Burn, Baby, Burn

“We went through fire and water but you brought us out into rich fulfillment.”

Psalm 66:12

By G.P. Avants

Why are most people afraid of fire? I think fire is seen as a destructive uncontrollable entity that is capable of radically changing our comfortable lives with one tiny spark. Yes, I can see where fire can be viewed as our stuff our worst nightmares. 

And yet fire is a wonderful and very helpful tool. It can warm as a roaring campfire after a long day on the trail. Fire is a cleansing and purifier that ancient farmers used to burn up the old crops, enriching their ashes into the soil to prepare it for the next seasons crops. Torches have lit dark homes when night approached. Refined gas and oil brought illuminated not just homes, but villages and communities and gave rise to the need for modern cities. The wheels of industry have been always been stoked with fire in some form of steam, heat, and gas in order to run machines that have made our modern life possible. When fire and light are focused we understand the power of a concentrated beam in the form of laser. What else has man dreamed to do with the power of the flame?

Have we succeeded in taming this once unmanageable resource? 

But there are elements of fire that transcend the physical world into the spiritual realm as well. Think about this. The Bible refers to God as a consuming fire. His desire is for man to draw close to Him in a relationship. With our notion of fire, how would one feel to embrace a flame or let in in fact consume who we are? All I can think of is if I get too close I am going to get burned. 

So, this spiritual fire has to be something that can draw men close without totally consuming who they are. One aspect of fire that I did not mention in the previous paragraph is the refiner’s fire. When gold is refined from its raw state, fire separates the dross, the junk from the real precious element hidden inside. If God does give His fiery spirit to men and women who walk with Him, then we will experience the effects of another kind of fire. The once dead center of our soul and spirit is ignited.

The Holy Spirit begins a work of burning out the dead things in our life that don’t belong there. We can see that as the junk piled up as sin in our lives. The fire then begins the illumination process to all the dark recesses of our life where dangerous and deadly things to our soul hide. You could say that the refining of the soul or the real man inside, begins. That process takes a lifetime until the last of this old person passes and the new man is free to live that real eternal life that God designed for us all. 

I guess a fire like that is something we can embrace. If once we see the beauty and the true life that comes from this flame, why wouldn’t we want to see all the old worthless things in our life burn away. Maybe we might understand all too well what Martin Luther King meant when he said, “Free at last, free and last, God Almighty I am free at last.” Might I add let Holy Spirit have its way and burn, baby, burn! 

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