I was at a wedding last weekend when these words arrested my heart: How are we going to keep the flame alive in marriage? Not an uncommon question to be introduced at a wedding, but there was something different about this one. The Lord’s hand was on it, hovering, breathing, inviting.
Maybe it was the season that Alex and I had gone through. Maybe I was finally ready to hear the answer to that question without being clouded by idealistic fancy or bitter cynicism. Or maybe it was just simply God’s time. It could’ve been all of the above, but simply put, it was uncomfortably impossible to ignore.
It brought me to a halt. I could not brush it out of the way.
So I asked Him: How do we keep the flame burning in marriage? And really, I meant that question for any relationship/mission we might be called to.
Holy Spirit, the wisest + wittiest person I know, swiftly came back with this rejoinder: By catching fire.
I’d like to say right off the bat that this is one of those messages where the messenger is probably learning right alongside the hearer as she delivers the communiqué.
I’m still learning what it means to set my soul on fire + kindle that flame. And seriously? It’s not just in marriage, but pretty much every other area of life. For some, it’s about relationships. For others, it could be about abiding in a season of singlehood, or sticking it out in a marathon, or hope for a hopeless situation. Wherever we are, I pray for the Teacher’s wisdom to show us how to apply this so we get to live fully alive in every area of life.
HEARTS THAT BURN. This is talked about too much + not enough all at once.
Revival. On fire. Awakening. These are some of the many words thrown around in our hipster generation, and these words reflect the nature of their era — they look good, sound cool, but are adopted by people who might not fully understand what it means.
In the deluge of words, my heart breaks when sometimes the truth of those words get lost in translation and people get shortchanged because they never knew there was a deeper richness available to all who would seek it.
So can we get one thing out in the open? Fire hurts.
Fire cleanses, purifies, sustains life.
It brings gold out of the rock.
But the process hurts sometimes.
You don’t play with fire because fire consumes, overtakes, dominates. You don’t take it lightly or use it flippantly because, while it is a handy servant, it is a demanding master.
We ask God for hearts on fire for Him, and then we tend to wonder why everything starts to go wrong in our lives. Good things come to those who seek Him, right?
We forget that in order for God to make our hearts wholly His, everything else that’s taken up residence in there has to go. He is the Consuming Fire that burns up all the dross.
And we don’t like that. We resist. We want the fire on our terms, at our whim + fancy.
We forget that He is not our lackey but our Lord.
And I feel like if we talked more about the Fire, we’d have more people living fully alive in the church.
“Then fire from the Lord came down and burned the sacrifice, the wood, the stones, and the ground around the altar. It also dried up the water in the ditch. When all the people saw this, they fell down to the ground, crying, “The Lord is God! The Lord is God!”
1 Kings 18: 38 & 39
Here’s what happens for those who do let His fire in.
They become burning effigies of Jesus Christ. Monuments, representatives, lighted beacons that show the world Jesus.
And that fire, His consuming fire, will overtake. It eats up the small fires or greed, selfishness, complacency, religiosity… and establishes His raging inferno in their place. That’s when we truly begin to live. Combustion happens. And it is no longer us endeavoring to keep the flame (in marriage, in our jobs, in ministry) alive, but His fire that eternally lights the blaze.
So we catch fire this way: We lay ourselves on the altar. And we let His fire set us ablaze.
We don’t need to holler + yell like to prophets of Baal did. God doesn’t need to be convinced, nor is He deaf.
A laid-down sacrifice will always attract His fire.
And that child of God that’s caught on fire? Well, watch out. She’s gonna change her world.
So maybe let this be the start of some conversations we need to have. What are some areas in your life that maybe need to come fully alive? Are we holding back any parts because we’re afraid of what His fire would do? Do we need to readjust the lenses through which we view + trust Him? Can we choose to surrender those areas of our hearts today?