of God men and women suffered greatly for the kingdom and many have even given up their lives for God and His purposes. Even the Son of the Most High gave up His life so that we could inherit eternal life.
"Most assuredly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much fruit." John 12:24
If we are sons of God we will experience His all consuming fire and we will become fruitful in His kingdom. Jesus said, that He was the vine and we are the branches and that His Father was the vine dresser and that every branch that does not bear fruit is taken away, and every branch that bears fruit is pruned, that it may bear more fruit. In order for the vineyard to become fruitful and bear fruit its branches must be pruned so that the vine can sustain those branches that are bearing fruit.
For thirteen years I was on top of the mountain of God and had accomplished all that I had set out to do to help Him establish His kingdom on earth, or so I thought. I had a very successful Christian drug rehab and a small but flourishing church doing all the right things and seemingly on the right track. But one morning I woke up hearing the Spirit whisper in my ear, "Everything is about to change." The problem was that I had to die and be pruned in order to bear more fruit for the kingdom in His timing.
The all consuming fire had come into my life and everything was about to change drastically before my very eyes and there was absolutely nothing that I could do about it. All hell broke out as I went through a divorce and the successful ministry that I had worked so hard to build suddenly crumbled and I was all alone in the world with nothing. I thought God was finished with me, but He was only beginning. Everything I tried failed, and every door closed, it seemed that God was a million miles away.
I wish I could tell you that things immediately got better, but they didn't, I remarried and attempted to go back into ministry and at times things would flourish but then they would shut down and finally four years ago completely died. God told me to sell my possessions and follow Him to South Texas where He gave me great revelation and insight into the church of the end times. I know now that if I had not been purged of selfish ambition, greed and a prideful attitude that He would never been able to give me this revelation.
The apostle Paul said, that he was given a thorn in his flesh because of the greatness of the revelations that God was giving him to keep him from becoming prideful. Allowing the fire to do its cleansing work is very painful and eventually will consume everything you hold on to that's not of Him. You will never possess all of Him, until He possesses all of you!
If you are experiencing trials and tribulations in your life and feel that they will never end you may well be in the midst of the fire. Just keep your eyes on the Author and finisher of your faith and trust in the fact that He loves you and has your best interests at heart, or should I say, His best interests? None the less, He knows that the fire will bring new growth and new life to everything that you set your hand to do in the future and that your destiny will be fulfilled in His timing.
Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you; but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ's sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy. I Peter 4:12,13