"...their work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each person's work"
(1 Corinthians 3:13).
As a teenager, I succumbed to the great curse of the runaway zit! I know. Gross. Please. You have no idea! I used to think that perhaps I could make some extra money by renting out my face to parties as a portable rock-climbing wall. Either that, or traveling topographical map of the Rocky Mountain region of Colorado! Because I was so focused on becoming one of those smooth-faced guys that seemed to have faces that were perfectly chiseled from a rock, I tried everything to hide and to "fix" my face. I discovered a skin colored cream that I would use to try to mask what was there. It seemed to work for a while. But then, I tried one of my Grandmother's "cures." Before bed one night, I covered my face in toothpaste! Try sleeping with fluoride all over your face. Not sure what it was supposed to do for my complexion, but it did wonders for my pores being minty fresh! The next morning I was HORRIFIED! It brought everything that I had been trying to hide to the surface. There was no hiding. However, because it all came to the surface, it was now able to be confronted, cleansed, and cured.
Paul speaks of a fire that exposes all that is hidden. Fire will test the strength, the durability, and the purity of whatever element it comes into contact with. Paul was encouraging the church to take notice of their own "work." What was the condition, the foundation, the results of all they put their hands to? How easy it would have been, and unarguably still is, to mask what we are doing, what we are saying, and what we are thinking, with what we actually do. But, God knows all, and all will be tested to show it for what it is, so that it might become the pure and valuable element He desires it to be.
Is this a tough one for you? Many people have come to closeness with the reality of this truth. The fact is, there are a lot of things in most of our lives that would not stand the heat of the fire. Although the situations that God allows in your life may be uncomfortable, allow Him to use them to reveal what has been beneath the surface, deal with it, and begin again to live in the purity and strength of Jesus in your everyday life.
Let me offer a prayer that, in different ways, has become a constant in my life. "Lord, My God. I ask you to purify my heart. Remove from me all that is standing in the way of Your love for me. All I want is You."