By Lara Izokaitis
Years ago, a dear friend started a fun New Year’s tradition with me that included identifying one or two faith words that would set a tailored hope before me in the 365 days to follow. The word-phrase I chose for 2022 was “FIREWORKS—WORKS OF FIRE,” as it related specifically to the areas of the heart that include our relationship with God and with others.
There are many aspects I could share about the multi-faceted “works of fire” I have experienced already in the first half of the year, but the point I want to focus on now is the distinction between FIREWORKS and keeping the logs burning in the FIREPLACE of our heart.
Let’s first look at the difference between FIREWORKS and a FIREPLACE.
FIREWORKS are an explosive, wondrous display of colored lights, sounds, smoke, and sparks of fire. They typically serve as the focal point at a celebration which may only come a few times a year.
On the other hand, a FIREPLACE hosts a comforting and consistent heat for as long as there are logs burning and a fire kept stoked within it.
When we first begin a relationship with Jesus, our hearts often experience a supernatural, exhilarating, fireworks type of love. We are created to experience a love like this in Him! But, just as a fireworks show may come just a few times a year, we should not look for these types of experiences daily with God. Instead, we are called to experience a sustaining, fireplace kind of love through the burning and stoking of time spent with God each day.
Rick Renner, in his book, “LIFE ABLAZE” shares a story of when he and his family were living in Russia. It was in the middle of a frigid winter and they ran out of wood to heat their home. Out of their desperation to be warmed again, they resorted to pulling dead wood from the long-abandoned apartment beneath them. This experience taught them the importance of making sure there wasn’t a lapse in keeping logs burning in the fireplace because it was much harder to get a fire burning from scratch than to tend to an existing fire.
It is the same with our relationship with God, our spouse, and our loved ones. Although there is definitely a place for firework moments, our relationships should be more about the consistent slow-burn of the day-to-day– faithfully tending to each other’s love that keeps the fire burning for the long haul.
In what ways can we add logs to and stoke the fire in our hearts toward God?
The most important LOG is time spent ALONE with God. I would recommend finding a place in your home where you can shut the door behind you and be alone with God. Like you would a fireplace, cozy up with Him to experience the warmth, connection, and comfort of His love. Find a place to talk with Him, pray, worship, read His WORD, and connect heart-to-heart.
If you haven’t had any logs burning for some time now or feel like maybe just an ember is left of what was once a blaze—take heart because His love is the best firestarter and will fan into flame the fire you once had.
What’s the first step? Check the condition of the fireplace of your heart. Does it need to be built once again? Or is it low on logs? Does it need to be stoked? Great—Let’s tend to it! The time spent (re)building your fire is so worth it because, as a result, you’ll get to experience the love of God consistently burning on a daily basis.
There is truly nothing more fulfilling than the neverending, reciprocal love that God pours out in the secret FIREPLACE of your heart. And, don’t forget, we also get to enjoy some FIREWORK encounters with Him along the way, too!
SCRIPTURES for further reading:
“But you, when you pray, go into your inner room, close your door and pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.”
“But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first. Consider how far you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place.”
Lara Izokaitis is an international speaker and author of Caterfly: Discover Who You Are & How a Mirror Can Change Your Life.
Lara loves encouraging people to achieve their dreams in the midst of adversity, and addresses beauty and identity, eating disorders and other real life issues young women face.