Warming or Burning?

"Getting near the glory of God is surely the key to burning with inextinguishable light and heat" (John Piper, A Hunger for God p52)

Piper's words struck me with some force today. He doesn't say "getting near the glory is the way to get warm" but that getting near is the key to burning. That kind of language is apt to make some people uncomfortable. We would like to cosy up to a warm fellowship with God or with a church but we don't want to get set alight. We'll come some way towards the fire, but no further. Caution is our watchword. Don't let anything get ignited in me that might burn out of control.

The result is that we become comfy Christians when we should be like secondary forest fires, sparking into light as the main conflagration spreads. Or, to change the image, we become like black holes that absorb light rather than mirrors that reflect it in all its beauty and brilliance.

Do you want to burn? Then get near the fire. Do you want to be able to see? Then draw close to the light. Do you want to be used for God's glory? Then make God's glory the obsession of your life. There is no other way.

If we want to know and be used by God, REALLY know him, there is no alternative but to overcome the caution and get near the glory. We will combust. We will lose our control of our life and destiny. We will sparkle in a whirlwind of similar shards of flame in a dark world. We will be blown where the Spirit wills in the heart of the mighty fire-front that is the gospel of grace and glory that is sweeping the world.

Conflagration or comfyness. Which do you want to characterise your life today? Don't settle for less than the burning and beauty and brilliance of the glory of God's grace.