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Consuming Fire

Reflection October 10, 2011

Verse: Hebrews 12:29  Our God is a consuming fire.

The key note or theme to our pastor’s message yesterday morning was to “fan the flame.”  How interesting that today I again find myself considering fire.

I spent a lot of time this past weekend shopping.  My husband and I celebrate the anniversary of our first meeting on October 8.  He usually does the planning, but left that to me this year.  So, I planned our time around several of the things we enjoy doing: eating good food, shopping, enjoying a scenic drive, and singing.  We had a very special time together.

On Saturday our shopping took us to Amish country.  There were so many beautiful things, but reflecting back, I realize that almost all of it was decoration.  Very little was functional or necessary.  It was all about outward adornment or display.  Chotzkies and gewgaws, as my aunt would call them.  How much of that does one really need?

Not long ago I was sitting in my living room with my grandson and he asked me why I had so much stuff?  I’m sure his little mind was comparing my overdecorated home to his where his mother operates on the “less is better” philosophy.  I really didn’t have an answer for him.  What I do know is that I need very little.  It reminded me of the Value Clarification exercise I did as a teenager.  We were told that our house was burning down and we were only allowed to grab three items to save from the fire (not including people or pets)–what would we grab?

God is a consuming fire.  Are we grabbing at the things of life?  Are we trying to protect pieces or parts of our lives from Him, telling Him they are off limits?  What do we think we can’t live without?

As I meditated on God as a consuming fire, I began to see some things.  First, a consuming fire, by its very nature, takes everything.  A consuming fire is not controllable.  I pictured several fires where the fire fighters stated that they knew they couldn’t stop the burning, and felt helpless to even contain it.  I also pictured many of the recent fires across our country that were unquenchable.  Water and chemicals were poured on in massive amounts, but those tending the fire could only wait for it to burn itself out.  Finally, the result of the fire was purifying, leaving room for  a fresh start.

Is God a consuming fire in my life, in yours?  Are there things we are trying to withhold from Him, or does he consume us completely?  Do we allow Him free rein, or are we trying to control Him?  How foolish does that even sound: me control God?  Have we tried to put out the unquenchable consuming fire?  Have we tried to tell God that we’ve had enough?  Would we propose to tell God how to cleanse our lives?  Peter tried when Jesus wanted to wash his feet–it didn’t work then, it won’t work now.

The verse just prior to the one we’ve considered here tells us that God is giving us a Kingdom “that cannot be destroyed, therefore let us be thankful and please Him by worshipping him with fear and awe.”

My prayer is that I would surrender to the consuming fire and find freedom and joy in receiving that which cannot be destroyed from the one who really knows what I need.  Will pray that with me?

 

 

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