Monday, July 1, 2013

Wood and Fire

I am a piece of wood. God is a flame. God's heat touches me, and I feel as if I am on fire. Sometimes, it is a good burn. Sometimes, it is painful. But it is all part of a beautiful process.

I am heated by God's flame. His light changes me. It burns into my very core; it burns until there is nothing left to burn. I turn black; I turn to ash. After all, I am dust, and to dust I shall return. Christ strips me of my false sense of security, my belief that a plain old piece of wood is enough for me. He reminds me that I am nothing. I am dust. But He also reminds me that, with Him, I can be so much more than a simple piece of wood. Through His power alone, I endure the burn and I endure being reduced to ashes because at the end of the day, I am no longer a piece of wood. God has transformed me. 

First, I begin to glow from within. And then, the wood is gone and I am a flame. I radiate Christ. His flame consumes me, and I become one with it. God has rid me of my sinful state, the part of me that had resisted Him. Now I am a whole different being, united to the brightest Light. Christ's light is within me, shining on the world. Christ's light is me. I am the light of the world.

I am the light of the world (Matthew 5:14). Think about that for a second. I am a light for this entire earth. Wonderful, huh? But we must not forget where we get this light from. In John 8:12, Jesus calls himself the light.

I am the Light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life.

So, yes, we are each lights of the world, but this light stems from Jesus Christ, the one true Light, the giver of light and love and life.

The metaphor referenced above is drawn from St. John of the Cross's The Dark Night of the Soul. It so accurately describes the union with Christ that we strive for. Observing Christ's light from afar is not enough for us. We must become this light.

Mediocrity is not acceptable to Christ. He doesn't want lukewarm followers...He wants followers who are flaming hot, on fire with His love. And sometimes, we must accept a complete remodeling to get to this point. We must be willing to be stripped of our imperfections.

If we want to join fully into union with Christ, we must be willing to let it all burn away: our material attachments, our worries, our imperfections and weaknesses. All of it must disintegrate. Only then, when we have let these impurities turn to ash, can we unite ourselves to Christ. 

The more of ourselves we allow God to consume, the more His fire will burn and grow. If we want to experience His presence in our lives, we must be willing to give up our lives as fuel to Christ's fire. And not only will we help ourselves grow closer to Him, but we will also allow those around us to see His love reflected in us and experience a similar conversion.

Christ has the power to transform us into vessels for His light. However, we first must be willing to drop our chains, our imperfections, and our weaknesses at His feet. 

Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it (Matthew 10:39).

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