We live on a few heavily wooded acres that I call the Magic Forest. Part of life here involves picking up fallen sticks and eventually burning them. We’d hesitated to do anything with this year’s stack for fear that sparks might spread through the woods.
What made this year different, you ask? Well, conditions changed. A 100-year-old pine tree died suddenly on the edge of the clearing where we burn becoming a fire hazard. To be safe, we had a tree company out recently to remove it.
Did you know that wildfires have already damaged nearly 1.9 million acres in America so far this year? Fire moves quickly and spreads rapidly anywhere conditions are hot, dry, and brittle, be it in forest, in grasses, or in human hearts.
In our cities and across the globe, in person and online, we’re seeing the damaging consequences of large numbers of people whose hearts are parched by angst, anger, and bitterness. Literal and figurative fires are burning. In these conditions, it only takes a spark to set off another inferno. And the most common sparks come from burning tongues.
‘And among all the parts of the body, the tongue is a flame of fire. It is a whole world of wickedness, corrupting the entire body. It can set your whole life on fire, for it is set on fire by hell itself.”—James 3:6 (NLT)
Like most wildfires, the ones we’re facing can often be prevented and extinguished. But not by the government or authorities. These fires will only begin to cease when we, the body of Christ, regardless of race, sex, or political affiliation, seek to spread refreshing water instead of sparks. This doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t share our views or speak out against wrong. On the contrary, we just need to use wisdom in how and where we do so, first making certain that conditions are safe.
It’s going to be up to me and up to you to make a difference. And to do so, we’ll need to take seriously our responsibility as disciples of Jesus Christ in the words we speak and the things we share on social media. They should reflect the Spirit within us more than the flesh around us.
It shouldn’t ever surprise us that people who belong to the world sin, setting fires and fanning flames of anger, division, and discontent. But aren’t we called to be different? To be in this world, but not of it? I certainly don’t always get this right. There are more times than I’d like to admit when I’ve given off my fair share of sparks.
Like leaves in summer, we can begin to dry from conditions around us. But we only wither and die because of conditions within us. The answer is found in Living Water. We must immerse ourselves in it, not once, not twice, but continually. You see, even Hell finds it impossible to set fire to a tongue that is saturated with worship and praise to our God.
Let’s draw deeply each day from the well that is Jesus and together flood this parched world. Instead of feeding fires, we’ll quench them with healing water that won’t run dry.
Be blessed and refreshed today, my friends.
©Ann Wilds 2020