A Fire?

Jeremiah was at least a little peaved with God when he said in essence… ‘You tricked me! You told me to say what You want me to say, I obeyed, and now I’m laughed at by everyone. Everyone is against me because I’m telling them what you tell me to tell them. Can’t you tell me to tell them something nice for a change?’ I know that’s a very loose paraphrase of the situation, but read a few verses from Jeremiah 20 (try verse 7 or so). Before he curses the day he was born (verse 14), he praises God for rescuing the needy (verse 13), calls for God to take vengeance on his persecutors (verse 12), and makes this interesting statement in verse 9 “But if I say, ‘I will not mention his word or speak anymore in his name,’ his word is in my heart like a fire, a fire shut up in my bones. I am weary of holding it in; indeed, I cannot.”

No matter how tough it got for Jeremiah, he absolutely could not/would not waver from commitment of himself to God’s message. He cried and complained to God, but never took the easy out of disobedience. He had a dangerous assignment – to live a life that warned of God’s impending judgment. I wonder if he ever just prayed for safety like we do? Safe travel, safe games, safe sleep…

I think it was in An Unstoppable Force, Erwin McManus tells a story about his son asking him to pray that God would keep him safe. Instead, he prayed that God would make him dangerous. I wonder if that’s what Jeremiah prayed? ‘If you’re going to send me out into the wolves, give me sharper teeth. If you’re going to hang me out like a piece of meat, make me poison to the enemies who want to chew me up.’

As a pastor to students, I am a part of God shaping the future of our world. Should my primary focus be to show the students how to be safe? Is it even possible to be safe and be committed? Instead, I pray that God would make them dangerous. That the students I know would be made courageous by the working of God in their lives. I pray that the enemy would fear them as they go and make disciples.

Steve at BreatheFire has a cool video of his daughter and some thoughts/discussion about this as well. Check out the How to Raise Fearless Warriors post and make sure to read the comments.
I may post more on this later because a comment that Dakota made in church Sunday (you’ll have to wait) really got me thinking about this. (Plus, I finally got to watch Batman Begins and it raises this whole what do we do with fear thing… which has a lot to do with seeking safety vs. being dangerous.)

3 Replies to “A Fire?”

  1. Great thoughts Mike. I love Jeremiah. He definitely speaks to those offering a minority message.

    “Should my primary focus be to show the students how to be safe? Is it even possible to be safe and be committed? “

    I recognize these questions were rhetorical but I think they are worth exploring.

    Western christian culture has sought a safe and secure road over the past years. We took a defensive posture against the changes in society. When that didn’t work, we pulled away to try and live lives of peace, security and prosperity. Neither of the modes helps us to interact with culture and influence in ways that Jesus asked us to.

    Your primary focus is dictated by what you believe God is calling you to. The time I’ve been reading your blog I think I recognize what He’s calling you to.

    You can’t call people to safety and security if you’re not willing to walk that road yourself. Likewise you can’t call people to risk and the dangerous lone path if your not willing to walk that path.

    Keep carrying the message.

    breathe fire.

  2. Thanks Steve

    I love your whole ‘BreatheFire’ metaphor. From reading your blog, I knew you’d be a Jeremiah ‘fan’.

    …it’s interesting how over the course of several months, we’ve each gotten to know the other a little bit and can sense God drawing the other in similar ways.

    Keep breathing


  3. Mike,

    Thanks for the link to the video, and also for being a kindred spirit.

    God has called us all to live a life that glorifies Him at all costs – and so often, I put out the fire that burns inside – instead of desiring to become more “dangerous”

    I can’t think of a greater purpose in life than to push those who want to follow Christ (including myself) to a greater realization of what it is that he is calling the church to be to this world.

    Let’s change the world – one life at a time!

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