His Word is Like a Fire
God spoke directly to the Old Testament prophet Jeremiah, who was to relay God’s messages to the people. We don’t know exactly what the word of the Lord sounded like to Jeremiah, but we do know what it did to him. It shattered his heart and fired him up. When God truly speaks, his word is invested with self-existent power able to transform what it touches. The recipients become so sure of its truth that they let it do its life-shattering, transforming work. Then they find themselves ignited with the fire of God. They are driven to open their mouths and share those transforming words with others, or “burn up” trying to contain it.
For those of us living today, the word of the Lord has been written down. We don’t have to rely on voices from the heavens. We can read the Bible for ourselves and relay it to others. Remember that only a few could read in Jeremiah’s day; they had to be content having others read to them. But today in the West, very nearly all of us can read, and the infallible Word of God is our reliable document for all matters of faith and doctrine.
The New Testament confirms this: “All Scripture is God-breathed and useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work” ( 2 Tim. 3:16-17). As we read the written Word, it should make our knees tremble. It should break our hearts. It should benefit its hearers and light a fire under that drives us pass along the Word to others. We need to let the written Word do its own dynamic work in us, to us, and through us. When you read the written Word of god, do you believe what it tells you about itself? That it is indeed the Word of God to you today? Does it come dynamically to you each time you read it so that you can never be the same again?
Let me encourage you from my own experience. There have been times in my life when I have not allowed the Word to break my heart. I have read the Bible with others in mind and avoided the painful practice of letting the Word refine me like fire. To use another picture, God has fed me with bread from heaven, but I have not cleaned up my plate. Too many times I have lost my appetite, and the Word has been neither my delight nor my desire. But God has always been faithful to face me with my spiritual anorexia and set me off collecting my daily manna morning by morning again. It is never too late to start again, for “his compassions never fail. They are new every morning” (Lam. 3:22-23).
Jill Briscoe is the Founder and Executive Editor of Just Between Us magazine and ministry.