My first car was a ’69 Nova. It was orange with steel rims and a jacked up rear end. It had a 307 engine and manual three speed transmission. I paid $800 for it in 1974, and that left me just enough money to purchase auto insurance. I could only afford to put a dollar or two of gas in at a time. I actually never filled the tank for the first several months that I owned it. Then, with some Christmas money, I was able to fill my tank. I was so happy to not have to stop at the station every other day. But right after I filled it with gas for the first time it started to die without warning. It would barely start. After much diagnosis the mechanic told me that I needed a new gas tank because the top half of it was rusted and the gas line and carburetor was clogged with rust. What a bummer!
Jesus warns against a life overcome by rust: “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy.” [Matthew 6:19]
Jesus died and rose to give us a full life. This is His promise to His followers in John 10:10. His plan is to keep us filled by the presence of the Holy Spirit. Christ promises to fill us with really good stuff, but he must first install a new life and clear out all the gunk [sin, rebellion, iniquity, selfishness, etc.]. There is a process necessary for us to experience this full life.
Some helpful, though somewhat scary, analogies are given in Luke 3 and Matthew 3 having to do with fire and a winnowing fork. John the Baptist was baptizing with water but he said that the Christ would baptize “with the Spirit and fire.” [Luke 3:16] In Matthew’s account he also adds, “His winnowing fork is in his hand and he will clear his threshing floor, gathering his wheat into the barn and burning up the chaff with unquenchable fire.” [Matthew 3:11-12] Jesus uses, the Bible says, fire and a winnowing fork to purify us.
The fire is a metaphor, but a good one nonetheless. He will refine your life. It is painful to let go of the control and selfishness that our sin demands of us. The fork was used to throw grain up into the air so that the useless chaff would separate or blow away from the valuable grain. This separation of what is valuable and useless in our lives is also a painful but necessary process. We cannot be filled with our sin and self and be filled with Christ at the same time.
Have you experienced this work of Christ in your life? You’d know it if you have experienced it. Do you avoid the work He intends to do in your life to make you new and fill you with a life that really counts? I am reading an excellent book by Henry and Melvin Blackaby called Experiencing the Spirit. I recommend it to everyone because in it you can learn of the life and power Christ intends for you. It could serve as fire and a fork in the hands of Christ to do more work in your life.
Please don’t waste your life on lesser things, y’all! Invite the ongoing work of the Spirit to continue to fill you with all Christ intends.
I love you all!