Consuming Fire

Consuming Fire – that is what my God is – a consuming fire. Consuming what? The dross of this earthly clay, this mortal shell, this impure vessel, this admixture of the molten culture of this world alloyed with the spirit and likeness of God that I was originally created to be.

There is a feeling about who God is that is rampant in the world of religion that makes God out to be a pathetic and kindly old man with best wishes and a warm heart that accepts and is satisfied with whatever you choose to offer. That is not God anymore than the angel of light is the devil. It is another perversion and corruption of Truth designed to deceive you and help you believe what you want to believe (the easiest sales job on earth – Ear Tickler) so that you will not become a son of God, so that you will become like the idol you hold in your mind – a timid, pathetic, kindly old man (or woman) with best wishes and a warm heart that accepts and is satisfied with whatever you choose to offer.

Notice I said there is a feeling about God (a warm and fuzzy one at that, that makes a heart go pitter-patter). A feeling is the easiest place on earth to hide a lie. A feeling is based on our own faulty perception. How many times have you been wrong about something you have felt. God is not a feeling, He is a Fact, more Real than this world and its charades of reality. My God is not a figment of your or my feeling, my God is a consuming fire!!!!!

Remember when God met Moses in the burning bush? The bush burned but is was not consumed. That is a picture of God in man. He burns inside you, he burns and consumes but He does not consume you, just everything else that is not like You in Him. He burns up the dirt and filth of this world that clings to you but You in Him are not consumed. He is your safe place. Everything in the end will be consumed that is not in Him. He is the ark of salvation. Come aboard.

This actually was meant to be an introduction to what I really want to talk about. The message God has been speaking to me mostly through my experience for a couple of months (er years, er decades) now is the title for the series I will write on for the next series of weeks through the Listen message delivered of Saturdays. The thought is that “Suffering is your opportunity to show your quality” or just “Your Opportunity” for short.

Think of the Bible heroes, the shining ones of our faith: Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Rahab, Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jepthah, David, Samuel and the Prophets and many many more. “Who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions,  Quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens.  Women received their dead raised to life again: and others were tortured, not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection:  And others had trial of cruel mockings and scourgings, yea, moreover of bonds and imprisonment:  They were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword: they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented;  (Of whom the world was not worthy:) they wandered in deserts, and in mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth.  And these all, having obtained a good report…” Heb. 11. Sounds like a whole lot of shakin’ (i.e. suffering) going on.

We all have our giants to fell. God wants to bring more than just two men (Joshua and Caleb) into the Promised Land, he wants to bring everybody. We must face our fears of the enemy and claim our heritage… more than conquerors through Christ. That is why God places so much value on confession before men, being witnesses, living the Christ-life out loud – because it isn’t easy. In fact, if you do it as designed, you will be required to die in the process.

Die to what? Die to this world, die to yourSelf, die to everything that you hold in great esteem and value that God is jealous over. He is not jealous over anything that is dedicated to Him and set apart for His purposes, but everything else must go. Fire sale, literally.

So here is the inspiration of the title to get us started. In the movie “Return of the King”, the last of the Lord of the Rings trilogy, there is a scene where the father of Faramir, the steward of Gondor, gives Faramir the challenge of “an opportunity to show your quality” as he pressures him with unrighteous motives to go to a certain death battle and lead the charge.

The father had taken possession of the throne of Gondor, the seat of the throne of the King, when he was killed. He and his sons Boramir and Faramir become heirs apparent and have in some ways taken the rule of the city by default. The father wants to secure his position as reigning ruler and so puts his hopes in his son’s bravery. Boramir is the golden son, the apple of the fathers eye and he shuns the younger brother, Faramir as a coward, unworthy of his respect and affection (though in reality he is not). All this is a backdrop to the challenge that he gives Faramir to show his quality.

That statement is in essence a death wish for his son. In his grief that his eldest son Boramir has died, he wants Faramir to be removed permanently from his sight. Therefore when the city is under siege he sends him to certain death. The thought is: your king and your country require this (death) of you, now go prove your worthiness. As is often the case he meant it for harm, but God meant it for good. Think Job.

Suffering is Gods way of proving us, of showing our quality to Satan and the demonic host. It is the place that sons are born, the true quality of a son is in his heroic ability to die to himself for King and kindred. Then God says with a goodly smile, “This is my Son in whom I am well pleased”.

“Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven.” Matthew 10:32

and again…

“Also I say unto you, Whosoever shall confess me before men, him shall the Son of man also confess before the angels of God.” Luke 12:8.

Suffering, your offering yourSelf as a daily sacrifice, is your confession before men. Suffering is your opportunity to show your quality.