Wednesday, May 31, 2023
This week I am making final preparations for the first camping trip of the season with my family. All the kids and grandkids will be there at one time or another. We will share meals and spend time on the beach. And of course we will have campfires. I love campfires. It’s the best time of the day, so as much as possible, we keep the fire burning all day to make the whole day great. Anytime there’s any stress at all you can just go sit in a lawn chair by the fire and relax. It’s therapeutic.
But fires take fuel. I have a large firewood pile at my house, so part of the preparation is to fill my transport tubs with my share for the weekend. Everyone brings some so we always have enough. But it takes a lot of work to get that wood cut and split and stacked so it’s ready when I need it.
Yesterday I was thinking about fire and fuel. It reminded me of this passage from the book of Isaiah.
Isaiah 10:17-20 “The Light of Israel will become a fire, their Holy One a flame; in a single day it will burn and consume his thorns and his briers. The splendor of his forests and fertile fields it will completely destroy, as when a sick man wastes away. And the remaining trees of his forests will be so few that a child could write them down. In that day the remnant of Israel, the survivors of the house of Jacob, will no longer rely on him who struck them down but will truly rely on the LORD, the Holy One of Israel.”
Years ago I read something from a friend on Facebook, and I’m more convinced than ever of the truth I heard from him. He said, in my paraphrased version, that “we have no right to ask the refining fire of God to come upon us unless we are willing to become the fuel!!”
When God’s people had wandered far enough into the ways of sin, the Light of Israel became a consuming fire to purify them. He burned everything so that those who were willing to be refined would rely upon Him alone and not on their own wisdom and strength. That is what God wants to do to each one of us – refine us with fire so His light shines in and through us.
When we sit around the campfire, making sure the kids don’t get too close, we take turns poking at it and moving coals around so that everything burns as brightly as possible. We add more fuel when necessary.
In our spiritual lives we must do the same. We must let the Holy Spirit poke around in our hearts and minds and stir up the coals that are blackened with sin. We must search the entire campsite of our lives for any fuel that has been left behind by past failures – fuel that if not burned in God’s Holy fire will darken our lives. We must want the fire of God’s holiness to burn as brightly as possible in us.
So today, spend some time looking for firewood. Then let the Holy One become the flame in you that burns every log, stick, and woodchip so that you no longer rely upon yourself, but on the LORD!