photo by Paul Militaru :) thanks paul!!
Billows of smoke rose from the pan that used to contain our dinner…well it still did really. It simply wasn’t edible any longer. The charred remains made me sigh deeply. As I opened windows and doors, feelings of defeat and inadequacy consumed me. I used to be a pretty fair cook…when did I become so inept?
When the fires of life happen, we often feel defeated, burned out, depressed and sometimes simply unworthy. Our inner critique yells at us:
You should have known better.
How often are you going to make this same mistake?
What will others think?
When will you ever learn?
Then we label ourselves as failures.
To combat feelings of inadequacy, we attempt to do everything by the book, to live perfectly as a Christian. We expect flawlessness, and let the hatchet fall when we can’t live up to that perceived image of who and how we should be.
But here’s the thing:
We will never be perfect; not this side of heaven anyway.
But daily struggles still fill our lives with smoke, and most of us will do everything in our power to avoid them. The inner thought here is that we somehow deserve them. But I’d like to propose something here- The Holy Spirit is at fault.
Now before you object too heartily, hear me out. At Pentecost, what was it that hovered over the believers as the Holy Spirit fell upon them?
And what did John the Baptist say Jesus would do?
Baptize with the Holy Spirit and Fire
And what did Paul say that God was in the book of Hebrews? (Hebrews 12:29)
A consuming Fire.
Are you starting to see a pattern here?
The Holy Spirit, the 3rd part of God, the part that we want to walk with us throughout our day, and give us wisdom to make choices - comes with Fire.
So what does this mean for us? Many things really. Did you know that there are 364 passages in the bible (niv) that refer to Fire? In these verses, fire is described as
Consuming and destructive
Refining and cleansing
A catalyst for an offering
A sign of the presence of God.
I don’t know about you but I have always had an image in my mind of the Holy Spirit looking more like a dove than a raging fire. The peaceful white dove fluttering down from the heavens and landing with peace and serenity.
“Just as Jesus was coming up out of the water, he saw heaven being torn open and the Spirit descending on him like a dove.” Mark 1:10
Most of us have heard this story of the baptism of Jesus. We envision harps and angels and a feeling of peace and well-being. But did you notice that it says that heaven is torn open? That the spirit descended like a dove?
Have you ever had a dove – or any bird really, descend on you at the beach? Especially if you are holding food. It is anything but peaceful! Their wings flap wildly and their claws are out, waiting for the opportune moment to teach you a lesson – never eat food at the beach!
Seriously, that descending can take your breath away, and change your perceptions forever. It’s one thing to watch from afar, but quite another to experience it close up. And that is what the Holy Spirit brings: a refining, all consuming, light bearing sign of the presence of God in our lives. And it isn’t always pretty and peaceful.
Now don’t get me wrong, the Holy Spirit is a gentleman. He will not enter where he is not wanted. But when you ask for His guidence, when you ask to grow in faith and love and be what God has designed you to be, that invitation comes with risks. Mainly, all of those little things in your life, habits or desires, that don’t belong there? Well, let’s just say that nothing is off limits to the Holy Spirit of God.
Think about it this way. God loves us immensely – right where we are. But He loves us WAY too much to leave us that way. Those fires in our lives are meant to refine who we are, and bring us closer to the glory that is our Creator. It can be difficult to see as we are going through them…for a while everything just looks charred and inedible. But as we walk it through with the aid of the Holy Spirit, wisdom will burn away the layers revealing the beauty below.
And we will emerge – changed.
So, when those fires begin to rage, and believe me they will, let it ignite something below the surface that says
“I will emerge a different person; changed, refined and closer to the light that is God.” tweet this
He will never leave you alone. His Spirit is right there by your side, refining within you a pleasing offering to heaven. Welcome it and be glad! And may your days be blessed with wisdom and grace.
Soli Deo Gloria!
Are you going through a trial or challenging fire? We would love to pray with you. Please leave a comment or submit a prayer request, and our team of prayer warriors will walk along side you.
Lisa is a wife, a mom, a lover of Jesus, and all around creative soul. She has been gifted as a visionary and leader, and seeks to be obedient in that calling from God. Her personal journey is varied and ever changing as she takes obedient steps each and every day, and follows the leading of the Lord.
Read her personal journey through writing here: lisaevola.com