Matthew 3:11-12 (AMP) “I indeed baptize you in (with) water because of repentance [that is, because of your changing you minds for the better, heartily amending your ways, with abhorrence of your past sins]. But He Who is coming after me is mightier than I, Whose sandals I am not worthy or fit to take off or carry; He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire. His winnowing fan (shovel, fork) is in His hand, and He will thoroughly clear out and clean His threshing floor and gather and store His wheat in His barn, but the chaff He will burn up with fire that cannot be put out.”
Our threshing floor is at the foot of the Cross. Christ’s sacrifice is the instrument which leads to the loosening of the hard outer surface of our souls. When we ask Him, with a repentant heart to forgive our sins—we are asking Him to loosen and remove the old ’husk’ or chaff of our lives. That ’husk’ is the world…our flesh woman or man. It is the part of us that rebels against God. But that’s only the first step. Now we have to get rid of the chaff—or our old habits, attitudes and ideas. To do that we have to spend time in God’s word, spend time in prayer and communion with Him, assemble ourselves together with like-minded individuals. We need teaching and preaching. Our priority with Jesus must become the most important part of our lives. The more we love Him—the more the ‘chaff’ of this world is going to come off.
Yet as I was studying about the winnowing process of wheat as it relates to the scripture above, I came across a very interesting comment about it. Something I never new and God took it in a whole new direction for me. That statement was: “Winnowing is also used to remove weevils or other pests from stored grain.” Read it again. Stored grain—that’s us as followers of Jesus Christ. We’ve asked Him for forgiveness, we love Him and want to serve Him. We attend church and lift our hands in praise and worship. But—what about the ‘weevils or other pests’ – what are they? Weevils and other pests are the things satan uses to get our eyes off Jesus. They are the things in this world that we allow in our lives. They creep in when we become complacent or apathetic about our relationship with Jesus. While we follow Jesus—if we’re not careful we can become complacent and lose our first love. We can become lukewarm to the things of God. The Holy Spirit which dwells in us is a consuming fire…it is our helper in this world so that we know what is good for us and what isn’t. If we sit in ’storage’ and not read God’s word as we should, not pray and commune with Him, weevils or other pests can enter our lives.
Some good questions to ask yourself and for me to ask myself are: what kind of time are you spending reading and studying the word of God? How much time do you spend on your knees in prayer or just meditating on who He is? What kind of people are you spending time with? Are they followers of Christ also or do they still love the world? What types of TV programs and movies do you watch? What kind of books do you read? There is a great question—WWJD…or what would Jesus do? Why? Just imagine if Jesus came down in the flesh to spend a week with you. As you go about your life, day in and day out for that week, how much of it would you change? How many times would you change the channel on the TV? What books or magazines would you put away so He wouldn’t see? Which friends would you keep Him away from?
The winnowing process from my perspective after this study is definitely a continual one. For us to live holy lives as God requires we have to make sure that –just because we are followers of Jesus—we don’t stop learning, praying, studying and giving Him all of our very best. Is it an easy process? NO. Does it sometimes hurt? YES! But the more we are ’winnowed’, the more we become like Him and the more we become like Him, the more we can show the world His love, His grace, and His mercy. The old ’chaff’ of our attitudes, habits and ideas need to be winnowed until the become the attitudes, habits and will of our God. In His will we will find that everything we become and do is for God’s glory…it is to show the world the Savior it needs.