Wednesday, June 02, 2010

A Flame-shrouded Life

I described Samson's life as "an angel in the flame" from the mysterious event that happened at the announcement of his birth. An angel, a messenger of God, affirmed Manoah’s wife would become pregnant with a son, who would begin the deliverance of Israel. At a sacrificial meal to commemorate God’s child-giving grace, we are told that, “as the flame blazed up from the altar toward heaven, the angel of the LORD ascended in the flame.” (Judges 13:20)

The angel in the flame was a foreshadowing of Samson’s life. Israel’s leader was set apart for the purposes of God, empowered with muscle, looks, and wit…He was to be a savior, a hero, and leader…As long as he stayed within God’s plan and Spirit, he would have the power to serve God’s purposes for his birth and life. Step outside the plan, and he would fall to earth like Lucifer after his failed coup in heaven. (38)

The flame of ego rather than God’s Spirit consumed Samson…in the end his life flamed out in self-interest. His life became a pyre of pride that devoured all potential of ending well. Samson could not live apart from his lusts and selfish desires. He never let his life be a sacrifice to his Maker. (38, 39)

God created you and me to be messengers of his love to others…God designed our lives for service to the King and for worship of his glory. God’s Spirit is that flame that envelops us, that indwells us…A life captured and directed by God is one wrapped in the flame of His Spirit and set apart to accomplish divine purposes…We are to be walking, breathing, flame-shrouded followers of Jesus, giving light, love, and hope to others, inflamed in God’s presence. Sparks should fly from our lives; sparks that come from the energy of messengers consumed by the One who sent them. Christ followers run into life with their hearts lit by the One who called them and who gave them a reason to live. (39)

How can being God’s “angel in the flame” guide your choices today?

Father in Heaven, You have given me a divine purpose for my life and your Spirit to empower me to accomplish it. May your Spirit consume me today so that others may know you. Show me how I am like Samson, and lead me to be like Jesus.

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