READ: Luke 12:-59
THINK: Is fire good or bad? It can be neither. It can be both. It all depends on how it's used. Fire can destroy a home or consume a pile of rubble. It can cook food, warm the body and even seal a wound. Yet it can also leave permanent scars. When applied to metal, fire will eventually melt it, altering or destroying the original form. Yet, when rough metal becomes liquefied, the fire causes impurities to rise to the top, where they can be skimmed off and eliminated. The metal can then be forged and molded into something new, strong and precious. That's what God does with our lives if we let Him. But one way or another, God's fire will put each of us to the test.
RESPOND: In what way did Jesus' birth bring peace--particularly in a spiritual sense--to those who respond to God's gracious offer of forgiveness and new life through faith in Jesus (cf. Luke 2:14)? In what sense did Jesus coming disrupt people's lives? What did Jesus mean when He said, "I have come to bring fire on the earth" (v. )? (See 12:-51 note.) What can God's "fire" represent? What two main purposes does God's fire have in people's lives, depending on how they respond to Him? In what ways does God's fire purify and refine people's lives? In what ways does fire represent judgment? In what sense does Jesus' life and ministry actually bring division in the world? Why are people in the world at odds with those who follow Jesus? What could verses 57-59 indicate about your relationship with others? What could it indicate about your relationship with God?
PRAY: Ask God to put you through His refining fire, eliminating impurity and preparing you for His highest purposes.
ACT: Make a conscious effort in your attitudes and actions toward others to display the spiritual peace that God has brought to your life. If your faith has led to any tension between you and those close to you, don't push, but make a special effort to show kindness and graciousness to them. Also, if God reveals during your prayer time any spiritual impurities or rough edges, accept His help in removing these issues and refining these areas in your life.
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