My husband brought home a new heater for our bed room a few days ago. It’s a pretty little Electric heater that looks like a real fireplace. It has a very real looking simulated fire, and judging by appearance only it is very convincing, but there is nothing real about it. The warmth it emits simply comes from a fan that blows across an electric heating coil, something akin to a giant hairdryer.
As I admire how real it looks, I can’t help but notice that (though it does feel good to my flesh) it just doesn’t feel the same as a real fire. Then my husband, reading the manual says, “it says that unlike a real fire it won’t change the moisture and oxygen content in the air“…
In that moment the Holy Spirit spoke to me and said, “Because it’s a fake fire, it doesn’t change the atmosphere“. That’s when it hit me, real fire changes things. That is the nature of fire. Everything a real fire touches, it changes, it becomes something completely new down to the molecular level with a completely new chemical composition. All things are made into something new by real fire. It even changes the very atmosphere around it.
Fake fire (or strange fire), however doesn’t change anything, it just adds to it. Because this is a fake fire, it doesn’t change the atmosphere. It blows past me and my flesh feels it but it doesn’t effect the inside of me. I stay cold on the inside, it doesn’t permeate my being and change me on the inside. It doesn’t change the atmosphere in the room in any lasting manner either. It’s warm as long as it blows on my flesh but as soon as it stops the cold takes over. The real fire burning in the living room however, once lit, changed the very chemistry of the air. It moved every molecule out of its place, and removed elements from the atmosphere that the cold clings to (like humidity), causing a real and lasting change.
That’s when I saw what He was showing me. Strange fire tries to add something to the atmosphere, but real fire changes the atmosphere. Strange fire tries to add something to the persons life, experience, situation, and heart but the real fire of God changes it. Legalism, doctrines of demons, counterfeit religion, come as you are and leave as you are sermons, and manifestations of fruitless charismatic hype… They are all strange fire because they are trying to add something to the existing atmosphere. The real fire of God doesn’t add to what already is, it changes it.
It’s not Grace added to a sinful life. It’s a life changed by grace. The old is washed away and all things become new, anew creature in Christ, because real fire changes what it touches. You can not be touched by true fire and leave unchanged, but you can be touched by strange fire (a counterfeit fire) and do so.
You see, I can touch this fake fire and it will not burn my flesh. It’s designed not too. It won’t cause me any discomfort at all, no pain, no change, nothing burned away. It’s designed to give me all of the pleasures of fire, the ooos and ahhhhs, the flash and show of it, and a dry warmth that is somewhat reminiscent of the real thing, but not at all like the real thing. It has a form of fire, but does not have the power thereof.
“This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.” – 2 Timothy 3:1-5
Sadly the modern church today is full of false fire claiming to be the fire of God, and it does have a very convincing resemblance to the real thing but it denies the power to change what it touches like real fire does. It allows the elements of sin to remain in the atmosphere which Satan clings to, and therefore effects no real and lasting change. It looks the same but it doesn’t feel the same, not on the inside.
“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” – 2 Corinthians 5:17
Romans 12:1 tells us that we present ourselves to God as a living sacrifice. How often do we pray for the fire of God to fall on the alters but we forget that the fire didn’t fall on the alter, it fell on the sacrifice, to burn away its flesh, to change it. We don’t need anything to be added to us, we need things to be burned away. We don’t need to be exalted we need to be humbled. We don’t need to be healed, we need to be changed. We need to come to terms with the reality that there is nothing good enough in us to keep and add too, it all needs to be laid down at the alter before God that His fire might truly fall on it, burn it, and change you completely. God’s pure fire has the power to change you, anything we try to fake, add, or hold onto is nothing but strange fire. It’s not real, it’s not from God, and those that try to tell you that it is for their own benefit, glory, gain, validation, or justification is accounted accursed by God.
“And Moses and Aaron went into the tabernacle of the congregation, and came out, and blessed the people: and the glory of the Lord appeared unto all the people. And there came a fire out from before the Lord, and consumed upon the altar the burnt offering and the fat: which when all the people saw, they shouted, and fell on their faces. And Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, took either of them his censer, and put fire therein, and put incense thereon, and offered strange fire before the Lord, which he commanded them not. And there went out fire from the Lord, and devoured them, and they died before the Lord.” – Leviticus 9:23 – 10:2