A CONSUMING FIRE
There are wildfires in California again. The Santa Ana winds are helping to intensify and spread these raging wildfires. At the time I began writing this blog, according to an article at CNN.com, the fires had collectively scorched nearly 200,000 acres over a one-week period and destroyed 792 structures. That is a consuming fire!
What consumes you? If you have a new baby, based on my experience with three children, that new baby consumes your time and energy. He/she must be feed, changed and cared for in so may ways throughout every day.
If you’ve ever built a new home, or remodeled the one you live in, from what I’ve witnessed, it can consume your time and focus for days, weeks or months.
If you have ever provided care-giving for a terminally ill loved one you know just how consuming that can be.
Picking a college. Prepping for finals at school. Finding a job. These are all things that can, for a time, consume your energy, focus and days. And don’t get me started on the way a new love consumes one’s heart, mind and actions! Nothing compares to that!
What about God? According to Hebrews 12:29 [NKJV] our God [is] a consuming fire.
Deuteronomy 4:24 [NKJV] says, For the LORD your God [is] a consuming fire, a jealous God.
This seems to say to me two things:
- It tells me that WE, God’s most precious creation, consume His thoughts and actions. Besides the children created in His image, what could possibly take up His time and resources? I have to believe that maintaining the planets in their orbits takes a much smaller percentage of His focus because the planets pretty much do what they are supposed to do – what He designed them to do – and stay within the confines He set for them centuries ago. He is jealous for the time and attention of His creation – for the children made in His image. He loves us with passion and focus beyond what a new love in my life ever created because His love is so pure and perfect and true.
- It tells me that God should consume my heart, mind and time. No, He does not expect me to think of Him alone for 24/7/365. He knows I have to think of my family and my job. He understands that I will read or watch TV or exercise or chat with friends about social issues. But, underscoring it all, there should be a fire for God – for His will, His plan, His law, His love – in everything I do.
The question then becomes “how does this action, goal, project, response, thought, etc. align with a passion for or a burning desire to, align myself to God’s will, His love and His law?” To be “on fire” for God does not only occur if I’m out there doing missionary work and risking my life and limb for it. A fire for truth and obedience can evidence itself by my choosing to put Him first in the morning with daily prayer and Bible study. It becomes apparent if I choose to act ethically even if it means I will lose my job. It is shown when I care for the needy and downtrodden.
And perhaps the most radical representation of a fire for God comes when I return love, help and peace to someone who has done me harm (or tried to). Only someone who has a passion for our loving God can have the character and spiritual strength to consistently and without fail return love to others, no matter what they dish out toward us.
My mother used to talk about “lighting a fire under” her children when we were moving slowly to do what we were supposed to be doing. God’s love for me should “light a fire under” me to listen to His voice, to do His will and to show His love – not half-heartedly, like a kid who doesn’t want to do the chore of taking out the trash – but with passion and boldness.
Exodus 24:17 [NKJV] 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.
Sisters, the sight of the glory of the LORD, seen in His word and His moving in our lives and His answering of prayer, lights a fire in us. But also, what others can see of the glory of God in me, in us, through our actions and words, should (1) strike a spark of curiosity in the unbelievers around us so that they want to know our God and (2) spark a passion in believers around us to rekindle or rebuild or increase their own fire for God.
Our God is a consuming fire. May that fire burn on and consume this whole world.
I welcome your thoughts, comments and questions. You can write me at Nancy@DynamicChristianMinistries.org.
PS – Please pray for all those in the path of the California wildfires.