January 26, 2021

Burning Love

Is not my word like fire, says the Lord, and like a hammer that breaks a rock in pieces? 
Jeremiah 23:29
The image of fire is a frightening one. Even when good results from it, it is still very destructive. There's not much that can stand up to it, and so it has traditionally been a symbol of purification. I think that's what Jeremiah meant when he compared God's word to a fire and to a rock-breaking hammer. It both refines and destroys, as did the incarnate Word, Jesus Christ. 

Jesus came teaching us that everything we said and did needed to measure up to one standard: that of love. It sounds wonderful. But it's hard to let go of that which doesn't comply with Christ's new commandment to love as he loved—unconditionally. There's so much that seems a part of us that if it's burned away, surely it will be painful.

And it probably will be. But what remains will be pure love. No wonder Jesus desired that this match had already been struck, for pure love would not crucify itself. 

The process of clearing the way in my life for the love of Christ to shine through me is not easy. And sometimes it grows back faster than the fire can burn it away. But the love of Christ will never be extinguished and the dross must eventually give way.

I came to bring fire to the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled!
 Luke 12:49
After thinking about today's devotion, pray these hymn lyrics:
Lord, the light of your love is shining,
in the midst of the darkness, shining—
Jesus, Light of the world, shine upon us;
set us free by the truth you now bring us;
shine on me, shine on me!

Lord, I come to your awesome presence,
from the shadows into your radiance.
By the blood I may enter your brightness;
search me, try me, consume all my darkness;
shine on me, shine on me!

Shine, Jesus, shine!
Fill this land with the Father's glory!
Blaze, Spirit, blaze;
set our hearts on fire!
Flow, river, flow;
flood the nations with grace and mercy.
Send forth your word,
Lord, and let there be light!
 Graham Kendrick
After your own thanksgivings & petitions, close with the Lord's Prayer.

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