As I’ve been working on this series of essays about God as an all consuming fire, my daughter casually remarked, “You know, Dad, most people die of smoke – not the fire.”
“How appropriate,” I responded. “God is the fire burning within us. We are the fuel; He is the fire. The only thing we have to remember is that God’s fire is like the burning bush Moses saw. (Exo 3:2) God’s fire consumed the bush, but did not destroy the bush. In the same manner God’s fire consumes us, but doesn’t destroy us.”
“That’s cool, Dad!”
“But there’s more,” I continued. “This is the really interesting part. Listen to this:
“When a fire burns pure fuel, it burns clean and hot with no smoke. As we add impurities to the fuel – wet leaves and grass clippings for example – the fire dies down and begins to smoke. The more trash we pile on the fire the more it smokes and less hot it burns. If the smoke gets thick enough, we die of smoke inhalation. Or if we pile enough trash on the fire, we’ll smother it completely and lose its wonderful benefits.
“That’s exactly how God’s fire behaves within us. As we pile sin upon sin, His fire starts to die, smolder, and smoke. And the smoke of sin kills us. We die of sin inhalation! Or if we pile enough sin on God’s fire within us, we’ll smother it completely, harden our hearts, and lose His wonderful benefits.
“Physical smoke from a trashy fire kills physically.
Spiritual smoke from a trashy life kills spiritually.
Too much trash on a physical fire smothers the fire.
Too much sin in life smothers God’s spiritual fire and hardens the heart.”
God is indeed an all consuming fire – more ways than we imagine!
All is not as it looks