Sunday, September 29, 2013

Burning the Trash (Luke 3:17)

"...He’s going to clean house—make a clean sweep of your lives. He’ll place everything true in its proper place before God; everything false he’ll put out with the trash to be burned.” (Luke 3:17 MSG)

NASB translates this by saying Jesus has a winnowing fork in his hand and he will gather the wheat and burn the chaff with an unquenchable fire. 

The Holy Spirit comes into our heart when we allow Him to ignite the fire in our hearts, but John wants us to understand something important. Holy Spirit's job is not to tend the fire. We tend the fire by staying close to our Lord. Our obedience and surrender tends the fire. 

The Holy Spirit gets busy with housecleaning. He wants to keep all that is good (the wheat), but whatever is not good goes straight to the fire. Wikipedia defines chaff as "the dry, scaly protective casings of the seeds of cereal grain..." It's inedible and keeps us from the "good stuff", the nourishing grain inside. Why would we want to hang on to chaff? It's just the waste part. It's wheat trash. How silly we are to argue with The Lord about keeping such useless garbage. But, we do. 

Holy Spirit is no dummy. He knows that, given our druthers, we would try to keep the wheat AND the chaff. Sometimes we are even foolish enough to try to keep the chaff at the expense of the wheat. He has a great solution for that - FIRE. He just burns it up.

Here is the really amazing thing that occurs to me for the first time - maybe the unquenchable fire with which the Holy Spirit has baptized us, the fire of His love in our hearts, is the very fire that burns up our chaff (so we can't get it back) and leaves the wheat. 

How great is that? God is determined to cleanse us and He does it with the powerful fire of His love! Wow! Heart cleanup doesn't seem nearly so scary when we look at it like that, does it?

Well, that brings us to our own chaff. I had a little chaff burning yesterday, and will need some more chaff burned today. I have the worst problem with chaff, but praise God He can handle it! Better yet, He prefers to do a daily clean up rather than handle a mountainous mess at once. He keeps our hearts clean and usable that way. 

Take a look at your life, your heart. What chaff are you storing? What needs to go? Today, invite the Spirit to pile all your chaff on the fire of His love. Just imagine the blaze it will make. The good news is this: burning chaff makes the nicest blaze, and it warms you all the way through!

Today, pray that we and our loved ones will recognize the chaff our Lord sees and will invite Him to cleanse us with His love.