It always amazes me how quickly the dynamic of fire changes based on the environment or boundaries surrounding it. For example, a fire in a pit is beautiful, bringing warmth and making a pleasant setting in the cold. However, a fire in a forest is disastrous, being out of control and creating devastation. In both scenarios, the element of fire is the same, but the impact is different based on what the fire is on/in. I’d like to propose that it’s the same when it comes to the fire of God, or His anointing, that rests on/in people.
In Exodus 3, Moses discovers the popular burning bush. Given that it was in the desert, it wasn’t amazing that the bush was burning, but that it was not consumed. The bush kept its identity, but only by the grace of the fire not consuming it. In fact, the only reason why the bush stood out was because of the fire not consuming it. Otherwise, it would have just been another bush burning in the desert.
What if we saw ourselves and our gifts as this bush and God’s anointing as the fire? It’s incredibly important to know that His divine fire is the only reason why we “shine”, but that if we misappropriate His anointing, we could easily be consumed. It’s a true miracle when we can reflect God in our fragile, natural state and not allow the comfort or pride of what we do/give to overwhelm us to the place of destruction.
If you don’t believe that destruction can come from misappropriating the anointing, think about Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron in Leviticus. As priests, they put man-made fire in the censers to offer up prayers to God. This was immensely against the priestly protocol, even being called “strange fire” in Lev. 10:1 KJV. As a result, “a fire came out of the presence of the Lord and consumed them, and they died before the Lord.” (Lev. 10:2 NIV) Then, God’s response per Moses right after that was, “I will be sanctified in them that come nigh me, and before all the people, I will be glorified.” (Lev. 10:3 KJV) It speaks volumes to the fact that God does not play about His glory, especially from those positioned to give it all to Him! He does not respond well to “fleshy flames”, which is fabricated glory or man-made anointing.
So think about the anointing on your life and your gifts…Do you function in the divine fire? Or in the fleshy flame? Cultural norms, pride, and even something as simple as comfort can cause us to easily cross the thin line, putting ourselves, our ministries, our businesses, etc. in danger of being consumed. Let’s be sure to give God what He wants in His way. After all, we can’t do anything without Him anyway! We can’t even offer up a pleasing sacrifice of praise to Him without Him being on/in it! Remember that anybody can “shine” or “bring the heat”, but it’s always ALL about making sure that God gets all the glory in the process!