2 Corinthians 7:1 Having, therefore, these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.
Throughout California and Oregon forest fires are still burning out of control. To give you some perspective, early estimates show an economic impact approaching $70 billion dollars and is forecasted to top $85 billion dollars when it's finally over.
Yet even as these raging fires consume the forest, something is quietly going on to prepare their very renewal.
You see, there are an unusual species of Evergreen called the Lodgepole Pine that grows in great numbers throughout Northwest America, especially in Yellowstone Park. A fascinating aspect of this Pine is the uniqueness of its cones. Lodgepole Pine cones may stay on the tree for years before they fall off – and, even when they do fall, they will not open to release their seed...until they are in the presence of intense heat! What could explain this remarkable ecological foresight?
God, having designed nature, even in its fallen condition which includes devastating forest fires, has providentially prepared for their subsequent renewal by designing a Pine tree whose reproduction requires the agent of its own destruction...fire! So, even as trees, wildlife, and all living things are being destroyed in a forest blaze, the seeds of renewal are also being released for the "resurrection" of forest life...because, of course, since their seeds are actually released by the fire, the Lodgestone Pines is the first to grow in an area that's been burned!
In each of our own lives, there are areas that need to be or are already being burned up -- consumed by the "Refining Fire" of God's Holy Spirit. Yet God has also provided for a renewal in us...a "seed" of something brand new, which can only be birthed by intense heat. This new seed, however it manifests in our lives, represents the resurrection life of Christ, which emerges in the presence of His purifying fire. So the Lodgepole Pine is a picture for us, of resurrection and hope in the midst of fiery trials.
Let's endure our fiery trials with great hope, allowing Him to consume everything in us which does not serve His Glory! With so much work to be done -- we must not despise the cleansing process -- even if it means a lot of heat!