He always found the crack and pop of the fire soothing. Fires had that effect on him.”
–G. Michael Hopf (Vengeance Road)
“So they said to each other, ‘Weren’t our hearts ablaze within us while He was talking with us on the road and explaining the Scriptures to us?'”
–Luke 24:32 (HCSB)
For the last several years we have spent Thanksgiving camping. One of my main jobs is to get the morning fire started, keep it going, and make the morning coffee. I cheated some this year–I didn’t camp. But since the campsite was only sixteen miles from the house I would get up in the morning, go out and do my chore.
I have sat in front of many a campfire–hence the title of my devotions, “Echoes From the Campfire.” It seems that much pondering can go on around a campfire. Of course, there is the cooking, the coffee, the camaraderie, and the family time. Many years ago, when I was back in youth, some of the best times were around a bonfire, each person holding a pine cone in their hand and when it came their turn they would toss it in the fire and testify what the Lord had done for them, or what they wanted Him to do, or prayers that had been answered. Many would repent and come back to the Lord. It was as if the flames flickering and waving in the fire was doing the same things in the hearts of those around.
Fire is one of the main symbols of the Holy Spirit. I won’t go into all of the things that fire does but I will mention them and you can fill in the analogy as you ponder this devotion. Fire: consumes, purifies, breaks, softens, hardens, inflames, warms, cheers, fuses, assimilates, tests, illuminates, moves, and ascends. God, Himself, is referred to as a “consuming fire.”
There was a time when hunting near Eagle, Colorado that the campfire was a very welcome sight. It was miserably cold, and I can handle being cold when out hunting. (I need to add that hunting in Colorado is not sitting in a stand, there is moving around.) However, when I come to camp I want to be warm. The only time we were warm that week was when we were arund the fire or in our sleeping bags. It was cold, but the thought of fire encouraged us to get back to camp in the evening. That in itself brought cheer to our hearts and minds.
One other aspect of the fire I’ll mention. Fire assimilates. Matthew Henry stated that, “Fire makes all it seizes like itself.” The Holy Spirit, “the Fire”, is in the process of burning away the old person and making us like Him. He is working in us. Remember, the Holy Spirit works from the inside out. Before He begins to clean the outside, He burns up what is inside and makes it like Himself.
This is a lifetime work. Would that it was not so, but we are so stubborn at times and will fight His work in us. We are His temple and He will burn everything out that doesn’t please Him. Some things are like paper and they burst readily into flame. Other things are like a stubborn old stump that will smolder giving up lots of smoke in its burning. It will eventually be consumed, but not brightly like other types of wood.
So, when you are going through the fire, what is it that the Spirit is trying to do? Is He trying to purify you, or soften you? Is He trying to assimilate you or harden you? Is He trying to warm and cheer you or consume you? Time to ponder.