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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 with rare.

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 sin.

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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This site was last updated 01/12/05