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The fire Jesus brings

When Jesus spoke of His coming to bring fire to the earth (Luke 12:49), I think He was speaking not just of the decision He forces people to make in regard to Him (see v. 51-53, Matthew 10:34ff), but also the kind of decision He wants those who choose to follow Him to make.  Our decision for Him is to be strong rather than weak, wholehearted not half-hearted, and full of fire as opposed to lukewarm.  Moreover, He wants us to follow through on our initial decision in the same way or as Paul puts it, “Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor,” (Romans 12:11).   Everyone agrees this is the way we should live --- but how do we do this?

You may have heard the story of Fabrice Muamba.  He is a 23 years old and plays soccer for the Bolton Wanderers.  In a recent game, he went into full cardiac arrest and collapsed.  With the help of five on duty emt’s, a cardiologist (who happened to be in the stands), and fifteen shocks from a defibrillator, Fabrice is alive and well today despite the fact that he had no heartbeat for 78 minutes.
What do you suppose it’s like for him now when wakes up in the morning?  Do you think he has a different perspective on life than before?  Do you think he is grateful to be alive, feels blessed, and wants to live in a way that reflects these things?  Only he could tell us for sure, but that’s what we would expect from someone who was so close to death but was spared.

What do we think about when we open our eyes in the morning? I’m not asking if there are a myriad of urgent things awaiting us --- work responsibilities, getting our children up and going, plans for the day, etc.  I understand that there are.  But shouldn’t we pause before the storm long enough to thank God for rescuing us and giving us another day of life?  Doesn’t it make sense to start our day out with joy and hope rather than stress and dread?

If you think about it, Fabrice Muamba's story is ours as well. Paul tells us in Ephesians 2:1ff that we were stone cold dead in our sins. Through Jesus Christ God intervened and gifted us with eternal life.  The point of eternal life is not quantitative but qualitative --- it is to share in the very life of God, which is eternal in nature.  This is what we have right now (1 John 5:13).  We were dead but now we are marvelously alive!

The fruit of this new life should be love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, kindness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. These are all cultivated in the soil of gratitude. Getting and staying serious about bearing begins with being.  That's part of what communion is about. Each week it roots us in the reality of our blessedness.  It reminds us of the radical change of status that has taken place in our lives.  These mercies of God we continually experience through Jesus result in the joyful hope that fuels the fire in the disciple’s life.  
May we live with the fire that Jesus came to bring.
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