Free to Burn 1: Declaration
‘I have come to bring fire on the earth, and how I wish it were already blazing’
I’m built to burn. Gospel flames long to leap from me onto combustible ones. Like Jeremiah, I can’t contain Him, ‘His word…a fire shut up in my bones’ (Jer. 20:9). I bear truth that frees captives. Enkindling freedom in others sets me free.
On a run at dawn, I encountered a demonized man wearing a long black wig, a bra, and miniskirt. I might have recoiled; this day, the fire of Jesus’ love blazed, and I saw a captive doomed to die young from predators. I circled around and spoke to the core of his humanity—his birth name, his praying family, and invoked the Mercy of the One who alone could free him. He caught the fire of Love. In Spirit, I saw Jesus clothing him aright.
Today’s sexual delusion is unavoidable and demands nothing less than the fire of Love. Will we burn for captives? In Luke 12:49-53, Jesus insists on this fire. Gentle Jesus appears agitated, ‘restless’ by His own admission. He knows our resistance to fanning into flame the kindling He ignites.
Ablaze, yet steady and never consumed, He invites us to give Him our garbage, the dross of our lives. That includes all the afflicting power of sin that keeps us self-consumed. Rather than burning for Him, we douse the fire with introspection.
I’ve never read Luke 12:49 as His fire purging me. But when I consider how I attach daily to virtual garbage (the sumptuous train wreck of Bennifer, anyone?), obsessive fears about loved ones, the gloom of old griefs, self-righteousness, fear (recoiling, not reaching), and shame’s coolness (why the struggle?), I discover its relevance. And more than enough raw material. Take it, Jesus! Burn off every thought that quenches the fire of Your love for and through me.
Jesus’ refining fire is the fruit of Calvary—His baptism unto death and new life (‘for I have a baptism to undergo, and how distressed I am until I accomplish it!’ v. 50) and fulfills John the Baptist’s prophecy of One who baptizes us with the fire of His Spirit, torching chaff as to extract wheat (Lk. 3:16, 17).
Rejoice! He has much to torch! Don’t waste sins and sorrows—let them burn so He can inflame your heart for captives. Ours is a fiery love endowed with power to save.