What image comes to mind when you think of fire and flames?
- A campfire with friends and family all around?
- Sitting by a fireplace warming up on a winter night?
- A candle burning while eating a romantic dinner or enjoying a peaceful moment of contemplation watching the flame flicker?
Or is it an image that is just the opposite of peaceful?
- A forest fire destroying trees, wildlife and homes in its wake?
- A fiery, explosive emergency where people are at risk of getting hurt?
- Hell and damnation, the fire and brimstone images of death without freedom and forgiveness from sin?
The images of fire and flames are used in many ways within our culture. The invention of the wheel and the discovery of how to make fire are great innovations of our prehistoric ancestors. Being “fired up” or having “fire” can refer to a person’s passion, energy, desire and drive. Whereas “being fired” means the loss of a job. Fire is often used in connection with purification. Forging metal with fire changes the characteristics of the material, getting rid of impurities and allowing for molding into new shapes. Baptism by fire references a personal ordeal someone goes through. God’s holy fire can be descriptive of the transformative power of God’s love.
By going through the fire, we have felt the heat, we’ve been under the pressure of a difficult situation, we may have gotten burned, but we have made it to the other side. The fire didn’t destroy us. It may have transformed us, it may have molded us, it may have brought us to a place where we can appreciate that we’ve been refined. We may gain confidence that God had a purpose for what we’ve gone through. By going through the fire, let’s get fired up and share what we’ve learned and what we know about God’s Holy Fire. It may be just what someone else needs to hear to get them through the fire they are in the middle of. Share the experience of God’s transforming love that lit a fire in you. Encourage others to go through the fire. Help them to reach the other side and be purified and transformed in ways that only God can do.
Amen, God Almighty, we praise and thank you for refining us to do your works and to live in your image.