When I heard God’s love is an all-consuming fire, I had a negative perception of God. After years of searching for truth, the dross and waste of wrong information has finally been burnt out of my heart. Through trials, hard knocks and living, I have come to know that God is truly a loving God and He desires to have a relationship with me
My Sweet Al and I came from a church whose Sunday morning message was Hell, fire and damnation. We shook in our boots, fearful and terrified we might do something wrong. We expected God’s wrath to come down on us and hit us between the eyes with a two-by-four.
We didn’t want to come under his judgment even though we deserved it. There was no way we were perfect enough to meet a perfect God. We would surely fail in His eyes.
How can anyone love someone they fear? How can anyone build a relationship out of fear? They can’t. Why would anyone want to dwell in God’s presence? My heart is saddened to type these words.
Many have walked through this same kind of fire, under judgment, been burned and turned their backs on God. This dross of fear tactics and negative teaching took years to burn off in order for us to believe in a loving God.
David, a man after God’s own heart, constantly begged God to cleanse him. He penned in Psalm 42, “I long to drink of God. To drink deeply from the streams of pleasure flowing from his presence. My longings overwhelm me for more of God.”
I asked my Sweet Al, “What did David mean to drink from the streams of God’s pleasure?” He thought about it, but didn’t have an answer.
“Let me give you an example. I had coffee with a writer friend yesterday. We discussed a new book to bring to the writers’ group. This man has a beautiful, pure spirit. He knows the cleansing power of God’s love. The morning was like sitting in God’s presence and drinking God’s pleasure.”
This is how I think David experienced God. Having coffee with a covenant friend is like drinking of God’s pleasure.
I’m amazed how God has opened my insight, unveiled his mysteries, gently nudged me into his arms and loved on me. The knowledge I am acquiring is more than me getting older. I believe it’s because I’ve opened my heart to be loved by God.
A footnote in The Passion Translation Bible reads, “Love unlocks mysteries. As we love Jesus, our hearts are unlocked to see more of his beauty and glory. When we stop defining ourselves by our failures, but rather as the one whom Jesus loves, then our hearts begin to open to the breath-taking discovery of the wonder of Jesus Christ.”
I met with two friends this week who came from different religious backgrounds. We each had horror stories as proof of our religious battles and wounds. The bottom line was how long it took for us to come into a true relationship with God.
God’s love is an all-consuming fire. Not as something to fear, but as God’s passionate love for us to embrace. He loves us too much to leave us broken. His fire is designed to cleanse and burn off the dross and make us whole.
The three men who wouldn’t bow to the golden image of Nebuchadnezzar were thrown into the fiery furnace. They were not burned, not singed, nor even had the smell of smoke on them. The only thing burned was their bindings.
I had never seen that the fiery furnace was a cauldron for God’s love to show his power to those who knew him and those who didn’t. And of course, the fourth man in the furnace was Jesus.
Hebrew 12:28 reads, “For our God is a holy, devouring fire.” We have escaped judgment through Jesus. Because God is jealous for us, He has delivered us from the darkness of this world. His love is an all-consuming fire.
Final brushstroke: We are being awakened to the power of the immediate and have gained right thinking. We have lived our whole lives preparing for this moment. Our eyes are privileged to see what we didn’t see when we were younger. If I’m singing to the choir, forgive me. It never hurts to be remind us God loves us.
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