This is the first one of these that I have written, and you will find that I don’t write like Micah does. That is not a good thing or a bad thing, just a thing. I hope you go with me on this thought, and I welcome any thoughts or ideas that you might have. Be blessed.
All Consuming Fire
The term, “All consuming fire”, has been on my mind a lot lately. God is described as such in quite a few places in the Bible, and I have to wonder if we really try to comprehend what that actually means. I’ll let you go and look up the many places where the phrase is used, and then come back and let’s talk.
So… I assume that you have at least looked through the verses that describe God in this way. First, let me say that I don’t believe this should scare us, nor was it intended to make us fall down and beg and grovel for forgiveness. First of all; I believe that, if you are a believer, you are already forgiven. Those who know Him have no reason to fear our Father, and those that don’t know Him only fear what they don’t know and understand. If a believer is frightened by the idea of God being an, “All consuming fire”, then they need to ask Him to reveal Himself to them. Just like He showed Himself to Moses, He will let you see what you need to see.
Fire of the Wild Variety
When we imagine fire, I think we often imagine the camp fires we all surrounded with our marshmallows on sticks, or the fire in the fireplace on a cold winter night. If we dare to imagine something akin to a fire that consumes everything around itself, then we are thinking of a wildfire that is out of control. We imagine important structures completely decimated, or innocent people or animals choked by the smoke and burned by the flames.
That isn’t the God that I know. He doesn’t wildly take over the land (you) in a harsh and violent way like a wild fire does. Instead, He is a very controlled burn. He is specific and intentional. He operates with care and precision.
If you are a country girl, like me, you have witnessed a controlled burn or two. From the outside, it might look like it is wild and unruly. From a distance you think that something terrible is happening, but in reality it is nothing of the sort. A controlled burn is essential for the health of the field. It not only rids the area of the undergrowth that chokes out the good plants, but it rids the area of nettles, burrs, poison ivy, and any plant that will not allow the growth of the good things that need room to come up. It also enhances the soil, making the new growth healthier than it would have been otherwise. Finally, it reduces the opportunity for wildfires that can rage out of control and destroy beneficial plants and wildlife, along with the threat of ruining property and injuring wildlife and people.
You want a controlled burn so that you can avoid the destruction of a wildfire. You may also think of it this way, God is not erratic and wild, but purposed and well planned out. Just think about the creation, and how He did that in a perfect order. He didn’t create animals before they had land to roam and seas to swim beneath, or before there was food for them to eat. You don’t walk into a dark space and start repairing the car, cooking a meal, or doing any task before you turn on the light. Neither does God. He is a god of order, and when we talk about Him being an all consuming fire, we have to remember that truth.
The image that keeps coming into my mind is one that I hope I can articulate to you now. It’s difficult sometimes to put the things God shows me into words, but I do the best I can with what God has given me, and I hope you can all see it too.
I see a form upon a throne that is completely made up of flames, but the flames look like crystal and fire and pure, white light. It’s a fire that is in need of nothing to feed it, and will never stop being. He’s a furious furnace used to make beautiful pieces of jewelry and art. You can feel the heat from a great distance, and the light that emanates from that place has no shadow anywhere. It reaches even the places that normal light can’t go. It radiates through and around everyone and everything. If you come close enough to see it, you can feel the things you carry beginning to heat up, to smolder, and to instantly incinerate and be engulfed and consumed so fast that you may not recall what it even was.
Sometimes we come before Him with things that simply cannot come before the throne. It’s simply too hot, too pure, and too light. Imagine all the wood and hay that the Bible talks about in 1 Corinthians 3. I think that is all the junk we allow in our lives that doesn’t really help us, or it hurts us, or it’s broken junk we keep around because we think we can fix this broken thing. When we try to come before God carrying our baggage, and when we bring ourselves nearer to Him that stuff that we thought was who we are or an important part of us starts to burn away. The closer we get, the more His light and fire starts to ignite those things that are not a pure precious metal. We can continue to press forward, taking His hand for support as we take each step toward His Glory. All the pride we had about this thing or that thing just fizzles away like a shred of paper we toss into the fire.
I truly don’t believe that He even notices all the garbage that is burning away. The only thing He sees is you. His beloved coming toward Him step by step. He doesn’t concentrate on the things falling from you. He doesn’t have concern for the pride falling from your shoulders as pieces of burned coal, or the broken places that were filled with plaster and tape, but are now melting back together with ease. Your form was not hidden from Him at any time, and was never something He figured you would never fit back into. He knew you, knows you, and will always know you. He has been waiting for you to move toward Him.
Feel The Burn
So, think on Him today and His ability to take off every tiny bit of junk that keeps you from being who He created you to be. Every bit of chaff or debri that keeps you from being His perfect son or daughter is burned away. Sometimes it might hurt because it hurts to lose those things we’ve grown attached to, and sometimes it might hurt because the thing is so deeply embedded in us that it had to burn down deep to get it all. Just stop what you are doing today and really think about this manifestation of who God is, and what He wants to do in your life. Let Him begin to cleanse away some of the grit and grime that we (even after we are saved) have hanging on us and dwelling in us. The closer you come, the more He burns away, but it’s a good thing.
This idea of God being a fire that consumes everything is not a scary idea, or a threat of punishment, but an act of love. Without this, we cannot fulfil the life we are given. We have to let go of the junk.