Becoming a Fire*Work: Term #1--Replace Your Wick
To become a real live Fire*Work, you need to understand what it takes. There are some terms of agreement.
“Above all, gain understanding,” Proverbs 4:7 says. This is great advice! Before entering into any agreement, you need to know what you’re getting yourself into. If you know and like the terms, then you can have passion and get into it with all you’ve got. If you can see yourself doing those terms, then it's a great deal for you. If you can't, then it needs to be a no.
Stories establish personal understanding--that's why they teach better than anything else. As the listener sees themselves in terms of the story, they evaluate, change and grow.
Jesus told parables because they, unlike anything else, can reach in and take hold of the hearer at whatever level they're ready and willing to receive.
At that time (when the Master of the house is about to return) the kingdom of heaven will be like ten young women who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom.
Five of them were silly and five were wise. The silly ones took their lamps but no extra oil; the wise took oil in jars along with their lamps.
The bridegroom took a long time to come, so they all became sleepy and took a nap.
At midnight the cry rang out: "He's here! The Bridegroom is HERE!! Go out and greet him!"
All the girls woke up and trimmed their lamps. The unprepared ones said to those with extra oil, "Our lamps are going out. Give us some of your oil!"
But the wise replied, "No, we don't have enough to go around. You have to go buy your own!"
While the girls were on the road to buy more oil the bridegroom arrived. The girls whose lamps were ready greeted him and went in with him to the wedding banquet and the door was closed.
Later, when the girls returned with more oil only to find everyone gone, they went to the wedding hall and tried to enter…but they were turned away when the groom came to the door, looked at them and said, "Do we know each other? I’m sure I don't know you."
Therefore keep watch because you do not know the day or the hour when He will arrive.
The first term of being a lamp on fire involves the WICK.
You must decide that your allegiance is to God’s kingdom, not to this world.
The wick connects the fuel source to the flame. The wick holds the fire! First and foremost, to be a Fire*Work you must accept that Jesus' kingdom is the one with which you identify most, since it’s your true home. His gift of eternal life replaced your temporary one; His eternal life ought to be what animates you like a hand in a glove, ideally. His atonement cut us off from sin's power that would hold us down; now His resurrection power anchors us to what holds us up...the kingdom of heaven! It is the place of our true citizenship!
Picture a silver tether connecting your spirit to heaven--that is your wick. Your citizenship in heaven is what will pull you home when you shed your earthly costume and leave this world behind. That wick is the part of you that is fully content to burn during your time while you're in the body, held in His good Name, representing His good ways.
As we live in the world, you and I are to be loyal to the Sovereign Crown of Christ Jesus above any other. His rule in our lives must be supreme, ever on our minds. He sets the standard. Everything that is not in line with His desire is just…bunk. It will not last. The things of this world will pass away and be gone forever. Only eternal matters matter!
As eternal beings, we must represent eternal ideals. Opinions, norms or cultural beliefs made up by this world system are not for us to hold or cling to. As His subjects, what Jesus loves we must love. What Jesus doesn’t love, we must not love and must break ties with. When there's discrepancy, we must side with God's command without apology. We are His people, even while in this world.
Fire*Work, you will be distinctly different from what this world normalizes.
“Then I heard another voice from heaven say:
'Come out of her my people,
so that you will not share in her sins,
so that you will not receive any of her plagues…'
The her to which He refers is Babylon the Great, the corrupt world system. It’s sticky. It’s smarmy. It’s subtle and crafty and tempting and deadly and we are to come out of it. Why? For our own good. When we separate from that doomed system, we separate from the outcome that will befall it. When we come out of that kingdom of darkness and enter into God’s kingdom of light, no judgments upon darkness apply to us anymore! Jesus took that judgment by giving His own life for us…and by accepting His atonement we inherit the opposite of judgment: we receive God's favor.
His ways go in His kingdom. They are unquestionable, nonnegotiable. Naturally, “that’s not fair” statements from humans don't count for anything since God’s kingdom government was already present before we ever existed! It is absurd for humans to demand a say in heavenly decisions because we are earth-born; we don’t have the foggiest notion of how things work there. All that we think we know is what we've been taught by other earth-dwellers, and we can accurately assume that this world's system is nothing like heaven’s. God's system is holy, entirely superlative to this tainted one. God’s kingdom realm belongs to Him alone, therefore, rightly, His rule is law. He grants favor to whomever He wants. It so happens that he prefers those who believe His Son and go through the door of His sacrifice to obtain forgiveness of sin.
Unfortunately, the norms and cultural beliefs of this world have been woven into us and take some work to discern and extract, even if we’ve obtained that forgiveness and have God’s favor. It takes effort to disentangle from the world. To do that, simply engage with God and invite Him to shine His holiness upon you. He will teach you how to walk in the light.
*Ask the Lord what you value that isn’t valuable in heaven.
*Ask Him what you don't value that is quite valuable there.
*What beliefs and attitudes, behaviors and habits of yours won't be necessary or appropriate anymore when Jesus is king over all the earth?
*What in the world still clings to you?
*What would He want for you to hold onto instead?
It is possible to transform in the very second that He reveals things!
Just make an exchange with Jesus right away.
Picture yourself standing in front of Jesus.
Whatever He revealed to you that is not like Him, pull it out of your chest or head with your dominant hand and give to Him.
Let Him hand you His special way to think about things instead. Receive it in your non-dominant hand. Feel its weight as you cup it in both hands. Allow it to sink down into your skin and become part of your bloodstream as you name His way in a phrase. Let His way travel into your brain and heart and makes a new home there.
This is a beautiful picture of repentance—you relinquish what you would not get to keep for something that can't be taken away. When you give Him the honor of setting His heavenly standards in you, God’s Kingdom agenda and ideals begin to take root in your mind and heart. This is how you strengthen your wick!
The first step of being a Fire*Work is deciding to identify more with heaven than earth--accepting full citizenship in the Kingdom of Jesus. Resetting your allegiance shakes off what holds you down and anchors you in what holds you up.
Next post: Term #2--Fuel. See you soon!