I have been told on multiple occasions that I could find a sermon or an outline in anything. Maybe it’s because I have put together so many outlines, heard one too many sermons or even preached one too may sermons. Either way, it is true. I typically have no problem finding a sermon in most anything.
The day before yesterday was no exception to this reality. Living here in the mountains of western North Carolina, we don’t have the luxury of a garbage truck picking up our garbage regularly. So we throw it in a barrel and burn it. I never leave a fire, even if it is in a barrel, after starting it. As I was just sitting there watching it I began to relate that fire to the presence of God in the life of the Christian. I noticed 3 things that I want to share.
First, I had to initiate the fire. I couldn’t just expect the fire to start just because I put trash in the barrel. I had to have a lighter and start the fire myself. The first yet most ignored truth about the Spirit of God is that He will never invite Himself into our lives. The Holy Spirit is a perfect gentleman. He’ll never force Himself onto anybody. We must invite Him to fill our lives. We must desire His presence. Just because you went to church sunday or just because you prayed today does not dictate the Presence of God in your life.
Second, I noticed that regardless of how much trash I had in the barrel, when the fire was present it consumed the entirety of the inside of the barrel. The fire had dominated that barrel and consumed it’s contents. The Spirit of God is the same way. When we have His presence in our lives, He will dominate our lives. The more of His presence we have, the cleaner our hearts will be. This truth is reiterated in Psalms 119:11 where the Psalmist said, “Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.”
Third, I noticed that when the fire was burning, there was no question. Had my neighbor walked up while i was burning the trash, he would have never had to ask if there was a fire or not. The same concept is true for the Child of God. There should be no question at all about the Lord in our lives. Many years ago when I was still in grade school, my grandparents and I were traveling home from campmeeting in North Carolina. As we usually did on this trip, we stopped at a huge western outlet store outside of Montgomery. My grandpa has always loved cowboy boots, so he and I were looking at a few pairs. While we were doing so, a lady that worked there walked up to my grandpa and said, “You’re a preacher ain’t ya?” He replied “Yes I am!” She said she could tell just by being around him. We had never seen this lady before, nor have we seen her since. That is the way our lives should be governed. There should be no doubt that we are born again. We are eternally saved by the Blood of Christ!
May God help my fire to keep burning! When the fire of God is burning on the inside, it will reflect on the outside. I want to be more like Christ everyday of my life.
“For our God is a consuming fire.” — Hebrews 12:29