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The Baptism of Fire

The Baptism of Fire

Baptism-of-Fire“Why is this happening to me?” or “Why is God allowing this to happen?”  These are some of the more frequent and difficult questions that ministers, chaplains and pastors get asked.  While each situation is different we should consider that some situations may be part of the Baptism of Fire.

When the subject of baptism comes up it is normally focused on water baptism or the baptism of the Holy Spirit, but today I want to examine a subject a little hotter, The Baptism of Fire.

Much like the baptism of the Holy Spirit, the baptism of fire has an initial event, but is not limited to that one time event.  With the baptism of the Holy Spirit the Bible clearly shows the initial event, but then goes on to tell believers to be filled with the Spirit, walk by the Spirit and even that we can grieve or quench the Holy Spirit.

With the baptism of fire there is also an ongoing refining process that believers go through.  In fact we have a responsibility to participate on an ongoing basis.  The baptism of fire also known as the “Refiner’s fire” is part of being a Christian and is a necessary part of our spiritual growth. 

The Baptism of Fire is mentioned in Luke 3:15-18 and in Matthew 3:5-12.  The baptism of fire mentioned in these passages has two very different aspects.

First, fire represents judgment throughout the Bible.  This aspect primarily applies to the unrepentant or non-believers.  Consider what John the Baptist told the religious leaders in Matthew 3:7-8, 10, 12:

“But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming for baptism, he said to them, ‘You brood of vipers, who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? “Therefore bring forth fruit in keeping with repentance… And the axe is already laid at the root of the trees; every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire… And His winnowing fork is in His hand, and He will thoroughly clear His threshing floor; and He will gather His wheat into the barn, but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.”

This aspect of the baptism of fire can be explored further in passages like Malachi 4:1, Matthew 13:24-30 & 36-43.  It can also be clearly seen in the book of Revelation and the lake of fire. 

Second, fire represents purification and refining in the Bible.  For believers the baptism of fire comes through trials, struggles and even temptations.  Consider these verses on the subject:

“Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing, as though some strange thing were happening to you.” 1 Peter 4:12  

“In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials.  That the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” 1 Peter 1:6-7

In the middle of difficulties when we ask those tough questions like, “why is this happening to me?” or “why is God allowing this to happen?”  We need to consider that God may be using the trials as the Refiner’s fire. 

The Baptism of Fire is somewhat predictable.  Here are a few times when we should be expecting to be touched by the Master’s fire:

  • When we first become a believer.  This is especially true if we are struggling with the old life and behaviors.
  • When you are being called into the ministry or making an advancement in ministry.
  • When we have bad attitudes, bad beliefs or bad behaviors that we justify or are not willing to change it is an open invitation for the Refiner’s fire to discipline us.

There are also two things that can help make the Baptism of Fire an easier and more pleasant experience:

  • Participate in the process.  Consider 2 Timothy 2:19-22 and 1 Corinthians 7:1
  • Understand what is happening and that God is for you and not against you.  Consider Hebrews 12:1-14

If you are experiencing the Baptism of Fire and would like prayer or encouragement you can contact us through the blog or email us using the contact page.

If you have made it through the fire feel free to share how the Lord used it to refine you.

Blessings,

Pastor Dave Smuin
President
NCCChurch.org
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Comments 14

Michael Pagana on Thursday, 21 August 2014 15:19

Hi Dr. Dave,

I just read this article and it's spot on my friend.

For me personally, I find that when I am practicing the Seven Keys to Spiritual Growth which you taught last month, I am in a much healthier position emotionally and spiritually to handle being "distressed by many trials" (1 Peter 1:6).

To briefly review those seven keys, they are the following:

1.READ THE WORD OF GOD - Actually spend quality time reading God's word daily

2. Meditate on God's word - ponder it, think about it, ruminate over it..speak it out, talk it out, process it, etc...you can even memorize the scriptures..

3. Prayer - spending time with the Lord asking God the Holy Spirit to give us further revelation, praising God, asking for help, thanksgiving and listening and ready to receive instruction.

4. Praise - horizontal, boasting about what God is doing in our lives. Speaking out the good things of God. Proclaiming the good things that God has done in our lives. Thanksgiving in all kinds of situations.

5. Worship - Interaction with the presence of God

6. Obedience - True Love will respond with action

7. Fellowship - Developing healthy relationships inside the body of Christ. Who are your best friends? How are your relationships encouraging and developing your spiritual growth?

You wrote, There are also two things that can help make the Baptism of Fire an easier and more pleasant experience:
Participate in the process. Consider 2 Timothy 2:19-22 and 1 Corinthians 7:1
Understand what is happening and that God is for you and not against you. Consider Hebrews 12:1-14

I agree with these suggestions wholeheartedly and I believe your seven keys supports these verses.

Thanks Dr. Dave
Mike

Hi Dr. Dave, I just read this article and it's spot on my friend. For me personally, I find that when I am practicing the Seven Keys to Spiritual Growth which you taught last month, I am in a much healthier position emotionally and spiritually to handle being "distressed by many trials" (1 Peter 1:6). To briefly review those seven keys, they are the following: 1.READ THE WORD OF GOD - Actually spend quality time reading God's word daily 2. Meditate on God's word - ponder it, think about it, ruminate over it..speak it out, talk it out, process it, etc...you can even memorize the scriptures.. 3. Prayer - spending time with the Lord asking God the Holy Spirit to give us further revelation, praising God, asking for help, thanksgiving and listening and ready to receive instruction. 4. Praise - horizontal, boasting about what God is doing in our lives. Speaking out the good things of God. Proclaiming the good things that God has done in our lives. Thanksgiving in all kinds of situations. 5. Worship - Interaction with the presence of God 6. Obedience - True Love will respond with action 7. Fellowship - Developing healthy relationships inside the body of Christ. Who are your best friends? How are your relationships encouraging and developing your spiritual growth? You wrote, There are also two things that can help make the Baptism of Fire an easier and more pleasant experience: Participate in the process. Consider 2 Timothy 2:19-22 and 1 Corinthians 7:1 Understand what is happening and that God is for you and not against you. Consider Hebrews 12:1-14 I agree with these suggestions wholeheartedly and I believe your seven keys supports these verses. Thanks Dr. Dave Mike
Pastor Dave Smuin on Friday, 14 March 2014 18:39

Everything you say is excellent. I think that another reason for "baptism of fire" is that God wants to strengthen or toughen us in preparation for greater tasks ahead. I frequently experience this is my ministry.

Everything you say is excellent. I think that another reason for "baptism of fire" is that God wants to strengthen or toughen us in preparation for greater tasks ahead. I frequently experience this is my ministry.
Guest - Diane Rauma on Thursday, 15 August 2013 15:28

I have been in the Baptism of fire for the last 9 months, this has been the hardest trial with great suffering that I have ever experienced in my life so much so that at times I didn't think I was going to make it and the hardest part was that I didn't have a name for what I was feeling, I just thought I was going crazy, feeling sorry for myself, or that God had just abandon me for what I had done wrong (which I know better), but in my grief it seemed the only logical explanation. I came upon Dr Dave's Baptism of Fire and WOW!! this was my answer.... God didn't abandon me He was refining me for my next endeavor in this life, He was disciplining me because I was off balance, He was refining me to bring new growth and new direction in my life so I can be prepared for what He has in store for me.! I cried my head off because I finally have an answer to what was happening and a realization that He does love me and wants to use me for His glory not my own and I needed to be refined before I can move forward in the work He has called me to do. I'm not quite there yet but now that I know and understand this I know it's only a matter of time, His time. Thank you Dr. Dave, Thank you God for loving me enough to take me through the Baptism of Fire so I can glorify your name!

I have been in the Baptism of fire for the last 9 months, this has been the hardest trial with great suffering that I have ever experienced in my life so much so that at times I didn't think I was going to make it and the hardest part was that I didn't have a name for what I was feeling, I just thought I was going crazy, feeling sorry for myself, or that God had just abandon me for what I had done wrong (which I know better), but in my grief it seemed the only logical explanation. I came upon Dr Dave's Baptism of Fire and WOW!! this was my answer.... God didn't abandon me He was refining me for my next endeavor in this life, He was disciplining me because I was off balance, He was refining me to bring new growth and new direction in my life so I can be prepared for what He has in store for me.! I cried my head off because I finally have an answer to what was happening and a realization that He does love me and wants to use me for His glory not my own and I needed to be refined before I can move forward in the work He has called me to do. I'm not quite there yet but now that I know and understand this I know it's only a matter of time, His time. Thank you Dr. Dave, Thank you God for loving me enough to take me through the Baptism of Fire so I can glorify your name!
Pastor Dave Smuin on Monday, 19 August 2013 14:11

Diane, there are times when we don't fully see what God is doing in our lives. These seasons come and go, but rest assured that He does love you. He is the Vine and you are a branch. He must prune you for growth and to keep His love flowing through you to the others that need it. I pray that the Holy Spirit holds and comforts you through this process.

Diane, there are times when we don't fully see what God is doing in our lives. These seasons come and go, but rest assured that He does love you. He is the Vine and you are a branch. He must prune you for growth and to keep His love flowing through you to the others that need it. I pray that the Holy Spirit holds and comforts you through this process.
Guest - Ron Smiley on Saturday, 25 May 2013 15:53

As I think about baptism of fire, I am reminded that although most people regard fire as a destructive force it in fact can promote growth and change. When we look at God creation, the serotinous pine cone it may stay unopened on the tree for years and only burst open during a forest fire. I know in my life I do not enjoy the fire when I am passing through it. But the refiners fire always shows new growth and direction that I might have never seen without it. However, I must confess I want to learn the lesson the first time and not find myself taking the test a second time.

As I think about baptism of fire, I am reminded that although most people regard fire as a destructive force it in fact can promote growth and change. When we look at God creation, the serotinous pine cone it may stay unopened on the tree for years and only burst open during a forest fire. I know in my life I do not enjoy the fire when I am passing through it. But the refiners fire always shows new growth and direction that I might have never seen without it. However, I must confess I want to learn the lesson the first time and not find myself taking the test a second time.
Guest - Debra King on Thursday, 23 May 2013 15:44

I believe I have been experiencing the Baptism of Fire for over 35 years. With that said, I think it is important for believers to understand that it is simply a part of the process God uses to refine and purify our walks and relationships with Him.

Some where, some how a "no sweat" message crept into the Body of Christ. This message has led many to believe that "IF you truly belong to God and IF you are truly anointed" then you will not be faced with the same difficulties as those who are not. Here is my deeply spiritual response, "hog wash." If Jesus did not live a life of ease ON EARTH, what makes us think we will?

In 35 years, of walking with the Lord, God has taught me many valuable lessons. One day, He clearly spoke this to my heart..."It is not what you go through or do not go through that glorifies me, BUT it is how you handle through it." My goal is to glorify God...NO MATTER WHAT!

I believe I have been experiencing the Baptism of Fire for over 35 years. With that said, I think it is important for believers to understand that it is simply a part of the process God uses to refine and purify our walks and relationships with Him. Some where, some how a "no sweat" message crept into the Body of Christ. This message has led many to believe that "IF you truly belong to God and IF you are truly anointed" then you will not be faced with the same difficulties as those who are not. Here is my deeply spiritual response, "hog wash." If Jesus did not live a life of ease ON EARTH, what makes us think we will? In 35 years, of walking with the Lord, God has taught me many valuable lessons. One day, He clearly spoke this to my heart..."It is not what you go through or do not go through that glorifies me, BUT it is how you handle through it." My goal is to glorify God...NO MATTER WHAT!
Pastor Dave Smuin on Tuesday, 21 May 2013 23:26

I think this is definitely something we all experience at sometime or another on our walk with Christ. I think this gives a different perspective to being refined with firey trials. I know I have been through things myself and didn't identify them as such at the time but looking back I do think God was using those experience to refine me.

I think this is definitely something we all experience at sometime or another on our walk with Christ. I think this gives a different perspective to being refined with firey trials. I know I have been through things myself and didn't identify them as such at the time but looking back I do think God was using those experience to refine me.
Pastor Dave Smuin on Friday, 17 May 2013 13:10

I found it interesting that on Monday and Tuesday, I actually experienced an incident of refining, and then on Wed. I was discussing the situation with my Pastor and he shared a synopsis paralleling your blog as the "Why" for what I was experiencing. Refusing to focus on the trial but instead, keeping my eyes on Jesus, the Lord gave me the promise of great testimony for His glory at the end of this season.
Your blog timely? ..... Yes, Divinely! Good word and wonderful conference call.

I found it interesting that on Monday and Tuesday, I actually experienced an incident of refining, and then on Wed. I was discussing the situation with my Pastor and he shared a synopsis paralleling your blog as the "Why" for what I was experiencing. Refusing to focus on the trial but instead, keeping my eyes on Jesus, the Lord gave me the promise of great testimony for His glory at the end of this season. Your blog timely? ..... Yes, Divinely! Good word and wonderful conference call.
Guest - Norma Burns on Thursday, 16 May 2013 21:35

Dear Dr. Dave .. It has been a good piece on Baptism of Fire. I have enjoyed reading It. This has given me new hope as I Refined , my life in the present of the Lord . As I grow each day in his Loveling care. Has I look back in my own life it remained of all the failed that I had in life how I have over then , and how great the love of God is to us that he send his only Son to die on the cross for us all So I consider myself as an example to others as I live my is god grace ....God bless. .........
Norma. Burns

Dear Dr. Dave .. It has been a good piece on Baptism of Fire. I have enjoyed reading It. This has given me new hope as I Refined , my life in the present of the Lord . As I grow each day in his Loveling care. Has I look back in my own life it remained of all the failed that I had in life how I have over then , and how great the love of God is to us that he send his only Son to die on the cross for us all So I consider myself as an example to others as I live my is god grace ....God bless. ......... Norma. Burns
Guest - Mark F. Ardois on Thursday, 16 May 2013 21:12

As followers of Christ, we must accept that suffering part of our cup if we desire to come and follow after Christ. The trials seen to come in waves at times, but the Lord has sustained and strengthened my faith each time. These trials of fire have not only helped me grow closer to the Lord, but I am able empathize with those who come to me for counseling in a much deeper and sincere way. I loved this article and how it helps to take away the notion that somehow when someone becomes a Christian, everything in their life is going to get better. We were never promised that and in fact were promised the opposite at times. "...For I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content." This was only mad e possible in my life through many a fiery trial.

As followers of Christ, we must accept that suffering part of our cup if we desire to come and follow after Christ. The trials seen to come in waves at times, but the Lord has sustained and strengthened my faith each time. These trials of fire have not only helped me grow closer to the Lord, but I am able empathize with those who come to me for counseling in a much deeper and sincere way. I loved this article and how it helps to take away the notion that somehow when someone becomes a Christian, everything in their life is going to get better. We were never promised that and in fact were promised the opposite at times. "...For I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content." This was only mad e possible in my life through many a fiery trial.
Guest - Deb Gibboney on Tuesday, 14 May 2013 14:58

A quick "PS" to my previous posting. Garris Elkins has an excellent article posted this very day on "Elijah List" regarding the very subject of suffering. How timely, huh?

http://elijahlist.com/words/display_word.html?ID=12136

A quick "PS" to my previous posting. Garris Elkins has an excellent article posted this very day on "Elijah List" regarding the very subject of suffering. How timely, huh? http://elijahlist.com/words/display_word.html?ID=12136
Guest - Deb Gibboney on Tuesday, 14 May 2013 14:20

Dr. Dave, Thank you for going where few are willing to go. Wonderful truth on the baptism of fire; great food for thought and motivation for willingness to be conformed into His Image. THe Scriptures are very clear; first the suffering, then the glory. Or more accurately, it is IN/THROUGH righteous suffering that we enter into the revelation of His Glory. It is the way of identification with Jesus. 2Cor.4:10

Dr. Dave, Thank you for going where few are willing to go. Wonderful truth on the baptism of fire; great food for thought and motivation for willingness to be conformed into His Image. THe Scriptures are very clear; first the suffering, then the glory. Or more accurately, it is IN/THROUGH righteous suffering that we enter into the revelation of His Glory. It is the way of identification with Jesus. 2Cor.4:10
Pastor Dave Smuin on Monday, 13 May 2013 21:55

Dr. David

I see that you put this statement in your blog about the baptism with fire, “When you are being called into the ministry or making an advancement in ministry.” I have found this to be very true. As for me, I spent 13 months wondering what God was going to open for me for my next career after my 20 years of military service. After several almost job offers that mysteriously disappeared as quick as they came about made me wonder. Now I know God was preparing me for full time ministry. He was purposely shutting doors and opened another at where I was volunteering at the Gospel Rescue Mission. Just prior to retirement in the military, I came up with several options and the last one was ministry. When I went to the job counselor as a part of my separation process, the counselor asked me what about ministry? I see that you have it down as an option. I told her that I was not ready for that yet I am still looking for my 6 figure salary job first. Well God is patient and had a new career for me but I was not willing to jump into it. I needed to be refined by the fire of God before I would be humble enough to walk through that door. It took 13 months to get me to the end of self before I saw that God was calling me to full time ministry. I am still wrapping my mind around being in full time ministry but by God’s grace it has been good. It has been a freeing experience to trust in Him and not on my own abilities. Thank God for the refining fire!

Dr. David I see that you put this statement in your blog about the baptism with fire, “When you are being called into the ministry or making an advancement in ministry.” I have found this to be very true. As for me, I spent 13 months wondering what God was going to open for me for my next career after my 20 years of military service. After several almost job offers that mysteriously disappeared as quick as they came about made me wonder. Now I know God was preparing me for full time ministry. He was purposely shutting doors and opened another at where I was volunteering at the Gospel Rescue Mission. Just prior to retirement in the military, I came up with several options and the last one was ministry. When I went to the job counselor as a part of my separation process, the counselor asked me what about ministry? I see that you have it down as an option. I told her that I was not ready for that yet I am still looking for my 6 figure salary job first. Well God is patient and had a new career for me but I was not willing to jump into it. I needed to be refined by the fire of God before I would be humble enough to walk through that door. It took 13 months to get me to the end of self before I saw that God was calling me to full time ministry. I am still wrapping my mind around being in full time ministry but by God’s grace it has been good. It has been a freeing experience to trust in Him and not on my own abilities. Thank God for the refining fire!
Guest - Jen Keyes on Monday, 13 May 2013 17:58

Dr Dave, Great piece on the Baptism of the Holy Spirit, it is a great reminder of the on going process of the Lord's work in us as His people. The refining is critical to to His plans and mission for our lives for Him and with Him. I truly believe that God does not provide the negative and difficult challenges in our lives, our personal will and the enemies plots are enough to try to keep us distracted and off tract, but if we allow the Holy Spirit to work and flourish in our lives, God will use these difficulties to refine our hearts for Him. Our job as believers is to welcome this refining for the glory of God. , " That the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” 1 Peter 1:6-7

Amen Jen Keyes

Dr Dave, Great piece on the Baptism of the Holy Spirit, it is a great reminder of the on going process of the Lord's work in us as His people. The refining is critical to to His plans and mission for our lives for Him and with Him. I truly believe that God does not provide the negative and difficult challenges in our lives, our personal will and the enemies plots are enough to try to keep us distracted and off tract, but if we allow the Holy Spirit to work and flourish in our lives, God will use these difficulties to refine our hearts for Him. Our job as believers is to welcome this refining for the glory of God. , " That the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” 1 Peter 1:6-7 Amen Jen Keyes
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