Anything Will Burn If the Fire is Hot Enough

If you have any experience at all with starting a fire, you know that dry wood is essential.  Survivor Man knows this, and so does Pyro-Woman.  Yes, burning piles of wood is one of my favorite pastimes.  There’s nothing like clearing out a section of woods by gathering up the fallen branches, cutting up the dead trees, and then torching the pile you’ve created!  It’s got to be one of God’s original forms of therapy.  Over the years I have burned many piles of wood.  As I continually enlarge our yard and decrease our woods, I have lost count of the number of piles I have stacked and burned.  And, while dry wood is necessary for the beginning of a fire, I have discovered that anything will burn if the fire is hot enough!

I first found this out years ago as I was burning a pile and stacking newly cut green branches on top.  My husband told me the pile would never burn.  It was a good thing he said this because it immediately became a challenge…and one I was happy to accept!  So, as I burned the dry wood, I continually worked in the green wood.  Too much green and the fire would slow down, but just a steady amount of green and the fire would consume whatever it was fed.  I did this until the entire pile burned.  That’s when I learned the natural law:  anything will burn if the fire is hot enough.  Those words, for whatever reason, stuck in my head.

Recently, I found myself in the woods in need of a therapy session so I began gathering sticks and fallen branches and started a pile.  Then, I did a little under brushing and placed green branches on the pile.  As I did this, those words from years ago crossed my mind, “Anything will burn if the fire is hot enough.” My first thought was in regard to the pile I was creating.  I knew I could get the whole pile to burn because I had some dead wood on the bottom.  But then it hit me.  There was a life lesson here, too.  Anything will burn if the fire is hot enough.  Hadn’t I had some fires in my own life?  Hadn’t I seen this truth exhibited in more than just stacks of wood?  And so I stopped and looked inwardly at my own dry wood and at my own green wood.

In the dry wood pile I found the sticks of self-sufficiency, ambition, pride, selfishness, and attention.  In the green wood pile I found the sticks of faith, perseverance, self-control, patience, and discernment.  The dry wood needed to burn; the green wood did not.  But, anything will burn if the fire is hot enough.  Not surprisingly, God had once again taught me a lesson from the woods.  I had not tended to my pile of dry sticks and when Satan shot a spark my way, they began to burn.  Unfortunately, so too did my green wood.  I was shocked to see the flames and couldn’t understand how the green wood of Christian values could burn.  But, now I knew; now I understood.  Anything will burn if the fire is hot enough.

How wrong it is for us to think we keep our flammable traits separate from our “fire-resistant” traits.  While some things ignite easier than others and some things we hope will be consumed by fire, we are ignorant at best and dishonest at worst to think our green sticks won’t burn.  If the fire is burning strongly enough and the green sticks are added slowly enough and positioned rightly enough, anything will burn if the fire is hot enough. Fortunately, fire is an element God controls and when He wields the flame the outcome is always for our good.  God’s fire burns to purify, not pacify; to define, not destroy; and to conform, not condemn.  So, take an inventory of your wood; identify the dry sticks and the green sticks.  Then, humbly ask the LORD to burn only that which needs to go and to spare all of that which needs to grow.  And, when you see a fire burning, whether in the woods or in a life, remember this lesson from the woods…anything will burn if the fire is hot enough.    

Experience: The Touch, the Feel, the Fabric of Our Lives


Several years ago, the cotton industry came up with a slogan that promoted anything made from their product:  Cotton, the touch, the feel, the fabric of our lives.  The advertisers knew they had to do more than tell people about the benefits of cotton; to increase sales, they had to let people experience the benefits of cotton.  The goal was to have people think of how cotton felt rather than recite why it was beneficial.  It was a good marketing strategy, but at its roots we find it has a Biblical truth as well.

Experience.  It’s the crucial link that transforms information into comprehension; the abstract into the concrete.  Without it, we are left with a lot of head knowledge that never matures and, therefore, never manifests.  This is evident in life as we are exposed to information but, without internalizing it through experience, we fail to apply what we have learned.  We have engaged on a mental level but we have not experienced on a physical level.  In essence, we lack the threads of touch and feel and therefore are left without the fabric of understanding.

We know this to be true not only from our personal experiences, or lack thereof, but also through God’s portrayal of this truth through His Son.  How did God make Himself known to mankind?  How did a spiritually abstract God allow Himself to become physically concrete so that simple minded man could experience who He was?   He did it through His Son, Jesus Christ; the Word who became flesh and dwelt among us (John 1:14).  God knew that mankind would never be able to show humility, love, forgiveness, or mercy if they didn’t first experience it for themselves.  And so, an invisible God wrapped Himself in visible flesh so that His children could experience, and thereby learn, His attributes.

When we read the gospels, we see the Master Teacher at work, continually using experience to transform head knowledge into heart-felt understanding.  He showed forgiveness when He told Peter to tend His flock, even after he had denied Him three times. He showed humility when He washed not just eleven pairs of feet but twelve (yes, Judas experienced a foot washing as well). He showed love for a family when He brought Lazarus back to life and He showed love for all mankind when He hung on a cross.  He showed mercy when He told the thief on the cross that he would be with Him in paradise.  In every encounter, Jesus infused experience…He included the touch, the feel…so that even now we can have a deeper understanding of our Heavenly Father not just because of what Jesus said, but because of what Jesus did.

And so we must ask ourselves if we have an understanding of God that is based upon experience.  Have we felt His love, have we known His mercy, have we put on His humility, have we worn His forgiveness?  If so, have we in turn shown these to others?  Have we allowed others the opportunity to experience the touch and the feel of these characteristics or did we just give them verbal threads that could not be woven into a life-giving fabric?  If we do not incorporate the use of experience in our relationships with others, then we are not following God’s example and we are not manifesting our understanding of God to them.  If this occurs, either we have simply overlooked the importance of experience or we have never truly learned through experience.

Experience:  the touch, the feel, the fabric of our lives.  As we strive to follow Jesus’ example and rely upon the Holy Spirit to make us more Christ-like, let’s not overlook the importance of experience.  Let’s do more than say we love, or forgive, or accept; let’s show others how it feels to be loved, to be forgiven, and to be accepted.  Let’s follow Jesus’ example and, perhaps, His slogan:  Christianity, the touch, the feel, the fabric of our lives.