Periodically, hearts need to be raked over coals to become malleable and soft again. The metaphor doesn’t work except it does.
Fire doesn’t make flesh soft, it makes it crisp. It sears it. Meat shrinks and contracts when surrounded by the heat of a coal fire. But when the “hot coal” is the righteous fire of God, when the heat is supplied by the spotless moral perfection and holiness of the Lord of Hosts miraculous things can happen.
Periodically, our hearts need the searing heat of God’s word to remind us that we are desperate for Him to change us. In April of 2008, I had one of those times, one of those “spiritual crisis” moments. (Preceded by similar times in 1973, 1974, 1975, 1979, 1983, 1984, 1990, 1994, and 2001, and then later in 2012.) Each time, God used a different text to shock my system,
- to remove blinders from my eyes,
- to reveal darker corners of my soul waiting for healing,
- to grip my heart with a new passion,
- to draw my distracted attention back to wonders of His love and compassion.
In 2008, it was Psalm 42 (ESV). I read these words:
1 As a deer pants for flowing streams,
. so pants my soul for you, O God.
2 My soul thirsts for God,
. for the living God.
When shall I come and appear before God?
And my immediate response was, “No Lord. It’s not true. I am not panting for You. My soul is parched.“ That was the beginning of a personal revival as I began to plead with God to change my heart. Studying for the current preaching series on Habakkuk, I was struck with another need for personal revival when the Spirit of God led me to Psalm 119:136:
My eyes shed streams of tears,
. because people do not keep your law.
First response? “Is this not the problem in our nation. Where is the lament of Your people? Where is mine?” And that quickly, I knew that God was calling my heart to something deeper, something richer. He was calling me to cease dabbling with trivial things, and plumb the depths of significant things with Him as my guide.
I think God is always calling us to those deeper depths and He always wants to be our guide. So here is my invitation to my readers to join me. The link below was a reflection written in the “spiritual crisis of April 2008”. Perhaps it will be of some use now. In addition, here’s the link to Jim Elliff’s 5 Resolves to Personal Revival.
Source: Darkness Created Light.