This is part 3 of a 4 part series entitled, “Where’s The FIRE?”
Have you ever been so focused on doing something, or getting somewhere, so quickly that someone asks, “Where’s the fire?” Perhaps you’ve done something so well that you hear the comment, “Wow! You’re really on fire!” Or maybe you’ve heard it said about you, or someone else, “They’re really on fire for God!”
As I thought about each of these, and other similar phrases, I began to wonder what is at the heart of being on fire metaphorically. What elements are needed to reach the point of “being on fire”, particularly in my relationship with God through Jesus Christ? Perhaps looking at some elements of a campfire can help us start, or rekindle, a relationship with God that is truly on FIRE!
In the first post of this series I wrote about the Fuel needed for a life “on FIRE” and the second post covered the Ignition source necessary. Now we turn our attention to an important, but often overlooked, part of a campfire — and of being “on FIRE” — Respect! A campfire can be a beautiful, warming, even a calming and peaceful thing to watch and experience. It is a great tool to aid in relaxing, reflecting on the day, and even cooking the day’s meal! Without the proper respect, however, the same campfire can quickly take a destructive and deadly turn. Many fires ranging from the small grass fires to the massive wildfires can be traced back to a simple phrase, “I didn’t think it would spread — I thought I had it under control”. A lack of respect for the conditions, purpose, and need for the fire can allow a small blaze to rapidly spread out of, and beyond, control.
So, what role does Respect have in our being “on FIRE” for God? My first thought goes to how do we use the burning combination of God’s Word and His Spirit? We need to have a respect for the power represented through the name of Jesus! Throughout the Bible there were people who thought they could play with fire — literally and figuratively — and get away with it. People thought they could manipulate the power of God for their own glory and benefit only to be “burned” in the end. Without respect, or reverence, for God it is far too easy to attempt to put ourself into a position that only belongs to God.
We also must understand and respect the specific purpose of the fire we represent and any point and time. Once the Word of God is ignited in our life, how we use it can bring healing and warmth to a person or harm and devastation. We are told to always be ready to give an answer for the hope that lies within us. That verse goes on to tell us to do so with “gentleness and respect”. Many times we need to evaluate the situation before us and determine just how big of a fire is needed! When I build a campfire at camp, I’m always assessing the surroundings, the weather conditions, the purpose of the fire, and other elements to determine where to build the fire and how much fuel to use so that the fire meets its purpose and is useful.
Respect is the element that keeps you from “torching” someone with your use of God’s Word! I pray that as you and I live in the power of the Word through the Spirit of God that we would do so with a reverence for God and a respect for the people around us!