January 3

…He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.

Matthew 3:11 ESV

Jesus baptizes us with fire, a word used in Scripture to mean trials. As Paul and Barnabas preached, through many tribulations we enter the kingdom of God (Acts 14:22).

Fire is used by God to cleanse, to purify. Those trials are gifts. They are preparing us as the spotless bride that God requires because He is holy and cannot be joined to anything unholy.

We’re told to offer ourselves as living sacrifices in Romans 12:1. We’re told the greatest commandment is to love God with our all. We can do that by laying our lives down on the altar, all of it. This is what we’re supposed to do when we come to Christ in faith.

We exchange lives. Jesus gave up His life for us. We give up our lives for Him. We lay it all down on the altar. He sends His holy fire. He removes what He wants gone and consecrates, or makes holy, the rest of it to be used for His purposes. The exchanged life is a holy life, set apart to God.