by Pastor Matthew Prince
I’m sure you have all heard that God is a fire that consumes. In fact, Hebrews 12:29 tells us that – “For our God is an all consuming fire.” As I reflect upon that today, I come to this realization: Fires cannot burn, or continue to burn without three key elements – oxygen, heat & fuel.
God is not after nominal Christianity, rather, He is after heart change and a genuinely transformed life in Christ. His design and desire is that we be totally engulfed in the flames of His all consuming power, person and presence, and be set ablaze by Him. But – in order for that to happen, we must present to Him an atmosphere that is conducive for His fire to burn and be sustained in us.
In the natural, it requires oxygen for fire to survive. This would be the breath of God in our spirit man. If we want the fire of God to burn in us, we must be in close enough proximity to Him to feel His breath fill our senses. It also requires a willingness to allow Him to breathe in us. It seems strange to say, but sometimes we don’t want the fire. I believe that’s because at some point in the journey of life, we discovered that fire burns, and is painful to the flesh. Unfortunately, it’s the same in the spiritual reality as well. His fire destroys our flesh.
Job said – “after He has tested me, I will come out as pure gold” (Job 23:10). Gold is not afraid of the fire, because gold knows that it’s going to come out on the other side purified by the flames. It’s the impure elements that embed themselves in the gold that fear the fire, because they know they cannot survive the purifying process of the flames. This is God’s desire, that we are alive by the oxygen/breath of God in us that gives freedom for His fire to burn and purify us, until all that remains is pure gold, and so on fire, that it’s difficult to distinguish what’s on fire from the fire itself.
The second element needed to sustain a fire is heat. This would be our passion for God. The psalmist said “I will not merely walk, but run in the way of Your commands when You give me a heart that is willing” (Psalm 119:32). We don’t run after things we are not passionate about. Just think about most of the new year resolutions you have made, when the passion for accomplishing those goals waned, so did the running after them. Eventually, we return to the same condition, or worse because we didn’t continue running after those things. The same is true with God. If our passion is allowed to wane, for whatever reason, then our pursuit of Him could slow to a walk, a standstill, or worse, a regression. Keep the passion alive and the fire will continue to burn.
The final element needed is fuel. This would be our prayer and worship life. I will admit that I will never hold the title of “grill master”. I remember the first time I tried to set the grill up using charcoal, it was a mess. I didn’t know what I was doing, and the steaks that tasted like fire starter fuel proved it. When the fire would begin to diminish, I would douse it with starter fuel. It brought an immediate life to the flame again. Not so good when cooking food, but the perfect model to employ when pursuing God’s fire. Every time you see or feel the flame diminishing, throw the starter fuel of prayer and worship on it and there will be an immediate response of a growing flame.
If you want to truly be consumed by His fire, it requires you allowing Him to breathe in you, you being passionate for Him, and a steady and consistent dose of prayer and worship. Just like in the natural, these three elements will ensure that the fire is able to not only be sustained, but spread.