Once we surrender to the Lord, it is like a fiery swirl of bonfire in the night.
First we gather the things we know need burning. The easy part. By then we know only too well.
Then we add what we know will consume and destroy those things that are destroying us. Telling the truth about our own secrets and settin the blaze of God’s own Truth to it all like a match.
We try to surround ourselves with others who know and care to watch the blaze.
A million kinds of bonfires, but always the same match. Life doesn’t get easy. But it gets beautiful, meaniful, purposeful. We lose the need for revenge or secrets or all the lying bandaids we’ve used and watch the beauty of the sparks swirling to heaven.
I remember the first time I read the story in the Bible of Jesus healing of the little girl, Jairus’ daughter:
He took her by the hand and said to her, “Talitha koum!” (which means “Child, I say to you, get up!”). Mark 5:40-42
Child, get up. Come.
Jesus spoke His word to the little girl and she came back to life. She was dead and He spoke her back to life. She got up and walked around, the Bible says.
“Speak to me,” I told Him two thousand years later. “I am dead.” And I very nearly was.
And He did. Through the Bible I devoured, through the prayers of a trusted few, through the counsel of a Godly man, the preaching, the singing. And through His Spirit into mine, consolations in the night.
And I got up. And began to walk. Faltering baby steps.
I was a slow learner. Maybe it goes in deeper that way, a slow drip. No presto renewed-o for my bent mind. No instant healing for my brain. I was alive, but I had a lot to learn.
If you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved. Romans 10:9
I didn’t know exactly what “saved” meant, entirely, but I wanted it. I chose it. I walked the aisle for it.
We start living when we believe. But it is kind of like when you quit smoking. Yes, there is one day you quit, give it up, swear off. The start. The choice. But from then on you quit every day, remain faithful to your decision. Once you put your faith in Jesus, you are “in.” Justified. Reconciled to God. In the “family.” Then there is the daily walk. Not always easy, but always worth it.
“If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” Matthew 9:13
At first mine was just obedience. Trying to be a good child. Trying to learn the do’s and don’ts.
Baby steps. A little girl walking about.
But learned that what we do or do not do, once we decide to do things God’s way, is like a small child’s gifts to its parent. A rough crayon picture, a daisy plucked from the lawn. He does not need it or require it. But He loves it.
“The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.” (Galatians 5:6
I learned He is more interested in our relationship than our behavior. Scripture does say what we were created and called to do. Keeping score? No. Buying our way into Heaven? No. Just our appointed mission from God, once we know Him well enough to listen.
Having your LIFE saved? Even more spectacular than fiery embers against a night sky surrounded by people you love.
That first bonfire is our REAL birthday.