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“I baptize you with water for repentance, but he who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor and gather his wheat into the barn, but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.”

Matthew 3:11-12

John the Baptist made the distinction between his own water baptism of repentance and Jesus’ baptism of the Holy Spirit and fire as recorded in Matthew 3:11-12. The baptism of the Holy Spirit not only empowers us for works of service but also sifts us with the winnowing fork. When wheat is harvested, a winnowing fork is used to throw wheat to the wind to break off the chaff. That is the hard, unusable, inedible part of the wheat. This, being of no value, is gathered and then burned. So is the same with us in this life and the eternally lost in the life to come. For those saved, that which is of no value in the kingdom, the sin-nature, is purged for our God is a consuming fire. Our soul continues in ongoing sanctification being refined until the inner working of the Holy Spirit shows the outer working of His fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.

A tree is known by its fruit, and we are known by ours. Jesus said to see Him was to see the Father. Others should be able to see us and see Jesus, but there is a cost: our life for His. Romans 12:1-2 says, "Therefore, I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect."

Under the old covenant, the Levitical priests would tend to the altar night and day ensuring the fire never went out for the sacrifices being offered unto the Lord. We are now the royal priests under this New Covenant who are the perpetual living sacrifices on the altar and must tend continuously to the fire of our hearts. Intimacy gets us here and keeps us here. The perpetual laid-down life is birthed out of the abiding life. Psalm 91:1 states, "It is he that dwells with God that abides in Him and communes with Him."

In the beholding of Him, we commune with Him and become more and more like Him, It is here that we go from one measure of glory to the next. We catch a glimpse of this from the prophet Ezekiel’s recording of the river that he saw from the temple. As he progressed, it was ankle-deep, then knee-deep, then waist-deep, until he was fully submerged. We must behold Jesus and keep Him ever before us, meditating on the logos, the written word. Jesus is the word that became flesh, and His name is called the Word of God. Meditate on the rhema word, the word by Holy Spirit inspiration and every prophetic word and promise. Be intentional about time alone in His presence, worshipping Him, adoring Him, and the emptying of self through prayer and fasting. Beloved, live to behold Him and yield to His Spirit. Don’t be content being ankle-deep, go deeper.