Testing by Fire
"But there is going to come a time of testing at the judgment day to see what kind of work each builder has done. Everyone's work will be put through the fire to see whether or not it keeps its value. If the work survives the fire, that builder will receive a reward."1
Greg Asimakoupoulos writes about Nome, a village on the edge of the Bering Sea. "Nome . . . is like many villages of the Artic. The ground on which the community sits is frozen, sponge-like tundra. Sanitation landfills are unheard of. Garbage trucks do not haul off the kind of refuse we leave curbside each week. Instead, a typical front yard displays broken washing machines, junked cars, old toilets, scrap wood, and piles of non-degradable refuse.
"Tourists who visit Nome in the summer are amazed at the debris and shake their heads. 'How could anyone live like that?' they wonder.
"What those visitors do not realize is that for nine months of the year Nome sits under a blanket of snow that covers the garbage. During those months the little town is a quaint winter wonderland of pure white landscapes."2
In some ways many of our personal lives are like that. We have hidden all sorts of junk, unresolved issues from the past, bad habits that have us beaten, impaired relationships, etc., etc., and we make the outside of our life to appear as if we have it all together and everything is fine.
True, I "may" be able to hide who I really am on the inside from you, from my family and friends, but one thing is certain: I cannot hide from God. One day who I really am will be revealed by God for all to see. Much smarter and healthier to clean up our life now while the door of opportunity is so wide open. No matter what we have ever done or have failed to do, God is ready to forgive us, to heal us, to deliver us if we are truly repentant and acknowledge who and what we really areónot to whitewash over our sins with a covering of "snow" but wash us "whiter than the snow."
Suggested prayer, "Dear God, help me to see who and what I am on the inside, not to put myself down or to berate myself, but to be real and acknowledge the fact that in your sight I am a sinner and need your salvation. And, in the words of David, 'Purify me from my sins, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.'3 Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully in Jesus' name, amen."
1. 1 Corinthians 3:13-14 (NLT).
2. Greg Asimakoupoulos, Leadership, Winter 1999. Cited in Encounter magazine (Australia), April/May 2004, 17.
3. Psalm 51:7 (TLB)(NLT).