In the past, whenever I’ve heard a preacher talk about the “fire of God” it made me extremely uncomfortable. I am referring to the purifying fire, and the passionate fire, fire of the Holy Spirit.
I couldn’t relate to this kind of fire at all. I didn’t want to relate to it.
The sound of “fire” seemed painful, uncomfortable, dreadful, terrifying…. I honestly didn’t want to have anything to do with it.
I was terrified of fire anyway, never really started or maintained one. Never got too close to a fire. Fire seems dangerous.
Funny how the Lord loves to address the things we’ve misunderstood in life. He likes to clear things up for us, to help us to see them correctly.
When I asked the Lord what’s on His heart this morning, I simply heard,
“Fire. Purifying fire. The fire purifies our trash and puts it into the past.”
I honestly thought, “Lord, I don’t really know how to write about fire, I don’t feel qualified to write about anything to do with “fire”, my nature is drawn to things like flowers and Springtime and growth, things that are lovely and kind.”
Most of us don’t think of a wildfire as a positive thing, or at least I haven’t for most of my life. But look at what Wikipedia says about what is called a “prescribed burn”,
A controlled or prescribed burn, also known as hazard reduction burning, backfire, swailing, or a burn-off, is a wildfire set intentionally for purposes of forest management, farming, prairie restoration or greenhouse gas abatement. A controlled burn may also refer to the intentional burning of slash and fuels through burn piles. Fire is a natural part of both forest and grassland ecology and controlled fire can be a tool for foresters. Hazard reduction or controlled burning is conducted during the cooler months to reduce fuel buildup and decrease the likelihood of serious hotter fires. Controlled burning stimulates the germination of some desirable forest trees, and reveals soil mineral layers which increases seedling vitality, thus renewing the forest. Some cones, such as those of Lodgepole Pine and Sequoia, are serotinous, as well as many chaparral shrubs, meaning they require heat from fire to open cones to disperse seeds.
A wildfire can be a natural part of forest ecology. It can reduce buildup and decrease the likelihood of serious hotter fires. It stimulates the germination of some desirable forest trees, increases seedling vitality, thus renewing the forest.
We need the fire. Fire clears the way. It stimulates growth. It’s part of the process of purification.
The fire clears the way for new life. It’s necessary.
Can it be harsh and painful? Yes. But is it necessary? Yes. Is it for good. Yes.
Matthew 3:11 says,
“I baptize with water those who repent of their sins and turn to God. But someone is coming soon who is greater than I am–so much greater that I’m not worthy even to be his slave and carry his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.
“I have come to ignite a fire on the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled!”
“For you, O God, have tested us; you have tried us as silver is tried. You brought us into the net; you laid a crushing burden on our backs; you let men ride over our heads; we went through fire and through water; yet you have brought us out to a place of abundance.”
1 Peter 5:10,
“And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.”