The last house we lived in had a real fire-place downstairs. Brett used the room as a large office and loved to build a fire and sit in front of it while he worked. I preferred the upstairs of the house because it was warmer than downstairs, but when Brett built a fire and invited me downstairs I would go. Well, I would go after the fire had started and had time to warm up the room. Though when I would finally arrive downstairs I was usually disappointed. The fire would be beautiful but the room was still cold. I would either sit on the floor directly in front of the fire, or sit in my big comfy chair and snuggle up to a space heater.
Last night I dreamt about the fire in that fire-place. I saw a beautiful fire in a cold room. In my dream I talked to a man who said he could build a fire that warmed up his room. When I asked him how he did it, he admitted that his room only got to 40 degrees. Forty degrees? How could he call that warm?
When I lived in Alaska, we had a wood stove in our five bedroom house. One night in the dead of winter it heated the house so hot, I had to get up in the middle of the night, put out the fire and open the windows and doors to cool the place down. Now, that was a fire that warmed the place up like a fire should.
I think sometimes in our spiritual lives we are perfectly happy with the fire we see in our fire-place. It looks good, it’s pretty, and it crackles and pops making the room feel cozy with atmosphere, problem is it doesn’t heat the room. But, like the man who seemed perfectly happy with his fire that heated his room to 40 degrees, we complacently accept that our fire only looks good and doesn’t bother sending molecules of heat out into the room, let alone get so hot that we have to open the doors and windows to let the heat outside.
Are you perfectly happy with a spiritual fire that heats your room to a chilly 40 degrees? Do you accept that as normal because nobody else’s fire heats any hotter than that? Do you believe that a luke warm spiritual fire is God’s plan for your life? Let’s take a look at the story of Jesus healing of the demonic in Luke 8:26-39. The demoniac lived in the graveyard. He was an outcast of society, unable to participate in normal social activities with other people. I would guess that being an evangelist for God had never crossed his mind. After all he did seem to be the most unlikely person that God would choose to evangelize his fellow country men. But Jesus looked past who he was and saw who he could become. He cast the demons out of him and when the townspeople saw what He had done they asked Jesus to leave. The healed man begged to go with Him, but Jesus said, “”Go home to your family, and tell them how much God has done for you.”
Only God would choose a demoniac to evangelize his country. If Jesus had gathered the disciples together before crossing the lake to the country of Gendarenes and told them his evangelistic plan, I’m sure it would have raised more than a few eye-brows. It is unlikely they would have supported his plan. The disciples would have formed a committee and discussed the best way to evangelize the country of Gendarenes. A study would have been done on their culture. The right building would have been rented. The most popular evangelist chosen. But, Jesus bypassed convention and went directly to the heart of the matter. Who better to witness for Him, than one who He could do the most for?
Let’s return to the cold room with the fire. Many times we prefer to tend to the fire ourselves than to give it over to God. Our pride likes others to see the pretty fire we have built. So though our fire burns our room stays cold. If we turn our fire over to God, He will set our whole house on fire. Problem is we don’t want our house on fire, that would mean that we can’t be seen any more, only God can be seen. What we want would no longer exist, only God’s will would exist. When we allow the Spirit to work in us the molecules of heat from our spiritual lives will reach out and heat up those around us with the fire of the Spirit.
When we allow God to be all in our life His love will fill up all the cracks of brokeness in us. When a broken place in your life causes you to stumble, if you choose to live in the presence of God and be filled with his loving actions the brokeness in your life will be filled with His love. When we are filled with His love, we will love Him more, when we love Him more we will trust Him and when we trust Him our faith will grow and we will believe that His plan for us is best and all things work together for good for those who love Him.