When we as bible students think about fire, there may be several stories and verses that come to mind. For Instance, you may think of Ephesians 2:21 which tells us that God uses His refining fire to prepare us to be “fitly framed” in His temple. In contrast, it is interesting how the world uses fire in another sense. As a form of destruction.
This form of destruction is especially prevalent in the country of Myanmar where fire is used as a means to terrorize and control.
Just recently on June 9th of this year, Myanmar junta soldiers set fire to a Thantlang Baptist Church that at the time was the church home of 600 or more families. This was done in efforts made by the government to help in eradicating what they call the “C-Virus”, a term coined by the Myanmar government in reference to Christians and Christianity.
I could not imagine watching my church burn.
However, like in the story of Shadrach Meshach and Abednego, the believers in Myanmar are not alone in the flames. It is there that Lord joins them and us. It is there that Jesus reminds us how we view the things of this world through the eyes of someone whose eternal home and life are elsewhere.
They may burn our buildings, homes, possessions, or even our bodies but these are things that we considered burned on the altar a long time ago when we were buried with Christ and resurrected into a new life.
I don’t want to sound detached from or understate the pain of loss involved in these situations but I do want to draw attention to the fact that this pain does not have a claim on our lives or our faith as it endures. And unlike the world, our treasure is not in our buildings, possessions, or physical appearance.
The Apostle Paul reminds us in 1 Corinthians 3:12 - 14 “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.”
The Holy Fire of God is something that tests, refines, and purifies. It’s the fire in the wilderness that leads us by day and comes between us and the enemy. It is this fire that burns in the heart of everyone who believes.
This is the fire that already has a claim on us.
So as we pray for our brethren in Myanmar, let us be reminded of how though we all experience some form of loss in the name of Jesus, we count it as joy for the things that we have in eternity with Him are unable to be touched by any flame of destruction. This is the eternal hope that we have. The things of this world will pass away, but what we have in Christ will endure forever.
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