How is God Like a Fire?

Photo by StockSnap via pixabay (CC0)

The night was the same as the three that had preceded it. The sky was void of clouds and the air cooled dramatically to remind me that autumn was just around the corner. At the campsite, familiar sounds of dishes clanging together and the whack of an axe as it made contact with wood beckoned me to start the evening fire.

Many times around the fire that week, my family and I had listened to a neighbour strum his guitar. We talked about our day and planned for the next. We pulled our chairs closer to keep the crisp air away. We roasted marshmallows and melted s’mores.

That night, I had a moment to sit alone in front of the roaring fire. My husband was busy tending to camper duties, and I could hear the laughter of my children as they played with other kids in the campground. The fire mesmerized me. I watched as the flames danced and the sparks jumped. The red-hot coals burned with a rhythm of their own. The crackling sound comforted me. A windless night, the smoke rose straight to the stars above.

Then it hit me. God’s character is very much like that fire.

With God, we can talk about our day and plan for the next. He can protect us from harm. He can give us joy and happiness. But we can’t forget that God is powerful. He isn’t Someone to be taken lightly. We shouldn’t toy with God.

In a Bible study titled, The Coach in your Corner, I learned that the Bible uses emblems as metaphors for the Holy Spirit to describe aspects of His person for us. One of these emblems of the Holy Spirit is fire.

“Although the Holy Spirit is gentle, He also has a ‘fiery’ side to His personality.” Although fire produces light and warmth, it also refines, purges and purifies.

Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, for our “God is a consuming fire” (Hebrews 12:28–29 NIV).

That night at the campfire, I was reminded that I needed to be reverent and appreciative of God’s awesome power.