|The other day my wife and I had the
opportunity to have supper with some friends. I ordered a
steak -- something I almost never do. It's been
documented that it's not wise to eat steaks that have not
been fully cooked because of the potential for dangerous
bacteria that can make us sick. So, when asked how I
wanted the steak cooked, I answered, "well done"! The
next day I got to thinking about steaks and how we cook
them. The only way to purify the meat is by raising
the temperature to a sufficient level so that all of the
germs are killed.
As I see it, there are three ways you can order a steak -
rare, medium, and well done. Let's look at these, starting
Rare means that the steak is barely exposed to the heat.
It's really raw and probably full of stuff that will make me
sick. Did you ever wonder why it's called rare instead
of raw? I don't know, but I do know that if I were
rarely exposed to the fire of God I'd be full of stuff that
would make me sick. It says in 1 Thessalonians 5:19,
"Do not put out the Spirit's fire;". Unlike a steak, I
have some control over my exposure to the flame. I
could jump out of the frying pan when God turns up the heat!
I could say, "It's too much. I can't take any more!"
but what kind of stuff would remain in me? I might not
have to suffer the heat but I'd die from the bacteria called
What about medium ? It's a popular choice, especially
for people that really like their steaks rare but are afraid
of getting sick from raw meat. Medium steaks are brown
on the outside. They really look like they're cooked
but just cut into one. Inside they are still raw. Oh,
the outside has felt the touch of the flame but it's not
been in the heat long enough for the temperature to get all
the way through. Deep down inside, where you can't see
until it's cut open, it's raw. The center has not felt
the flame. At least not enough. Paul told
Timothy to fan into flame the gift of God. I cannot
afford to let God's gift just touch the outside. I've
got to fan it into a flame that goes all the way through me.
Otherwise there will still be stuff inside that will make me
sick. Others won't be able to see it on the outside.
But God, who looks on the inside, will see. And, when
I'm cut - by a lie, by a loss, by circumstance - and my
insides are exposed to the world, then all would see the
raw, uncooked center.
The third way to cook a steak is well done. For a
steak to be well done it will have to be exposed to a high
temperature for a long enough time for the heat to get all
the way though. Every bit of the steak will have felt
the heat and for a long period of time. Time enough to
kill the bacteria. So it is with my life. Only
if I expose every part of myself to the fire of God will I
kill the bacteria of sin in my life. And not just for
a moment. It has to be a long, sustained time. A
moment by moment, day by day, exposure to the cleansing fire
of the Spirit. As the title of one of my favorite
books says, it takes " a long obedience in the same
direction" for me to get fully cooked. If I get lazy
and move away from the fire then the remaining sin bacteria
in my life starts to multiply, building up inside me until I
once again need to come before the fire of God.
Let's all be well done steaks, not rare or medium! "'Well
done, my good servant!' his master replied. 'Because you
have been trustworthy in a very small matter, take charge of
ten cities.' Luke 19:17 We all want to hear
Jesus call us well done.
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