Finally, be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power. – Ephesians 6:10
I’ve been studying the armor of God over the past few days. Paul speaks about the armor in chapter 6 of Ephesians, but in the first verse of that section, I was reminded of a conversation I had yesterday with my friend, Mandi.
We were talking about the part in Exodus 3 where Moses comes up on the burning bush. There he was out tending his father-in-law’s flock when suddenly there’s this bush that’s on fire, but somehow it’s not burning up. The scripture reads like this:
There the angel of the LORD appeared to him in flames of fire from within a bush. Moses saw that though the bush was on fire it did not burn up. So Moses thought, “I will go over and see this strange sight — why the bush does not burn up.” Exodus 3:2-3
And it occurred to me then that perhaps the reason for this strange sight was that God was giving Moses a visual. Not just a visual of His might and His power, although it certainly was that. But also a visual of what Moses would have to do to accomplish all the things God had planned for him.
God was showing Moses what it looked like to burn with the fire of His Spirit.
God was calling Moses to do something that in the flames of his own passions and abilities, Moses would never be able to pull off. And even Moses knew that. He’d even tried to talk God out of the whole thing, giving Him all kinds of reasons why he was the wrong guy…even to the point that God got pretty mad at Moses.
But you know, you can only argue with God up to a point and eventually Moses got it in gear.
I wonder how often Moses thought back to the burning bush that didn’t burn up.
To me it’s an extraordinary picture of walking the path of God being fueled by the Spirit of God.
See, when we try to operate in our own strength, especially in ministry, we eventually burn out. Every time I’ve ever tried to do something that was more my plan than God’s or something that I’ve tried to force in my own strength, most often I’ve just worn myself out and accomplished little. I just get totally burned out.
Or worse, I’ve allowed myself to be drawn toward something that really grabs my focus and if I’m not quick to get back on track, I’ve found myself being consumed by something that doesn’t do anything to deepen my relationship with God and if anything, pulls me away from Him.
God’s fire keeps us pure. It burns away all the unnecessary things that may cause us to stumble and fall off the path. Peter calls it a refining fire (1 Peter 1:7). Where all the junk and impurities are burned off and what’s left is pure.
God’s fire keeps our paths well-lit and serves as a guide. In the Old Testament, the presence of God was often signified by fire. God’s presence was a cloud of smoke by day and a pillar of fire by night while the Israelites travelled. Where the Presence went, the people went.
God’s fire will keep us burning for Him. If we live the way WE THINK we’re supposed to, trying to produce fruit in our lives, chances are we’ll become prideful trees that produce rotten fruit. When our hearts burn with love for God, our lives will naturally produce fruit as a result. We won’t have to keep tabs on our fruit, we won’t have to worry about it going bad because if the fire of God’s love is the driving force behind all that we do, the resulting fruit will be beautiful.
Lord, may we burn only with the fires of Your Spirit that we may be made pure and holy, and that we may be led only by You in all that we do. May our passions burn for You alone that there might be no other fire that consumes us but Yours.