Chances are if you were a Christian in the ‘70’s, you know the lyrics to the song, "Pass it On".
“It only takes a spark to get a fire going, and soon all those around will warm up in its glowing. That’s how it is with God’s love, once you’ve experienced it. You spread His love to everyone; you want to pass it on.”
My son and I built a fire in our backyard. It was amazing how much heat the small fire pit threw off. We kept moving our chairs further and further back because we were too warm. I began to meditate on fire and how our families can benefit from the metaphors it represents. The Holy Spirit descended with tongues of fire and this power is still present in our lives. Our families are fueled by the power of God’s Spirit within us. So what are the characteristics of fire?
Fire lights up the darkness around it much like we are called to be bearers of light into the darkness of our world.
"You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven" (Matthew 5:14-16).
We are to unashamedly shine our light in a dark and dying world. When we choose to embrace God's commands for our family, we cannot help but represent Heaven and all that it stands for shining light into the world.
Fire warms up the cold and lifeless. God will draw to himself those who are ready for the warmth of his grace and love. He draws others to himself by your example, and by your family’s example. From camping bonfires to barrel fires for the homeless, fire draws people to commune around it’s glowing embers. Be aware of the people God is drawing to the community of your family. It might be one of your children’s friends, a neighbor, or a lonely widower from church. Whoever they may be, recognize these dear ones as people assigned to your family. Invite them in to the warmth of your home and heart.
Fire is a cleanser that removes all the impurities. Metal refining is based on heating and melting metal, burning away that which doesn't belong.
"These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold--though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world" (1 Peter 1:7 NLT).
No matter what we have to face, we can do it with support and the safety of the environment of a family who loves us and is for us. In order to come through our trials, sometimes we have to go through the fire, but this is how we become purified and more beautiful than ever, bringing “much praise and glory and honor” to the Lord.
Fire is a revealer that exposes what is present. Cracks and weaknesses become more apparent in the stress of fire, heat, and light.
"Their work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each person's work" (1 Corinthians 3:13).
Fire reveals our motives. In metalwork, fire tests the integrity of the piece that is being worked on. Our integrity is tested by the fire of God. Difficult times, if tackled in a supportive family environment can be a time when we allow God’s will and desires to be revealed. But trials may also be a time when our stubbornness or selfishness, or that of a family member is revealed. Whichever the case, do not fear! Fire reveals who we are and where we are at, and in so doing we are able to make corrections, if necessary.
In the Old Testament, God led the children of Israel out of Egypt, and they were able to follow the Lord's leading by seeing a cloud by day and a fire by night. The fiery cloud hovered over the tabernacle. In the New Testament, tongues of fire hovered over the disciples, signifying that each of us are now the dwelling of the Holy Spirit.
"Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own!" (1 Corinthians 6:19 NIV).
Having a family worship time is a great way to invite the presence of God into your home. Sing a hymn or worship song together and corporately invite the Holy Spirit into your presence. As you do, you will experience a new level of the fire of God in your life.
Our lives and our families are still powered by the flame of the Holy Spirit, apart from him we are cold and lifeless. Many times someone may be described as a person who is “on fire” for God. There is much biblical basis for this analogy. May our families reflect this metaphor and set our world on fire for the kingdom of God.
Rev. Deb Koster