Kindled Fire

by APC on May 13, 2020

At a young age, I remember a teacher taking my class on a fieldtrip. Part of our excursion was studying how to become “one” with nature. The practicality of the lesson was learning survival skills, should we ever get lost in the wild. (I secretly wondered who was dumb enough to voluntarily come close enough to nature to begin with to even worry about this.)

Step one? Creating a fire. Somehow, we were supposed to accomplish this task without a lighter or a match. Even as a child, I was seriously doubting the intelligence of my teacher as my entire class (save yours truly) began to furiously rub sticks together in hopes of creating a spark.

I surveyed the scene. Alarm bells rang inside my head in vehement candor as the words of Smokey the Bear echoed in my ears: Smokey’s friends don’t play with matches. Only you can prevent forest fires. We were in a forest. There were dry pine needles all around us (perfect for kindling). And, there were dozens of kids, determined to produce a flame—some of whom were already experts in the task from hours of Boy-Scouting. They had the badge to prove it.

“We’re going to start a fire,” I exasperated to my teacher. Humor then alarm crested her eyes as the potential reality of the situation set in. I don’t exactly recall what transpired after that moment, but we also learned the importance of fire safety that day. There was a sure danger in kindling our own fire.

It’s not an everyday occurrence that we risk kindling a fire in our natural lives, unless you’re an avid camper, candle enthusiast, or in the habit of leaving on heat-generating appliances. But, we do run this risk daily in our spiritual lives.

Listen carefully, all you who kindle your own fire [devising your own man-made plan of salvation], who surround yourselves with torches, walk by the light of your [self-made] fire and among the torches that you have set ablaze. But this you will have from My hand: You will lie down in [a place of] torment (Isaiah 50:11, AMP).

Scripture warns us not to kindle our own fires. What does this mean? The Amplified version of the Bible explains this well: when we create own man-made plan of salvation. When does this happen? When we add to, take away from, misconstrue, etc. what God has already written in His Word (Deuteronomy 4:2; Revelation 22:18–19).

We see the gravity of this warning in Leviticus 10 when Aaron’s sons, Nadab and Abihu, let God’s holy fire burn out in the Tabernacle. They took censers and put their own fire and incense therein and offered it (strange fire) before the Lord. The end of the story? God took them out because they let go of the original, pure source of God’s presence and offered something man-made, and therefore, corrupted.

It’s easy to come up with excuses as to why we shouldn’t manifest our own fire. We’d be creatively hindered. It’s too hard to keep the original source burning. Fire is too difficult to maintain. We like the convenience of “quick” fire. Heat from other fires may burn just as brightly and keep us just as warm. Regardless of our excuses, we must be vigilant toward what we set ablaze in our lives.

Smokey the Bear’s saying is true for our spiritual walk. Only you can prevent forest fires. Kindling our own fire is a choice. Abstaining from it is a personal manifesto and moral we must hold true. We need to keep the true fire of the Lord burning in our lives and never allow it to burn out and/or seek our own kindling. Desire the fire, but desire the right fire. There is One who has promised to baptize with the Holy Ghost and with fire (Luke 3:16). It’s God. It’s the Word. And, His name is Jesus (John 1:1–14).