God’s fire, or a self-kindled fire?

Who is among you that feareth the LORD, that obeyeth the voice of his servant, that walketh in darkness, and hath no light? let him trust in the name of the LORD, and stay upon his God.  Behold, all ye that kindle a fire, that compass yourselves about with sparks: walk in the light of your fire, and in the sparks that ye have kindled. This shall ye have of mine hand; ye shall lie down in sorrow. [Isaiah 50:10-11]

For my people have committed two evils; they have forsaken me the fountain of living waters, and hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water. [Jeremiah 2:13]

When we read scripture, we discover that the elements of fire and water are used often to symbolize God and the spiritual works he does in people’s lives.  As fire gives us light, God gives us spiritual light to help us see what is true versus what is false and what is right versus what is wrong regarding morals, ethics, and spirituality.  In the same way that fire provides us with warmth and comfort, God provides us with the comfort of knowing that he has wiped our slate clean of all our wrongdoings, that he will remain faithful to us through our ups and downs, and that his truth and righteousness will prevail in the end no matter what things look like in the present.  Fire is used to burn off impurities in foods and metals to make them more useful for our purposes and God’s word is like a fire, when applied correctly, to burn off our spiritual impurities to make us more useful for the Father’s purposes.

Water is an excellent tool in nature that is used to clean just about anything we own from dishes to cars, but most importantly it cleans our bodies.  God’s word is like water to cleanse our souls of sinfulness and can cleanse the intents, or motives, of our hearts which will affect the purposes and outcomes of everything we do.  When we drink clean water, our bodies are provided with strength and refreshment in the same way that God and his principles give us spiritual refreshment when we accept them into our spirits.  God can also provide our physical bodies with refreshment and strength when he heals us of diseases.

Who can say, I have made my heart clean, I am pure from my sin? [Proverbs 20:9]

This is why I praise God, who is my fire and my fountain of living water!  And I wish that all people could experience all of the benefits of his fire and water, but alas, the majority of people walking the Earth have one thing standing in their way–their own desires.  Most of us, unfortunately, are like ancient Israel.  God has greatly blessed us with intelligence, physical abilities, talents and skills, material possessions, etc., but we have turned away from him to kindle our own spiritual fires and have dug our own spiritual cisterns in anticipation of acquiring our own spiritual water.  But when a person makes their own fire and tries to obtain their own water without God, all it does is promote evil and brings them sorrow in the end, just as God said through his prophets Isaiah and Jeremiah.

He that trusteth in his own heart is a fool: but whoso walketh wisely, he shall be delivered. [Proverbs 28:26]

We chase after temporary sparks that give us only momentary happiness, short-term hope, and short-lived satisfaction.  Whether it’s embracing man-made theology, chasing after worldly possessions, ungodly philosophies, or lustful pleasures, these things are just as shallow as a broken cistern.  They also leave people as spiritually thirsty as one who has a broken cistern.

This shallowness is going on in Christendom as well as among unbelievers.  Yes, there are lots of people who are supposedly coming to Christianity through charismatic churches, but at what expense?  I, like Paul, am glad when the gospel is preached despite the preacher’s motives, but when you have people rushing altars to be “slain in the spirit” and breaking out into loud, spontaneous laughter or roaring like lions or crying out “more, Lord, more!” and “fire, God, fire!” and other strange practices, you create a congregation that places the emphasis on physical experiences over the truth in God’s word.  As a matter of fact, these charismatic practices are rooted in the Eastern mysticism of Kundalini yoga, a Hindu occultist body of doctrines.  When people are looking only for God to work in a physical experience, if a physical experience doesn’t happen like they want, they either manufacture an experience or become disillusioned into thinking God has forsaken them and they fall away.  It is my opinion that these so-called revivals being broadcast on Christian television are actually MANufactured, and since they are sparked by man, man becomes the focus and not God.

Such practices have a tendency to spark more false doctrine.  For instance, I recently watched Sid Roth’s “It’s Supernatural!” where he featured an author who claims that Jesus Christ appeared to him and has written a book based on what Christ told him.  And in order to find out what the author learned and to “unlock” the secrets to a spiritual blessing, viewers were encouraged to send in a “love gift” to get the book.  This is nothing more than a modern day Joseph Smith styled gimmick. If we don’t accept Joseph Smith’s Mormonism, why should this author be any different?

But we will continue to have the self-kindled fires and broken cisterns until Christ returns because man will continue to deceive himself into thinking he can cleanse himself and that he can trust in his own heart to be his own lord.  As for me, since “I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing,” my determination is to stay devoted to the only one who can deliver me from this body of death.

There is a generation that are pure in their own eyes, and yet is not washed from their filthiness. [Proverbs 30:12]

…wherefore say my people, We are lords; we will come no more unto thee? [Jeremiah 2:31]

–posted by Harry A. Gaylord–

3 thoughts on “God’s fire, or a self-kindled fire?

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  1. Beautifully said Harry.
    I am reminded continually my tendency toward evil even though I am trying my hardest to be a true servant of God. I have taken to saying to myself during these times ” Allison straight is the gate and narrow is the way” to help me through these struggles. One of the things I am challenged by is my Irish temper, and it is getting better for me when I stop and say this to myself, or singing We fall down but get back up as Donnie Mcclurkin sings. I was telling my daughter the other day, I never realized I was a liar prior to my miracle of Jesus speaking to me and saving me again. I never thought twice about little so-called “white lies” or fibs to make whatever i needed to work for me. For instance, I was laid off last fall and am currently collecting unemployment. Every two weeks i have to fill out a form which asks Did you look for work this week? and I would just check yes not even thinking about it. I intend to really seek employment in ernest in a couple of weeks when we return from our big trip that our family is taking, however a few weeks ago I had to confront myself as a liar about this. So now I get on the computer and look for work before I check that box! It feels good to walk in truth for my Father, and for my brethren. On the subject of false doctrine,I am struggling with where to have fellowship which I know is important, and especially for me since I am alone in my faith in my family. I recently began attending a church of the Evangelical sort. They are casual, and call themselves” relevant” a term I seem to see a lot of these days, Everyone is very friendly and warm to me, and they have a band, and focus on young people a lot. The Pastor is a very nice casual guy, we wear whatever we feel comfortable in Jeans for many of us, and there is an early service at 8:30 which works well for me, so my husband doesn’t feel like I am abandoning him all day Sunday. There is always a good sermon from scripture, which I find very helpful as well, but last week when learning about debt, the 10/10/80 tithe thing came up, and they have envelopes that you can fill out with your name, prayer requests what you are donating for and such. I just put what I can afford in and don’t sign my name. I don’t want “credit” from anyone but the Lord for giving anything, and I can’t afford 10%. I also like to give away small amounts of spare money to poor people I see in our city who are homeless, so some goes there, and this gives me joy, only I wish I could do more. We attend service in a warehouse, but they have purchased property, so I know they are trying to get a church built. But there is so many things going on, classes, special days at baseball parks, it goes on and on. I just want a good Sunday message directly from the Bible, and to spend time in worship with others who are in Christ. I want to spend time helping others in the way my Father calls me to personally, not attending all these “fun worldly activities”.
    Judging by events taking place right now, I’m feeling the time for our Lord is getting close, and I don’t want to waste a lot of time in trivial matters.
    I thought about looking for another church, but after researching this they all claim to be “relevant” for today, and seem to have similar things going on.
    Also, why isn’t anyone talking about revelations and what is happening?

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  2. Allison,

    Finding a good church to attend is always a challenge. I personally believe we’re in the midst of the great “falling away” or apostasy. Just keep trusting that God will show you where you need to be.

    As far as revelation is concerned, many teachers/preachers are afraid to touch it for several reasons. One reason is that they feel intimidated by what it says and are afraid to talk about it for fear of getting things incorrect and then being accused of misleading people. Some just don’t feel it’s relevant to our time. Others may have their reasons. But to ignore it is to neglect to give the whole counsel of God, in my opinion.

    I’ll be praying that God will lead you to the correct fellowship for you.

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  3. Thanks Harry
    I think When I get home in a couple of weeks I am going to try this little Baptist church that I have seen in town for many years. It hasn’t grown in size of building like I have seen so many in my city do. Not that I am against anyones congregation growing, I just have very fond memories of my little Baptist church in West Virginia as a child, and I am hoping to get a more fundamental message. You know I think it’s odd that the radio ministers all seem to be focusing on Jesus returning but not the ministers in the churches. I do see your point though, they want to be upbeat and positive, and not scare people away.
    I really want to please The Lord, and I do trust that he will lead me in the right direction. He works in such wondrous ways, and I am feeling that and seeing that everyday. There is an old friend that I had some ten years ago, but just fell away from, and for the last couple of months I can’t seem to get her out of my mind. I think God is calling me to seek her out. So I intend to do this when I get home.

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