One of the names that the Bible gives God is that of a consuming fire. See Hebrews 12:29.
The last few days this image has played through my mind. What does it really mean to be a consuming fire? I think of a forest fire that rages out of control. One that the wind whips into a fury and then it roars across plains and mountain landscapes, fueled by trees, prairie grasses and a lack of rain. One that must be beaten back aggressively or it will consume you.
But don't I want God to consume me?
I mean, don't I ultimately want for God's presence and holiness to so consume me, that when people look at me, the last thing they see is me? Instead, their first impression is one of joy or love or peace that isn't something that can be conjured up or faked. That it's a fruit that flows straight from God through me to the world?
That God will work in my life, consuming anything that is displeasing to Him. My selfishness, vanity, pride, etc. Fill in the sin of the day. That through the process I will be refined and turned into gold. That's what I long for. But I know I hold back. I think all of us do. The image of a refining fire is laced with pain and suffering.
What do you think? What holds us back from opening our lives to the consuming fire of God and truly being transformed to His image?