Throughout Scripture, fire is one of the main symbols used to depict and represent the presence of God the Holy Spirit. But I was always a bit troubled by the analogy… after all, I grew up in the rainforest, and it didn’t take much to put out a fire there. Then there were all those childhood songs -- “This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine,” we sang cheerily – “don’t let Satan ‘poof’ it out, I’m gonna let it shine…” Good grief, I used to think, if all it takes is a ‘poof’ to put out the work of God in our lives, we’re in trouble! It’s no wonder people would want to “hide it under a bushel” – better to at least have the power of God at work in your own life; you’ve gotta protect that kind of weak flame, forget sharing it – that just makes you more vulnerable!
I learned a fascinating bit of trivia today -- It seems fire is able to hide from snow. Apparently, a fire that has started in the forest can begin working on a stump, consuming it and eventually burning down, down, down, even below ground! In this manner, a fire that has begun in August or September -- though put out by fire crews, or rain, or time -- can actually continue to stubbornly burn on, even throughout a winter, as it slowly eats it’s way through the vast root systems of a long dead tree… only to rekindle a new fire above ground the following year. Wow.Oswald Chambers writes, “Faithfulness to Jesus Christ is the supernatural work of redemption that has been performed in me by the Holy Spirit – ‘the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit…’ (Romans 5:5). And it is that love in me that effectively works through me and comes in contact with everyone I meet.” Did you get that? We are able to be faithful to Jesus because of work that has been performed by the Holy Spirit – what is that work? – ‘the love of God has been poured out in our hearts.’ If the Spirit of God is a flame, the love of God is like holy oil – ‘poured out in our hearts!’ -- and oil fires don’t snuff out easy. Even when we get in the way of God, His fire in us is still burning. Even when we mess up and make bad choices, it’s still there burning. Even if we try our hardest to remain undercover Christians – still burning. The love of God for the people around you is already in you, ready to ignite, ready to work through your life as you come in contact with others – but the oxygen for ignition is your willingness. Go on, get out above ground and let Christ be contagious through you – go start a forest fire.