Outside, the snow sits thickly upon the ground and on the tree branches, causing them to bough under the weight. Inside, the soft morning light peaks through the windows. The flames of the fire I started earlier dance before me, mesmerizing me. The heat of the fire emanates outward, warming the chilly morning to life.
As the fire begins to die out, I am faced with a decision: let it die soon or face the cold outdoors to get more wood from the pile, both involve being cold at some point. I grab one of the last pieces of wood and place it into the fireplace. The previously quiet fire roars back to life, the flames consume the new fuel I have given it. I can wait a little bit longer before going to the wood pile.
As I stare at the flames I begin to ponder the similarities between this fire and my faith. I think that they might have more in common than I have ever realized.
In a cold world our faith keeps us warm. But just as a fire needs to be tended to, looked after, and fed, so too does our relationship with God. We constantly have the decision of tending to it or letting it grow cold.
We need to put in the work of tending to our relationship with God.
“Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you” James 4:8
It is not that God will abandon us if we do not tend to our relationship with him, but rather it is that we are not opening our hearts and giving God room to be present in our lives.
God does not force his way into our lives. It is a relationship that is based on free-will, not force or control. We must choose a relationship with God, and just like any relationship, that involves working to keep it healthy and strong.
Yes, God is there always. No matter what. But, the beauty and familiarity of a relationship won’t be there unless you choose it, and then tend to it. God is ready for a relationship with you, you just need to invite him in and tend to that relationship.
This reminds me of when Wayde and I first moved to Germany: it was still quite warm and sunny, it only got chilly late in the evening. Wayde would make a fire at night.
He made it so well that I convinced myself that I didn’t need to/ couldn’t start it myself. I know how to build a fire, but for some reason I convinced myself that this fireplace was different. So every time I wanted a fire I would ask Wayde to build it.
However, as the days got colder and I was home alone while Wayde worked, I started to get quite cold during the day. I would put on so many layers to keep warm, only to still be frozen.
This happened for a few days. Until, one morning, it was freezing cold in our flat. I had no choice, I sat down and built a fire, just how I have known how to forever. And throughout the day I tended to that fire and kept it alive, and I wasn’t cold anymore.
This situation in the context of tending to our fire, or our relationship with God, drives the point that we cannot rely on someone else to build our faith. We cannot ride on the faith of our parents, our spouse, our friends, or anyone else. Someone else’s faith will not be able to keep us warm when we need it.
Build your own relationship with God, and tend to it diligently, then you will stay warm.
“Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.” John 1:12