I love gazing into a crackling, well contained fire. The flames are full of motion, you see light of varying shades and colors dancing, there is warmth and the smell of fire that fills the air.
Whether it be in a fire pit outside on a cool, crisp fall evening or near a fireplace snuggled up inside on a cold winters night. There is something mesmerizing, mysterious and even desirable about fire. Has anyone ever not had access to a fireplace and played a Fireplace DVD, during the winter months, just for the effect? Ok, maybe that was just me.
What we know about fire is that fire creates heat. Fire is not desirable when heat is in high supply. During the months of summer it never crosses my mind to want to sit by a fire. If you have ever lived in the deep South you know that sometimes during the winter – if you long to sit by the fire on a cool winter evening – you may turn up the air conditioning to create the desired atmosphere needed to enjoy a fire in the fireplace. When it’s sticky, humid and warm, no one wants to be close to a blazing fire.
I use to think that if God had an assignment for me that it would happen once I came through a hardship or once I survived a tough season in my life. It never crossed my mind that God would expect me to encourage others or “do ministry” in the heat of my own circumstances. God’s plans for us are very different to our own. I found myself being called into a time of ministry during one of the toughest transitions of my life. Before I really experienced the heat of this transition I had expressed to my husband, “This time is for you to be involved in ministry, I do not want to do anything.” Boy did I have things backwards, God had something else planned for me. When we are feeling the “heat” of life, we often push back from God and say, “No, God, I just do not have it in me to do what you are asking of me. I want you to work in my life, but….not quite yet. I want to feel the fire of your passion, but… just not right now. I need to survive this season first.”
Fire is full of motion, it does not stand still; God is always moving and working with intentions that we cannot fathom. God uses fire to change, mold and shape us. Strangely enough he often calls us to minister to others while he’s changing, molding and shaping us in the fire. So while we are saying no to what God is asking of us, he is saying, “I’m with you in the fire. Not only that I want to use the “fire” you’re dealing with to ignite a passion in you and others that you did not know could exist. I know you feel like you cannot do this, but it’s not based upon you. It’s based upon my anointing, my wisdom, my resources and my matchless power that will get the assignment accomplished in and through you. I want to use the heat you’re experiencing to draw something out of you that only I can create and use. Will you let me?”
“For our God is a consuming fire.” Hebrews 12:29 We cannot contain or control God just as raging fire on this earth is difficult to contain and control. God will not destroy us in the fire; He will rebuild us stronger as a result of the fire.
Have you ever said a loud, “No!” in your mind, but find your lips saying a soft, “Yes” to the person who is asking you a daunting question and you’re not completely sure why? Maybe it’s a knowing deep inside that if you say no to them, you’re actually saying no to God. Fire is catching and mysterious; our God is full of the unknown and if we know and love him – we will desire Him even in the “heat” of our lives. We may find ourselves asking, “How will I accomplish what I’m agreeing to do?” Fire starts with friction. God specializes in using friction in our lives to create and fulfill the desires of our hearts. He has placed longings in each of us and before we see those longings fulfilled, we will face heat and friction. Do not let the friction or the conflict or the heat scare you from the all consuming fire of God. “For our God is a consuming fire.” Hebrews 12:29 We cannot contain or control God just as raging fire on this earth is difficult to contain and control. God will not destroy us in the fire; He will rebuild us stronger as a result of the fire. If there is heat, if there is friction, if there is conflict, and you are experiencing God’s peace in the midst of this – rest in Him while you reside in the fire. Find joy in the mystery, even embrace the friction and the heat when it’s God walking through the fire with you!
“The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and science. He to whom this emotion is a stranger, who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead: his eyes are closed.” – Albert Einstein
“He said, “Look! I see four men loosed and walking about in the midst of the fire without harm, and the appearance of the fourth is like a son of the gods!” Daniel 3:25 This was what Nebuchadnezzar witnessed and the words he spoke. He expected the fire to devour the three men he had put in the fire, instead they were walking about unharmed. Not only that their God appeared in the fire with them. God does not leave us in the fire alone, he joins us in the heat and reveals himself to us in ways we have never seen before. How can we know what only He can do, if we do not NEED Him to do it. In the fire we need help, even to breathe. In the fire we need non-human power to survive and overcome. In the fire we need a hero. God never becomes more real to us than when we are in the fire.
God does not leave us in the fire alone, he joins us in the heat and reveals himself to us in ways we have never seen before.
“There the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a blazing fire from the middle of a bush. Moses stared in amazement. Though the bush was engulfed in flames, it didn’t burn up.” Exodus 3:2 God wants to speak to us in the fire. Be encouraged that while the flames might be roaring, you will not burn up. God is speaking to you and what he imprints on your heart in the fire will not be removed. When you hear God in the fire it’s like an animal being branded with the farmers markings to show ownership. It’s a powerful branding of the heart that is not easily removed! You are His and it’s in the deepest part of you that you know this, when God has walked through the fire with you. If God will walk through the fire with us then why should we ever fear? “For I have every confidence that nothing – not death, life, heavenly messengers, dark spirits, the present, the future, spiritual powers, height, depth, nor any created thing – can come between us and the love of God revealed in the Anointed, Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:38-39
God is speaking to you and what he imprints on your heart in the fire will not be removed.
If you’re alive it’s inevitable that you will walk through times of fire. We walk through fire because of the sin fallen world we live in. If you’re walking through the fire today there are some things you need to know: Know that you are loved; know that you are seen by God; know that God is with you in the fire and know that God is molding, shaping and creating something new in you and He will not let the fire destroy you. Know that He is speaking to you in the fire, branding His love for you in the deepest part of your being. Know that if you allow God to be your strength in the fire, as a result, he will rebuild you stronger than before you entered the fire. Know that God is using the friction and heat to ignite a passion in you that will not dye. Remember to say, “Yes!” to God if He gives you an assignment while you’re in the fire. It’s His power that will work marvelous miracles in and through you that will impact others for His glory. This assignment will not be accomplished through your own resources, strength and power. This is a mysterious God adventure that you do not want to miss out on!
We want to enjoy watching contained, controlled fires that we can just get close enough to gain warmth from, but not get close enough to be transformed by.
None of us want to walk into a fire. Our nature is to avoid the dangers of fire. We want to enjoy watching contained, controlled fires that we can just get close enough to gain warmth from, but not get close enough to be transformed by. I do not wish fire upon anyone. But I have learned that walking through the fire – if we have the right response – produces an inner passion from God that cannot be explained by this world. I long for His fire, His Holy Spirit to be ignited in me so that I can make an impact in the lives of others. We all want to know that our lives mattered in the end. I promise you, it will be worth it in the end! So maybe the next time you feel the unwelcome heat from an unexpected fire you will stop and wonder just what God is up to this time. “The Spirit brings life. The flesh has nothing to offer. The words I have been teaching you are spirit and life, but some of you do not believe.” John 6:63 I challenge you to believe God to do the unthinkable, the magnificent, the outrageous all while the flames range on!