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Faith Imagined: Snuff that Torch!

Faith Imagined

Alisa Hope Wagner: Christian Writer

August 19, 2008

Snuff that Torch!

I'm so excited about this post because I asked for understanding and God totally came through! I've been reading in the Bible a lot about how honored God's name is. Isaiah and Psalms assert over and over again that the name of God should overwhelm us with respect, awe and reverence.

Every time I read the Bible, I knew that I was not able to show the respect due Him because I did not have a good understanding of His sovereignty. I love God and I strive for obedience, but I became increasingly aware that my respect for God was way out of sync from what it should be. "God," I said, "Help me to understand 'hallowed be thy name.'"

The same night I said that prayer I read two verses in the Bible that really stuck out to me. Although I didn't know it yet, God was already showing me how to understand "hallowed be thy name." I circled the two verses and meditated on them for the following several days. The verses are found in Isaiah 50:10-11:

"Who among you fears the Lord and obeys the word of his servant? Let him who walks in the dark, who has no light, trust in the name of the Lord and rely on his God. But now, all you who light fires and provide yourselves with flaming torches, go, walk in the light of your fires and of the torches you have set ablaze. This is what you shall receive from my hand: You will lie down in torment."

Finally, after almost a week of contemplating these verses, the Holy Spirit broke through my ignorant little mind and said to me that if I snuffed out all the other torches that I have lit for myself, then I would automatically show God respect, honor, reverence, love and obedience. I wouldn't even have to try to conjure these feelings for Him because my entire existence would be dependent on His light. He would be my only fire in this dark world, my only path through a maze of wilderness and my only life-line to an everlasting life full of joy, peace and love.

I tried to think of the little torches that I have lit for myself, and sadly I found a lot. I rely on my health, my looks, my money, my husband, my kids, my friends, my education, my productivity, my personality, my entertainment, my accomplishments and other people's praise and good opinions.

All these things are good things, but when they become little flashlights that we use to see in the dark, they distract us from the One True Light and the only light that matters. And in reality, those little torches I light are as fleeting as the world we live in and the time that we're given on this earth. Why would I want to base my life on little fires that burn out in an instant?

God told me that if I snuffed out my little fires, I would be able to follow His path for my life and fulfill that coolest mission He has created for me. He told me that He has an awesome adventure laid out for me, but I need to focus completely on His light or I would definitely get lost and miss my mark for what He has planned. And how sad I would be in retrospect when God places before me the crazy ride of a life He had planned, and I realized I totally blew it because I was too busy running after tiny sparks in the night.

God also told me that if I relied solely on His fire, then I would thoroughly understand "hallowed be thy name" because I would follow Him closely for fear of getting lost. I would keep my children near Him. I would be obedient to Him. I would do all I could to stay near His flame, so I wouldn't lose myself in the abyss.

I would spend all my strength growing His fire because I would know that my entire life and the lives of my family would "lie down in torment" without it. And this torment would not be of God's doing; it would be totally be of my own doing. God does not create evil. We create evil when we live a life absent of God. God's hand is all good, all powerful and all loving. He gave us a choice to cling to His hand or not.

The other cool thing that God told me is that He wants to bless His children. He wants to give us the desires of our heart, whether they be accomplishments, health, money, friends, excitement, whatever. If we do not make little torches of those things, He will give them to us freely. God will be much more liberal with His gifts when He knows those things will not lead us away from Him into torment. Like any good parent, He will not give His children anything that will destroy them.

So my challenge to myself is to make a list of my torches and to pray that God helps me to distinguish their light. And I know that I will continually have to take inventory on what is leading me away from God, because every season has its new distractions. And although I still do not fully appreciate "hallowed be thy name," I do think I'm on the right path to understanding.

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Blogger Sohl Gal said...

Amazing Alisa. The idea that I've been chasing those little flickers in the night is sad, and yet I know how He wants me to change. Thanks for the insight and steps to take next. HUGS!

3:01 PM  
Blogger Twisting His Arm said...

So true!

3:18 PM  
Blogger Tiffany said...

Great post. This season of my life I know I too have been carrying many torches. Your words spoke right to my heart.

4:30 PM  
Blogger DeeDee said...

Girl, you are on a roll! I love this post and can definitely see where some of my little torches have distracted me from His true light. Thanks for sharing!!

9:05 PM  
Blogger Susie said...

Making a copy of this! Joining you in snuffing out the torches, but I may need a high powered fire hose for some of mine.

Your words truly bless me, but I give God the praise not you, is that better? Hee Hee.

9:59 PM  

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