"Are you sure that's what you want?" The voice within my mind was firm but gentle.
"Oh yes Lord," I replied, "I want more than anything to be consumed by you, by the fire of your presence."
"You do understand fire, don't you?" the Lord replied.
"Of course I understand fire," I replied indignantly. I'm an adult. Of course I understand fire, I thought to myself.
The Lord, ignoring my smugness, continued, "You need to think carefully about this and be certain it is what you want. The fire of my presence is all consuming. All wickedness and impurity will be removed."
"Yes Lord," I replied, "More than anything I want all of that removed from my life."
"You can't just pick and choose. All of the things you've built for yourself, things that were not for me and my kingdom, will be gone forever, consumed by holy fire." "Of course Lord. You know me. You know all about me. You know that's what I want."
"I just need to be sure. Let me list a few things that will be removed so I know this is your genuine desire." I smiled to myself. What could God possibly bring to mind?
The first thing that flashed before my memory was anger at being asked to leave a church. Although the occurrence was twenty years ago, the memory still burned as though it was yesterday. I liked to keep it as a memento of what I had "endured for God."
Next, God allowed me to remember all the people whom I felt had wronged me. I would lose my ability to be angry with them. God would replace the anger with His love and kindness. Could I let it go? Never seek revenge?
What about my methods of entertainment? Not all of them were exactly pleasing to God. The trophies, the awards, the fame—would I be willing for them all to be consumed in the fire of God's presence?
By now my smugness had left and I wasn't sure what to say.
Gently the voice continued, "And you would have to give up the darkness. For wherever you go and to whomever you visit, you will bring the fire of my presence. People who love darkness will flee. They will no longer want to be around you because many people prefer the darkness to the light."
That last bit was like a laser of light piercing to the deepest part of my soul. I didn't know what to say.
"You're not ready for that kind of commitment, are you?" The Lord said wistfully. It wasn't a question. It was a statement. "Just let me know when you change your mind," the still small voice continued, "because I will always be here waiting to fill you with the fire of my Spirit. But you need to be willing—truly willing—for that to happen."
Please note: All facts, figures, and titles were accurate to the best of our knowledge at the time of original publication but may have since changed.