Fire

No Place I’d rather be 
No Place I’d rather be 
No place I’d rather be 
Here in your Love, 
Here in your love 

Set a Fire Down in my Soul 
That I cant contain that I cant control 
I want more of you God 
I want more of you God

This song keeps coming up for me and I’ve been reflecting on some of the lyrics, specifically the part about setting a fire in my soul that is beyond my control or containment.

The idea of God’s presence as fire is something that has popped up alot with me. While at Houseboats, this song was the close out of our big decision night. You know how some major spiritual experiences often have theme songs that define the trip? This was the major theme of houseboats (at least towards the end). For me it became a prayer for the students who were recognizing a need for Jesus in their lives and wanted to connect with Him that they would not just have some kind quick and exciting emotional experience, but that the fire that burst in their hearts would be a lasting and growing thing. 

Then I was asked by a group of fellow college ministers/directors as to what I’m learning and I realized that a similar metaphor worked for what God was doing with me. (begin metaphor) I’m feeling more and more like a blacksmith whose job it is to tend a fire and give temperance and direction to the fire for a purpose. (end metaphor) Not a perfect metaphor, but I get to be a blacksmith in it, so roll with it. With my college students, I’m seeing a lot of exciting passion to follow God and some really spectatcular growth is going on and part of what I’m feeling God lead me to do is to help direct the fire that He is fanning in my students’ lives. My difficulty is trying to find the balance between not quenching the fire that is growing in the hearts of my students and allowing that fire to blaze relentlessly to the point that it is damaging. Again, metaphor is imperfect.

This song strikes me as a terrifying prayer. Asking that God would burn as a fire in our souls beyond our ability to contain or control in an overwhelming burst of God’s presence is pretty scary. Fire is a scary thing. It may have all sorts of wonderful benefits, but it is also consuming and has a mind of its own. 

In 1 Corinthians, Paul writes about a particular situation where the fire of God tests us and it always comes to my mind whenever talking about God as fire. An uncontrollable fire burns without discretion and consumes everything in its path and thinking of inviting God to be a fire in our lives is an invitation to be burned. I’m constantly asking God to work in my life and remove the parts of my life I haven’t submitted completely to His control, but asking for that fire to refine and consume is a huge question. but it is a question worth asking. 

That fire we invite into our lives is the same fire that will judge all and in the end, we will all see whether our actions can stand in the fire. Inviting it now is to our benefit. I’d rather live and move in actions that last than continue to surround myself with worthless thoughts, deeds, and words. I think I can agree with the song that there is no place I’d rather be than right there, centered in the consuming and refining love of Jesus.

11 For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12 If anyone builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, 13 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 3:11-13

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