One of the things my wife and I love to do is sit in front of our fireplace and watch it, during the few days it is cool enough to run in Texas. Although our fireplace is a gas fireplace and does not consume anything other than gas, it is great to watch. When we can, we also love to have an outside firepit to watch and roast marshmallows on.
Fire is something that many people love to watch. It can be mesmerizing and can do good for many. Other times it can be a horrible and very scary thing to watch.
During times that a fire is good are when one is cooking over it, watching a campfire and when one is being warmed up by the fire. Others like to sit in front of a fireplace watching the flames and being relaxed by it. There are probably hundreds of different ways in which fire is used that is useful.
The flip side is when a house is on fire, or when there is a forest or field fire threatening a home. Burning cars or other vehicles are scary and extremely dangerous.
God is often seen as a fire throughout the Bible.
For the Lord your God is a consuming fire, a jealous God. Deuteronomy 4:24
One of the things that fire does is consume. It will eat up and destroy anything and everything if it is hot enough. Fire will burn up houses, trees, grass and much more. Nothing is safe from a fire that is hot enough, including every type of metal.
In the end anyone who does not believe in Jesus will be tossed into a lake of fire:
And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire. Revelation 20:17
Not having one’s name is the Book of Life is one who has chosen to not believe in Jesus and repent of one’s sins. This is an eternal punishment of death and separation from God for rejecting Jesus and the salvation He offered.
His winnowing fan is in His hand, and He will thoroughly clean out His threshing floor, and gather His wheat into the barn; but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire. Matthew 3:12
God, as a consuming fire, also consumes and burns up things. Throughout the Old Testament, God had destroyed people by fire from Him. Through Jesus, sin is burned up, tossed out and forgotten in the fire of God.
The old person is done away with, and a new creation is made by the consuming power of God. Old ways of doing things, old attitudes, old habits, old thoughts are burned up and cast out by the faith in the blood of Jesus. Life of the new believer is consumed and taken over by God.
Along with the fire of God being consuming it is also empowering.
For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands. 2 Timothy 1:6 (NIV)
God has given every believer some type of gift in which one can minister to others. Most versions say ‘kindle’ the gift, while the NIV says to ‘fan into flame’. This is to get hot, burning with desire to use whatever gift God has given to reach others for Jesus.
Matthew recorded John the Baptist saying:
I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize with the Holy Spirit and fire. Matthew 3:11
Once a person is baptized, that person is filled with the Holy Spirit and fire. This fire is the excitement and burning desire to do what God wants one to do. It is what motivates a believer to do things that may endanger one’s life in the process of spreading the gospel message and living for God.
Do not let your heart envy sinners, but be zealous for the fear of the Lord all the day. Proverbs 23:17
Physical fire will heat up water and get the molecules excited and moving about, until they turn into steam and float away. This verse that Solomon wrote does not say anything about a fire, but being zealous for something is being on fire for that something. It is burning with excitement and energy for God.
God is a fire that consumes and also enflames. He can destroy the sin in your life and fill you with fire to do His will and be His witness on this planet. Or He will be the fire that destroys you for eternity if you have chosen to reject Him or to not do His will.
Make your choice today as to how you want God to be a fire for you–to destroy you or to empower you. Allow God to burn up and remove the sinful habits in your life. Allow God to set you on fire for Him, to do what He has called you to do each and every day. Let His fire consume you with Him.
Picture by Tom Arn