The journey of faith is filled with experiences that plunge our hearts into the fiery heat of trial to teach and purify us. Never is this more true than when Jesus prepares us to encounter the Father. Our God is a consuming fire and only if we are purified will we be able to meet with Him face to face.
The fiery furnace of testing
One chilly January morning, in early 2009, Wanda was preparing for her morning time with Jesus. She had arrayed her books and candles on the floor beside the bed so she could have a peaceful retreat without waking me. As I slept, Wanda bent over to reach for one of her favorite devotional books. Her hair came in contact with one of the many candles she used to light the room.
Instantly, Wanda’s hair became a mass of flames. Her screams shocked me awake. All I could see was a consuming fire. Without thinking, I tackled Wanda with the blankets. The blaze smothered, I uncovered my wife and found, much to my relief, she was unhurt. Wanda lost a good deal of her long hair and had a slight burn on her ear, but God spared her from significant damage.
The picture of my beloved wife’s hair in flames is seared into my memory. When I read my Father’s book and about His fire, that visual plays back in my mind. Our God is a consuming fire. Whether you see His fire as positive or negative depends on your perspective.
Our God is a consuming fire
God’s holiness is often portrayed as a fire. Nothing can come near to Him without being purified by fire. Our spirit can pass through fire because spirit is a part of the Father. What cannot pass through His consuming fire is our ‘self’ nature. God will destroy the ‘self’ nature for it is not from Him.
At the end of time every person must pass before God. Those that have grown in spirit and have repented of ‘self’ are invited to dwell with God. Those that chose ‘self’ will spend the rest of eternity separated from the Father; cast into the fire. The reality is that stark.
The open door
Jesus prefers no person be separated from the Father. In laying down His life Jesus cleared the way for us to come before the Father. Although His sacrifice opened the door of salvation, it does not destroy the ‘self’ nature within each person. That requires action on our part.
Inside of everyone is a trespasser; ‘self’. Originating from satan ‘self’ has caused enormous havoc in our lives since before we were born. Ask any addict. Not sure you have ‘self’? Here is a partial list of the things to look for.
Repenting of 'self'
Many think these are minor faults. They excuse themselves; explaining their ‘self’ filled action away. Unfortunately, all these actions, and more, reveal the ‘self’ nature. If the root of ‘self’ is not removed dire consequences await. No mere weak professing of faith will help.
Because our God is a consuming fire Jesus calls us to bring our ‘self’ nature to Him in repentance. He is offering us a way to remove the destruction of ‘self’ in our lives and replace it with His spirit. His offer is one of life and freedom that ‘self’, satan and others have convinced us is impossible. Now some think repenting of ‘self is an action we take only at salvation, but it is not.
Jesus is calling every believer to a lifestyle of continual daily repentance from ‘self’.
Sacrifice for holiness
‘Self’ has taken a lifetime to bring you to where you are now. It will take a good deal of time to remove its tentacle like grip over our souls. If we follow Jesus in faith, He will lead us on a path that will remove the ‘self’ nature.
This process will not be easy because ‘self’ has convinced us that ‘self’ is who we are. Any removal of ‘self’ means we will be destroyed. That is a lie we faced in the wilderness. Though many times we thought we would die, and even prayed for death, God spared us. What died was ‘self’. It took many months to realize that who we were wasn’t what ‘self’ was. By making that separation, Jesus was freeing us from the death grip ‘self’ had on us.
As you walk in faith Jesus will lead you on a similar journey of faith to eliminate ‘self’. This will require painful sacrifice as He disconnects ‘self’ from who you are. When this happens, please don’t quit. Stick with Jesus. Walk with Him through the consuming fire. Cling tighter to Him than you ever have. Yes, it is painful but you will be free, finally free, from a darkness you never thought you could leave. You will have freedom in this life and will dwell forever with a Father who loves you more than you can ever grasp.
Homer and Wanda