When I was growing up, our church youth group went to summer camp events called "Acquire the Fire". We were taught about how we should all leave that camp "On fire for Jesus", "fired up about our salvation", "ready to let our light shine for the rest of the world"!!! Oh, it was exciting. And we were on fire. And we were fired up. And we were ready to let our lights shine. Until Monday morning. Something about walking those huge high school halls packed with intimidating teenagers, feeling unsure of exactly how and what to say...and then... Algebra class. Well, let's face it, Algebra is of the devil and is a quick extinguisher of any deeply premeditated thoughts about sharing Jesus with the cheer captain.
I never knew where that term "fired up" or "on fire for Jesus" came from. I actually never really thought about it, until tonight. It's been one of those crazy days that I have somewhere around 5-6 days each week, and I didn't get a moment alone with the Lord (aka...the Bible app on my phone) until 7:50 tonight when I escaped the beautiful madness that is my family, and took a bath. The "verse of the day" was somewhere in Luke, chapter 12, and it was a good one, but not anything that I felt enthralled about. I opened the rest of the chapter and kept reading. I read down to verse 49. And I stopped. And I read it again.
Luke 12:49 "I have come to set the world on fire, and I wish it was already burning!"
Would you like to know who said that? It wasn't a grumpy 2 year old. It wasn't an angst-filled teen. It was our own passionate, desperate savior. That's right, folks. Jesus said it. Jesus came to set the world on fire and he wishes it was already burning. That stops me in my tracks.
He's not here in person anymore. He left that job to me. I'm here as his representative. I'm here as an embodiment of his purposes. To continue what he began, as he lives in me and through me. I'm here to set the world on fire. And I wish it was already burning! I wish I was already burning!
How complacent have I become? How settled into my happy little life am I? How deceived have I been to feel that I am accomplishing my full purpose by serving in my church and asking my occasional waitress how she's doing? I gotta tell ya, at times, I disgust me. My fire can start as a spark within my home, where my very literal mission field is in 5 perfect little faces that God has entrusted me with. But it shouldn't stop there. Fire is all-consuming. It is relentless. It is raging and beautiful, all at once. It can be contained, and set in a jar and it will bring some light to those in the room...but that's not what Jesus said. That little candle on my kitchen counter is NOT setting the WORLD on fire. My pleasantness and Christian meekness are NOT setting the WORLD on fire.
There is a strangeness within me. (My children will agree to that statement wholeheartedly, but that's not the strange I'm referring to.) I once had a woman say to me "There is STRONG in you." It's an odd sounding statement, but I knew exactly what she meant. My husband feels the same way. Strange. No matter what we're doing, no matter the job, the lifestyle, the ministry opportunity, it always feels to us like there is a MUCH bigger purpose and calling. We serve with fervency and we are thrilled to do it, because we know that whatever we're doing and wherever we are, it's a training ground. There is more for us, bigger for us, and we are NOT ready for it yet! We are on a path, but we mustn't forget to set even that little PATH on fire! Every step should leave a spark, every breath should fan a flame. We have come to set the world on fire!
Does this sound familiar to you? Is it convicting to you? Does it make you think, "Ok, but where do I start?" Start here:
Psalm 119:105 Your word is a lamp to guide my feet and a light for my path.
Turn to his word. Just like me, tonight, the first verse you read may not be the one that sparks something within you. Keep reading. Turn to Luke, or to John, or to wherever. Let him send you a spark, or a raging inferno. He's really good at deciding which one you're ready for.
Jesus walked this earth with a purpose. And he never intended to do it alone. Will you join me?
Holy Father, thank you for sharing your desperation with me tonight. Hold my feet to your flame, Lord. Touch your coal to my lips, and cleanse me. Purify me, burning out all that displeases you, or does not bring you honor. I yearn for you, I desire to continue to burn for you. Let me light up a room with YOUR presence. Keep me from any pride that would not boast your name. There is strong in me. You have a wise, perfect plan for me. Keep me on the path that leads me to fulfillment of your purpose. I love you. Amen.