Fiery Youth

Fiery Youth

“Fire has various characteristics: it can be a productive energy or it can be destructive enemy, the difference is control. Those of you who have seen various types of fire fighting would also know that there are two types of fire: a controlled burn and an outright blaze. A controlled burn is that which is directed in a certain way to assist and minimise damage, where as a blaze is that which becomes uncontrollable, undirected and destroys.”

The nature of human kind, and in particular of youth, means that one can become ‘fiery,’ and that can mean either a fervent, effective, ‘fired-up’ youth, or a frantic, out-of-control, damaging youth. Fervent, effective youth are very constructive, while frantic, sporadic, undirected youth at best do not have an effect, and at worst become destructive to themselves and sometimes to those around them. We must be fiery and passionate, but at the same time, directed and focused. There are various types of fire mentioned in the Holy Bible, but I will mention only three of these types here:

1. The burning bush

When we read chapter 3 of the book of Exodus, verses 2-4, we see that from the midst of this burning bush Moses was called. He was called from a flame that was lit, thus being effective and visible, but not consuming the bush. Moses was a man who drew together two very important civilizations: the very spiritual civilization of the Jews, and the very academic, scientific civilization of the Egyptians. Although he had all the spirituality and all the knowledge, he still could not understand what this was, so he said to himself, ‘I will turn now and go see why this bush is not being consumed.’ When the Lord saw that he had turned aside to look, He called him in the midst of the bush and said “Moses, Moses” to which Moses answered, “Here I am.” God did not call him before he turned towards the bush; once he turned… once it caught his attention… and once he decided he wanted to see what it was about this bush that was important, God called him. God will show you many fiery signs in your life and will try to grab your attention. The presence of fire in our lives is an indication that God is trying to attract us with His power, His majesty, His strength, and with His miraculous presence. If we but turn towards Him, He will call us and He will not only call us generally, He will call us by name. For the Lord, as He had seen Moses turning towards the Bush, said “Moses, Moses,” calling him by name: personally and individually.

God’s word comes to us through many miraculous ways, sometimes being completely inexplicable. What does it mean to see a bush that burns, but is not consumed? What does it mean to have a burning bush that is not consumed call your name? Moses could have run, he could have hid, but his response was very simple, “Here I am.” How many of us when we are called say ‘Here I am?’ How many of us, when we feel the presence of God say ‘Here I am?’ Sometimes the calling of God is totally surprising and inexplicable: in a place that is totally unexpected, in a manner that is totally unexpected, by means that are totally unexpected, and in a way that would have not ever occurred to us. One way of being fiery young people, or having fire in our lives, is to see the fire of God and to respond to that calling positively and humbly.

2. The pillar of fire (Exodus 13:21-22)

This fire was indicative of God’s love for us and His guidance. God led his people through the darkness of the night and the loneliness of the wilderness with a pillar of fire. This was again a directed fire; a fire which guided and led. If we were walking through daylight, we would not need that fire to see ahead, but we do not always walk in the light of virtue and righteousness. God knows that in our lives we walk through a lot of darkness. In our own lives, we will have our own pillar that precedes us, that prepares our way and guides us. We can try to find our own way in the darkness, but we will not be able to. Do we take God’s fire and God’s presence as guidance? Let us assume that we accept the calling. Let us assume that God calls us through our own burning bush and we accept that calling and we say ‘Here I am, Lord.’ Do we then follow the direction that He gives us, or do we become our own guides, our own leaders… stumbling and falling?

3. The fire that descended upon the disciples on the day of Pentecost

If we look at the first type of fire as a fire of calling and the second type of fire as a fire of direction and guidance, the third type of fire is a fire of effective and appropriate utilisation. It is a fire that was given to the disciples as a gift with which they would then work. They had accepted the calling. The Lord said, “Come follow Me” and they dropped their nets. He said, “Follow Me,” and they followed His guidance and His example through the darkness, and then came upon them the fire of the Holy Spirit.