Watching my wood stove through the glass window, I could see a red burning log at the bottom, from which heat, flames and fire started to burn the one near it and above it. A log willing and ready to be consumed by fire, to provide the raw material for the fire and therefore the heat.
Friends , brothers, sisters? Are you, am I, simply smouldering and smoking profusely or burning? Smoking does not really consume wood or very superficially, it is not the real thing.
Could it be that I am simply an “Ichabod” log? (1Sam4). Having a form and appearance of fire but no heat; a form and appearance of godliness but no power; or a form of Christianity but no Glory, no presence of God in my life. I may be a blind and a very minor prophet but it seems that we have a abundance of smoking fires, smokes everywhere but no heat felt for the most part, except maybe in rare and all too sparse occasions.
We have big logs, smart logs, educated logs, but all are wet, wet inside, wet outside, covered with frost and snow. Trying to set up the fire of the Gospel, starting the fire in the ministry, trying to set themselves on fire, but all dripping with self love, arrogance, pride, self ambition and covered with snow, with represent our love for for temporal passing fleeting pleasure and comfort.
Like-minded dripping logs gather together to set each other up on fire for Christ, calling to one another for help and spiritual conference. So, wiser, more educated smoking logs show up to teach other, but smoke, only smoke, passing vanishing words only. Usually the louder the log, the wetter, heavily drenched in pride and self ambition having all but the spirit of a servant, but of self advancement.
Sometimes a few logs more advanced in the Spirit of Christ may have attained the stage of charred and blackened log, but the snow covering them, temporal care of the world, other allegiances started to melt and then quenched the flames of the Holy Spirit. Those logs having other allegiance before Christ started to resist the burning, the consumption, the licking of the flames of trials and slowly gave up, took themselves of the cross and escaped the heat for a more frigid and formal environment where self could be healed and pampered again.
Very few logs are willing to lay it all down and be consumed by fire, used by the Holy Spirit to consume other and provide heat in this self absorbs, selfish, frozen humanity. This lost and cold hearted humanity is in desperate need of heat, which will melt their heart through unconditional love, warning them of the wrath to come, through kindness, service, meekness, and the fruits of the Spirit. But all what they see is smoking evangelical fires of our present western society.
When unbelievers approach by curiosity or conviction evangelical churches, they are usually simply discovering talks, smoking logs talking to one another, each still protecting his own self, too afraid to serve and not be recognized, too afraid to invite and not be invited, too afraid to share and be mocked, too afraid to be taken advantage of, and worst of all too afraid to pursue Holiness unto the Lord and be called a legalist, etc. All those things quench the flames of the Holy Spirit.
But what about the log I saw at the bottom of the wood stove. Sadly now or happily now, depending of your perspective, by being selfless, crucified with Christ, giving up his right and willing to be consumed he is no more. He was spent through the flames to provide heat, to light up other logs, and creating the hot bed for the fire to continue and grow and consume the whole world. Sadly for some but happily for the heavenly minded he is remembered no more, but only the flames, the fire and a powerful legacy. Christ alone will be remember as the author and perfector of the log, a long and gracious merciful work done in a worthless log.
Many smoking evangelical logs want to be admired, loved, esteemed, and especially recognized for their amazing works, talents they have and smoke signal they created. But the burning log, the burning heart, the heart set on fire by the merciful indwelling of the Holy Spirit has and is surrendering even daily, and recognized that unless he dies and be spent, no fruits, no heat will ever happen, but only temporal mechanical ministries, religious smoke which appear for a short while, scare mosquitos not demons and then vanish for ever. Demons still working unhindered to fill Hell’s gaping mouth.
Which one are you? Did you place yourselves in the wood stove or on the altar and said sincerely and meaningful: My Lord, My king Jesus, I surrender all. Like the older generation of overseas missionaries, who when they left their homeland, packed their few belongings into their wood coffins!!! Does Jesus actually has other kind of disciples who are not summoned to pick up their cross and follow him, even in the burning altar??
Whatever the loss, whatever the pain, whatever the cost, let me only be obedient and set me on fire. To live is Christ and to die is my gain, let me be remember no more but Thy Great Name be honoured and your Kingdom prosper down on earth as it is in Heaven now and forever. Amen.
Guest Author: Jean Luc Sprunger