This morning as I was spending quiet time with God, I was also praying for a friend who has been ill. In the midst, God reminded me of something I once prayed for her. “Father, give her beauty for ashes, just as Your Word promises.” As I prayed this over her, the Lord immediately spoke to my heart and said, “you can’t have beauty without ashes, and you can’t have ashes without fire.”

Lately, my friend has been going through the fire. While that process is not fun, there is a reward at the end.

Isaiah 61:3 says, To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he might be glorified.

The word beauty means that He will beautify us with His glory. He will place His glory upon us. However, that comes after the ashes, not before.

1 John 1:8-9 says, If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

We all have things in us that need to be purified. There is only one way to remove these things from our life, and that is through God and His fire.

Hebrews 12:29 tells us, Our God is a consuming fire!’ It is His fire alone that will cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Malachi 3:2-3 says, But who can endure the day of His coming? And who can stand when He appears? For He is like a refiner’s fire and like launderer’s soap. He will sit as a refiner and a purifier of silver.

Zechariah 13:8-9 says, And it shall come to pass in all the land, says the Lord, that two-thirds in it shall be cut off and die, But one-third shall be left in it: I will bring the one-third through the fire, will refine them as silver is refined, and test them as gold is tested. They will call on My name, and I will answer them. I will say, this is My people; And each one will say, the Lord is my God.

We see from scripture that it is God who refines. Silver is refined only one way, by fire.

Purification comes one way. By being plunged into the heart of the fire, the place where the fire is the hottest. And kept there until it is completely purified. Until it loses all resemblance of what it once was. This is what happens when we confess our sins to God, He is faithful and just to forgive us and cleanse and purify us from that sin.

I want you to notice that the scripture does not say that God is like a forest fire or an incinerators fire. It says He is like a refiner’s fire. There is a difference.

A forest fire destroys everything in its path. An incinerator consumes completely. A refiner’s fire does not work that way.

The Bible says in Malachi 3, I the Lord do not change, therefore you, O sons of Jacob, are not consumed, you are not destroyed.

Our God is like a refiner’s fire. He refines, He purifies. He removes all the impurities. He burns them up and leaves the gold, or silver, intact.

It reminds me of brush fires. I have burned brush in my backyard. I usually have a large fire that takes hours or even overnight to burn. If I put the fire out too early, it leaves debris. However, most times I allow the fire to burn until there is nothing left but ashes. This takes time, normally I leave it burning all day and all night. This is what God does. He wants us to allow His fire to burn in us until it burns everything that is not of Him. Until the only thing left is ashes. Then and only then, He will turn the beauty into ashes. Then we will walk in His glory.

While thinking through this, I realized something. Many of us are going through this refiner’s fire at this very moment. God is showing us areas in our life that need to be burned away. Areas of fear, doubt, unbelief. These things cannot remain in us – we must fully rely on God and His Word.

I believe it is time to do some soul searching. To ask God to show us anything and everything that would hinder us from walking in His glory. Let’s ask Him not to stop the process, but to keep the fire burning until everything not of Him is gone from us.

Yes, God does give us beauty for ashes, but the beauty, the glorious crowning of His presence only comes after the ashes. The ashes only come after the fire. The consuming fire of God. As for me, I want to be a part of that remnant God spoke of in Zechariah when He said, “they will call on My name, and I will answer them. I will say, ‘This is My people’ and each one will say, ‘The Lord is my God.”

Today I say, “Burn God burn, may Your refiner’s fire burn everything in me that needs to be removed. May I awake in Your likeness, for you are my God and I am your people.”