There is a curious truth revealed in the prophet Jeremiah’s life; the truth that at one point or another proclaiming the life-giving Word of God could (will?) cost you very dearly. And at that point, every fiber of your natural being will command you to zip your lip. It will seem advice most wise. It will seem most comfortable. It will seem most sensible.
But you will be perfectly unable to shut up.
And there you will stand, frantically clasping your hands over your mouth, eyes widening with horror that you are unable to control or contain the Words of God that come tumbling unbidden off your lips, a spiritually sanctified Tourette’s. You will wish you had never started to speak. You will regret the coming emotional pain that your words have now made inevitable.
This is the humanly undesirable flipside to the Holy Spirit being a consuming fire. Everyone wants to see the raging fire burn, but no one wants to be personally consumed by it. We live lives that desperately cry out for God’s influence and direction, but strive mightily against Him when He actually does take charge.
We want to be in control. To determine what is spoken when. To pick and to choose this Word over that, to boldly proclaim this utterance and quietly ignore another. And all along, we deceive ourselves into believing that the raging forest fire of the Holy Spirit is safely contained behind our handcrafted firewall. God is safely in His box.
But fires need to be fed. To contain a fire is to ensure that it will eventually die out.
So which would you rather have? The dying embers and cool ash of a nicely contained, predictable God? Or would you rather welcome the uncontained wildfire of the Holy Spirit that turns this way and that and who’s flames will on occasion burn even the hand of the one who wields it?
Do you want to trust God to be God . . . or would you rather try to be Him yourself?