A Consuming Fire
For our God is a consuming fire. Hebrews 12:29
If any of you have ever built a fire, whether it be a bonfire, a campfire, or a fire in a woodstove or woodburner to warm your house, you know that there are some basic requirements to building one that will ensure it being successful. A fire is customarily lit to provide warmth, burn something away, or to illuminate. For a fire to burn well, it requires certain things.
#1. Fire requires air. It must have air to breathe. You can not build a fire in a vacuum, and expect it to grow. Without air, and tending, it will just snuff out, and sit and smoke. One must stoke the fire for it to burst into flame, and keep that freshness of air circulating. As a Christian, you can not expect for the fire that the Lord has lit within you to grow, or to become something that gives off warmth if you do not regularly stoke it. You must stir up the coals, and remove the ashes, keep yourself open to His Holy Spirit and His instruction, His stirring, for the Fire to grow.
#2. Heat must be necessary for a fire to burn. You can not start a fire on a block of ice. The temperature of the ice and the temperature of the heat will cancel each other out. If you take a bowl of ice cubes, and sit them out in a room, those ice cubes will eventually melt, until the lower temperature soon reflects the temperature around them, causing it to mirror the atmosphere it is placed in. The same goes for a fire. Starting a fire, and then exposing it to a colder temperature, without adding the necessary ingredients for it to continue to burn, will simply cause it to peter out and die.
Applying this to our Christian walks, you must be sure to surround yourself with other things that will produce heat. Reading and hearing the Word are of utmost importance. You cannot walk alone in this, nor can your fire burn well if you are surrounded with others that are of a cold nature. We must remember the importance of walking in fellowship with other believers, praying for each other, and walking in the truth in order to keep the fire’s temperature what it should be. The Fire from God originates from God. Surround yourself with other believers on fire for Him, and stay connected to God to keep the fire alive.
#3. This brings us to the next ingredient that a fire must have to burn well. A fire must have fuel. Once begun, a fire needs to be fed. If you neglect to feed the fire regularly, it will soon just turn to ash. Fire must have something to consume in order to keep burning.
It takes a spark to begin a fire, God being the originator, but we need to provide the fuel. Give God more and more of ourselves in order for that fire to keep on burning, and burn well. Our God is a consuming fire. Pretty soon, His Holy Spirit will burn out all the dross in our lives, until we are a singular blaze burning brightly for Him. Let His love and His fire, His will, consume you.
Luke 3:16 John answered, saying to all, I indeed baptize you with water; but One mightier than I is coming, whose sandal strap I am not worthy to loose. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.
Acts 2:1-3 When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. (2) And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. (3) Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and sat upon each of them.
Exodus 3: 2 And the Angel of the Lord appeared to him in a flame of fire from the midst of a bush. So he looked, and behold, the bush was burning with fire, but the bush was not consumed.
Exodus 24:17 The sight of the glory of the Lord was like a consuming fire on the top of the mountain in the eyes of the children of Israel.
In the Old testament and the New, we see references to God being compared to a fire. God appeared to Moses in a burning bush, yet the bush was not consumed. God also led the children of Israel out of Egypt, setting a pillar of fire before them day and night to lead them. At the Red Sea, we notice a pillar of fire coming between the Israelites and Pharaoh’s Army, as a separating fire. The fire that led the children out of Egypt burned both day and night, to illuminate their way, allowing them to find their way through the darkness.
God will use the fire to separate us from sin, if we let it burn brightly in our life. Just like the pillar of fire separated the children of Israel from Pharaoh’s army, so will the fire of the Holy Spirit empower us to remain separate from sin, and things that would cause us to stumble and fall.
God’s fire will illuminate our paths, just like the pillar of fire that led Moses and the Israelites through the desert. It will enable us to see through the dark periods, and keep our feet on the course that is leading us out of the wilderness, unto the Promised Land.
When Christ ascended, He sent the Holy Spirit to His believers to empower them. This first appeared to them as tongues of fire, and gave them the necessary ingredient to be effective witnesses for Him. The same is true today. The Baptism of the Holy Spirit is something that empowers us in this day and age to remain close to God, and sanctions us to do His will. We baptize in water, in the Name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. One can not forget the importance of the third part of the Trinity. It is through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, that He manifests Himself in our lives, and gives us the ability and the gifts that are needed to be a disciple that is able to do greater works than Him. John 14:12 Most assuredly I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do , because I go to My Father.
The promise here is not that disciples of Jesus will perform works that are greater in value or significance than His. Rather they are greater in scope and number, in these respects : 1) Because He was crucified, Jesus’ earthly ministry was limited to only a few years, but after the Resurrection and Pentecost, His ministry was and continues to be multiplied through Spirit-empowered believers. 2) Our works include the preaching of the gospel, resulting in the blessings of justification, reconciliation, and the gift of the Holy Spirit coming to humankind—all post Resurrection manifestations of Christ’s reign.
John 14:19-21 A little longer and the world will see Me no more, but you will see Me. Because I live, you will live also. (20) At that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you. He who has my commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him.
manifest, ephanidzo (em-fan-id-zoe) Strongs # 1718: A combination of en, "in," and "phaino, "to cause to shine," thus, to appear, come to view, reveal, exhibit, make visible, present oneself to the sight of another, be conspicuous. In v. 21, emphanidzo is the self-revelation of Jesus to believers,. a secondary meaning of the word is to declare, make known. (Acts 23:15, 22; 24:1; 25:2, 15)
Malachi 2:2-3 But who can endure the day of His coming? And who can stand when He appears? For He is like a refiner’s fire and like launderers’ soap. He will sit as a refiner and a purifier of silver; He will purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer to the Lord, an offering in righteousness.
During the refining process of silver or gold, all the impurities in the metal will rise to the surface, and will be burned up. The impure parts cannot stand the heat that is required for the metal to be refined. They will be consumed, and then the refiner simply scoops them out, and does away with those pieces. When questioned as to when the metal is ready to be used, when the refining process is complete, a forthcoming answer from the one that tends the flames will be "When I can see a total reflection of my face unmarred by surface flaws and impurities."
When God reforms us, He heats us up, creates a flame in our heart, and causes us to become more fluid, and open to His will and His word. We are taken from a unmovable, unbendable state, and a fire is lit that burns bright and hot. During the refining process, impurities will often surface for God to remove. We are done, and ready to be used for His purpose, to be formed into the tool He intends us to be when He can look upon us and see His reflection clearly in our lives.
Clouds and darkness surround Him; Righteousness and justice are the foundation of His throne. A fire goes before Him, and burns up His enemies round about. His lightnings light the world; the earth sees and trembles. The mountains melt like wax at the presence of the Lord, at the presence of the Lord of the whole earth. The heavens declare His righteousness, and all the peoples see His Glory !! Psalm 97:1-6
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Very well written! Appreciate your effort and insight!