I had an opportunity recently to visit the Mariposa Grove of Sequoia trees in California. The Grove had been closed for three years while they did enhancements to protect the trees and improve the visitor experience. Being able to see the world’s biggest trees in person was simply amazing. Redwoods may be taller but there is no larger tree than a Sequoia. You could easily drive a vehicle through the base of one of these trees.

The most unusual feature of the trees is the black burn marks on the base of them. Every tree has these marks and for good reason. Fire is what helps the trees to grow. When fire burns the underbrush the Sequoia grows. They actually thrive on the fire scars. The tree can live even if it is burned. The Sequoia can withstand fire because its bark is twenty-one inches thick. Only if the fire reaches the top of the tree will it die.

Even more remarkable is how new Sequoia’s are born. The only way there can be a new Sequoia is if their cone is opened and the seeds come out. There are up to 9100 tiny seeds in just one cone. But the cone will only open with tremendous heat. It takes a fire to produce enough heat to cause the cone to open and the seeds to be released.

A Sequoia takes 800 years to reach full growth and they live for up to 2000 years. Some of the trees I saw were around when Jesus lived on earth. But they only grow and reach their full potential if there is fire. Most forests are destroyed by fire, for Sequoias the fire is what makes them grow to be the biggest trees in the world.

Christ followers are like the Sequoia. We need fire to help us grow. Revelation 3:18 tells us gold is refined by fire. Fire purifies whatever it touches. We need the fire of God to cleanse away anything in our lives that keeps us from being totally committed to Jesus. God’s fire can burn away whatever is not pleasing to Him.

No one wants to be in the furnace. But the fire is needed for our growth. God wants us to grow to full maturity. He wants us to be huge spiritually. He wants us to have a long life of ministry for Him. So let the fire of God burn so hot that it makes you like gold - shining beautifully for God.


About Rick McDaniel

Rick McDaniel is a noted author, international communicator and church leader. He is the founder/senior pastor of Richmond Community Church in Richmond, Virginia. The church is known for its contemporary and innovative services and has a worldwide reach through www.highimpactchurch.tv. McDaniel has earned three degrees including an advanced degree from Duke University and is the author of​ six​​ books including his latest "Turn Your Setbacks Into Comebacks." He has traveled and spoken at conferences and churches worldwide spanning six continents.

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