The natural element of fire is one of the most common entities that humanity has ever known. It is a natural part of our existence that has provided heat during the time of frigid temperatures and light during periods of darkness. Fire has been utilized for survival purposes for centuries, however, one characteristic of fire, is that it has the ability to spread.
A fire or a flame that is not contained has the propensity to spread to anything within its surrounding reach. While the element of fire has proven itself to be useful for human productivity, it can also be dangerous because of its destructive nature. Fire can literally burn and purge just about any source of matter that is flammable. It is a fire that can be difficult to contain if it reaches throughout a wide range of area, with wildfires in states such as California and Arizona being examples.
Nevertheless, there is one who exemplifies the essence of what fire is capable of and that is the person who is the almighty God. It is the presence of God that can be likened to that of fire, especially a fire that consumes. The glory of God is so powerful that we in our human condition cannot stand before God and survive. It is the very presence and existence of a Holy God that permeates through the Earth and can radically change our lives.
In the Bible, there are a few passages of scripture that refer to God as a ‘consuming fire.’ One of those scriptures is found in Deuteronomy Chapter 4. In this chapter, Moses is recorded as giving the Israelites instructions regarding the decrees and commands of God. Moses is admonishing Israel not to turn to idolatry but to live in obedience unto God. In verses 1-2 Moses says:
(NLT) “And now, Israel, listen carefully to these decrees and regulations that I am about to teach you. Obey them so that you may live, so you may enter and occupy the land that the Lord, the God of your ancestors, is giving you. Do not add to or subtract from these commands I am giving you. Just obey the commands of the Lord your God that I am giving you.”
He also goes on to mention what occurred when there were those who turned to worship the god called ‘Baal.’ Baal was a graven image that was worshiped by some at that time, however, in verse 3, Moses recounts the act of God utterly destroying anyone who worshiped Baal. If you read further in this chapter you will see that Moses challenges the Israelites not to break their covenant with God. Basically, he gives them specific instructions not to commit idolatry. Here is what Moses says:
(NLT) “So be careful not to break the covenant the Lord your God has made with you. Do not make idols of any shape or form, for the Lord your God has forbidden this. The Lord your God is a devouring fire; he is a jealous God.”
Notice the words, ‘devouring fire’ in the admonishment that Moses gives. Why does he use the words, ‘devouring fire?’ When you look at the end of verse 24, Moses says that God is a jealous God. This means that God will not tolerate any form of idolatry because He is jealous for our love toward Him. Going back to verse 3 of this scripture, Moses mentioned that God destroyed anyone who worshiped Baal. One of the characteristics of fire that was mentioned earlier is that it has the ability to destroy.
One of the things that God will do is bring judgment or punishment upon anyone who decides to serve another god other than Himself. He will also judge any person or nation that openly rejects His decrees which, in essence, is the same as blatant defiance. According to scripture, there is a side of God that produces wrath upon anyone who is opposed to Him or His ways.
However, there is another side of God as it relates to the metaphor used to link the characteristics of fire. While God is a jealous God as the scripture mentioned, He is also a God who is Holy. When you look at what fire is capable of doing, it will literally burn elements that are flammable to the point where it no longer exists. In this context, the devouring fire of God can also mean to purge all forms of unholiness or sin in a person’s life.
When you and I have an authentic relationship with God through Jesus Christ, we are transformed to be more like God. Nothing that is unholy or unclean can remain in the presence of the almighty God. 2 Corinthians 5:17 says, (ESV) “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” Basically, once you have had an actual encounter with Jesus Christ and you have experienced the glory of being in God’s presence, you are made new.
Like a fire changes its surroundings, you too become changed when you are truly in a relationship with God through Jesus Christ. It is the fire or presence of God that removes the sin within your life. You may be struggling with old habits or old mindsets that need to be transformed through Christ. This is why you and I need the Holy Spirit who is available to teach us and to guide us into His truth.
Much of the reason why our world is the way it is, is because of humanity’s sinfulness. It is the sin that corrupts and causes us as humans to be subject to the schemes and lies of our enemy who is satan. However, when you become connected and bask in the presence of a Holy God, the devouring fire of His holiness begins to change you at the core.
The final aspect of the element of fire that can be applied to who God is, is a fire’s ability to spread. Once you and I have experienced God for ourselves, it becomes difficult to remain silent about our encounter with God. The Prophet Jeremiah said in Jeremiah 20:9, (NLT) “But if I say I’ll never mention the Lord or speak in his name, his word burns in my heart like a fire. It’s like a fire in my bones! I am worn out trying to hold it in! I can’t do it!”
Anyone who has truly tasted the glorious nature and presence of God will be unable to withhold such splendor. That is because the glory of God becomes evident to you personally, and God’s glory begins to emanate from your very existence. What occurs is that the message of God begins to spread to others around you. It is then that the conviction of the Holy Spirit does the work on the cold-hearted and the lost.
The power of God cannot be stopped, nor can the light of Christ be hidden. There are many who claim Christianity and yet the power and testimony of God is nowhere to be found. Why is that? It may be because they have not tapped into the presence of God which is available to everyone who will accept Jesus Christ as their Lord & Savior. Or it may be that the testimony of Jesus Christ has been silenced due to fear or living ashamedly of the Gospel.
If you have not accepted Jesus as your Lord & Savior, you can do so while you have an opportunity. Your life will be changed forever once you experience the glory of God in His presence. To stoke the flame of this Holy fire, you must maintain a steady relationship with God through prayer, meditation on God’s word, and worship. The life of every person who encounters God’s Holiness will be changed forever. There isn’t such a thing as a person who is unchanged by God’s presence. The Holy and consuming fire of God will burn away all that is steeped within sinful living. Let God change your life through His consuming fire.