God and I have an unusual approach/avoidance issue. I love him and am drawn to him, yet simultaneously draw back. I see the threat he represents to my complacency and self will, and resist some changes. Ironically, unless I resolve that paradox, I’ll be torn, stuck in the middle, and will never receive the best he offers.
“A Consuming Fire”
How long shall I linger
at the fringes of the flames
loving the heat from a distance
but fearing the touch of the coals
Knowing that going closer
will consume issues
I still yearn to cling to
Why does God scare me? He’s holy. I’m not. I want his holiness. Mostly. But my lukewarm holiness can’t easily exist with fully worshipping him, “let us…worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, ‘for our "God is a consuming fire’” (Hebrews 12:28-29). You see, a fire only warms by consuming.
Consuming what? Peter provides a clue, “you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honour when Jesus Christ is revealed” (1 Peter 1:6-7). Fire purifies gold by adding heat that eliminates impurities. Fire purifies us by adding heat that eliminates impurities.
So, do we desire to hold onto some impurities in our faith? That causes us to shrink from the flames. Or, do we desire to eliminate impurities from our faith? That causes us to jump into the flames. Seems pretty simple, at least in theory. But which of the two options bring the most long term benefit?
I need to jump into the flames. Maybe creeping is OK, if I continue?
Kick Starting the Application
Do you tend to shrink from the flames of our consuming God, or approach them? What most causes you to draw back? Why? What most draws you into the flames? Are you willing to at least begin creeping, if not jumping?