Thursday, March 17, 2016
"Alice James was an introvert to the core, but when Carlos insulted her brother's outfit, she fought back with a fire in her eyes, and even I was scared to talk to her afterwards." That phrase sound familiar? Fire in [insert any possessive adjective here] eyes? It may be a little cliche, which may make me sound slightly hypocritical because of what I wrote two days ago (hyperlink: March 15, 2016), but please hear me out.
Fire is strange. It's a plasma, so it behaves differently than solids, liquids, and gases. It also typically comes with a smell, which clings to clothing and skin until it either wears out after a few days or is washed out by water. Once something is burned, it cannot be "unburned" and returned to its original state. It is not defined by a single color, shape, or space.
But what is it spiritually? (Here's where I owe a big thank-you to Bible Gateway. Also, I owe a bit of an apology for the length. Note that these are only some of the 364 examples Bible Gateway brought up, so I chose the ones that I felt spoke to me the most or offered new ideas and information.)
Old Testament: In Exodus 3, God appears to Moses in the flames of a burning bush. Later in Exodus, (see chapter 13 verse 21), God leads the Israelites by a cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night. Sacrifices were given to God through the fire on an altar. Some Old Testament punishments included burning unfaithful Jews, and sometimes His wrath would bring fire upon nations. God Himself is described as a fire (Deuteronomy 4:24). When Elijah proved that God was greater than Baal, fire came down from heaven and consumed his sacrifice while the prophets worshiping Baal spent hours dancing and praying to Baal for him to arrive and prove himself... but Baal never did.(1 Kings 18). Later, Elijah was taken up to heaven in a chariot of fire (2 Kings 2). Daniel 3 tells of when King Nebuchadnezzar was mad at Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego and threw them into the fiery furnace, and the guards throwing them in as well as their bonds burned up, but a fourth figure appeared with the three men who protected them. None of their clothes were burned, and they didn't even smell like smoke.
New Testament: In Matthew 3:11, John the Baptist tells the crowd around him that the one who is coming after him (which refers to Jesus) will baptize them with the Holy Spirit and with fire. Several places in his teachings, Jesus tells parables in which the disobedient will be thrown out into the fires of hell. Mark 9:42-50 is a great passage to explain this. Acts 2 tells of the Pentecost on which the apostles received the Holy Spirit, and it looked to them like there were tongues of fire that came to rest on everyone there. James compares the tongue (as in the human one that resides inside your mouth) as a fire in James 3, saying that it has a capability to destroy so much. The end times are also filled with references to fire in Revelation as well as the prophecy in other books.
Does this tell us anything? Fire is represented as instrument for the Lord, and yet there are many instances in which Israel's enemies (as well as our own) use fire in opposition to Him.
You don't have to agree with my logic, and I'm not quite sure of myself when I'm putting this out there because I have no definite proof to back up my claim, but I make a connection in my mind between the Holy Spirit and fire. The two are often mentioned together, and the Old Testament mentions several times an occasion in which God acts through fire and I can only guess whether or not it refers to God the Father or all three. Then my mind has to deal with the fact that it may be both answers at once, but I'll leave that whole conversation for another day.
So for me, the phrase "fire in her eyes" means a little more. There isn't just an energy or passion to accomplish something, but there is also someone supernatural who is intervening and counseling me to make the right decisions. And what if people could see a literal fire in my eyes when I act as the salt of the earth and the light of the world? What a great way to evangelize, right?
"Hey, Andi! Why are your eyes on fire?"
"Well, right now, I'm feeling the power of the Holy Spirit."
"Let me tell you..."
Opinions? What's your favorite passage including fire? Do you agree with my ideas? Am I spreading heresy? (That's a big church word for false teachings passed off as spiritual truths, and there's an especially big problem when respected church leaders use heresy instead of the word of God.)
*I'm sorry, non-Christians, if you were expecting something epic including explosions and burning things and all you got was a bunch of religious stuff that doesn't pertain to you. Christians, you're stuck with me.