On Sunday, I was worshiping, singling loudly with about 200 other people and these words appeared on the screen –
All Consuming Fire Fall on Us
Sometimes I sing on auto pilot, but on this occasion, I wasn’t sure if I should keep singing. I was actually singing a prayer pleading for God to do whatever He desires to refine me to be like Christ and bring Him Glory. From experience, I know the process of being refined by fire is not a picnic at Ko’Olina or Bellows (my favorite beaches in Hawaii 😊.
As we began to hear teaching from the word of God, one of the pastors prayed, “Lord tend your branches.” We want to bear much fruit, but the process may be long and arduous., Asking God, our Heavenly Vinedresser to tend the branches more likely means pruning shears (or a back hoe?) than a gentle watering.
By the end of the message, I had managed to put aside some of this discomfort of recognizing I had invited God to bring imminent fire and pruning in my life. I was feeling more confident to go shine His light into a world filled with darkness. As church concluded, we sang the beloved hymn, “Take my life and let it be consecrated Lord to Thee. Take my silver and my gold, none of these I will withhold.”
It seems considerably easier to proclaim, “I’m all in with you, Jesus!” than say, “Lord take my checking account, my savings account, and my IRA, my home, my car and my health, but as long as I have you that is enough.” However, I keep singing these words because in the end, I know God does not need my permission to give or take away anything. Those things (and a thousand other gifts of grace I take for granted) aren’t really mine but His. Even as He rules and reigns sovereignly over the kingdoms of this earth, in our lives He is entitled to prune away that which is not needed in his kingdom and burn away the impurities and keep us from reflecting His beautiful character.