Transformed by Fire
In western North America there is a specie of pine tree called the Lodgepole Pine. Native Americans used the poles from this tree for the framework of their tipis since the wood is long, straight and lightweight. These pines grow in areas that are prone to forest fires, and, in fact, need the fire to maintain a healthy population.
Fire is the means by which a forest of these trees regenerates. The fire consumes the understory of dead and decaying vegetation and leaves behind a carbon-rich soil that is perfect for germinating seeds. The Pine depends upon the heat of the fire to melt the resin that seals the seed behind the pinecone scales. The cones are called serotinous because seeds are released in response to fire, an environmental trigger. Large quantities of seed fall to the ground, germinate on the seedbed prepared by the fire and produce a dense stand of new Lodgepole Pines. They frequently grow so dense that other species cannot grow.
We, like the Lodgepole Pine, need the fire of the Holy Spirit to transform us into healthy Christians who resemble our Lord and Master, Jesus Christ. This fire has a two-pronged affect: refining and purifying. The prophet Malachi says of the Lord, "He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver; He will purify the Levites and refine them like gold and silver. Then the Lord will have men who will bring offerings in righteousness." (Malachi 3:3) The goal of the Holy Spirit fire is to transform us into the likeness of Christ so that we can stand before a holy God. What transpires on earth is preparation for that day. We must give permission to the Holy Spirit to work within us.
In 1997, when the Airport Christian Fellowship was in the middle of a move of the Spirit that affected the world, worship leader Ruth Fazal put out a CD called Fire of Love. One of the songs is entitled, "Lord, Light the Flame."
"Lord, light the flame of my heart, so I may live for You. O let it burn deep and bright, that I may shine Your light. Come cleanse and purify, the sin within me, let it die. And let me live in Your fire; O Holy God, that's my desire.
Lord stir the fire in my heart, that I may live for You. O Jesus, pour out Your love, that I may love You too. Go deep within me now, O Holy Spirit, come with power. And let me live in Your fire; O Holy God, that's my desire."
If we want to grow in intimacy with the Lord, we must call out to Him to place His flame/fire in our hearts. We must live in His fire to be cleansed and purified by the burning love of our Savior. The Lord is looking for a company of holy priests (1 Peter 2:5) and a radiant Church/bride without stain or wrinkle. (Ephesians 5:27) The fire of God is meant to transform the Church so that Jesus becomes her first priority. Then we will see the wonders and miracles of heaven coming to earth.
God reveals Himself to us in the midst of fire. He is described this way in the books of Isaiah, Ezekiel and Revelation. John the Baptist prophesied that the Lord would come to baptize with the Holy Spirit and with fire. (Luke 3:16) And indeed, we read in Acts 2 how the Holy Spirit came as tongues of fire on God's disciples. One day we will stand before a holy God "whose eyes are like blazing fire." (Revelation 2:18) Will we be able to look Him in the eyes? Will He see a bride who is transformed (a partaker of the divine nature) and consumed with passion for Him?
Joan E. Mathias