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Friday, January 10, 2014

Hot Fires and Cold Hearts

Where I’m from in southeastern Kentucky the primary industry is mining coal. My dad’s dad was a coal miner. I knew plenty of others who earned their living in the mines. We sold some of the gear that miners needed for their work in my grandmother’s (mom’s mom) feed and garden supply store. Occasionally a miner would come in to the store after work and would be covered head to toe in coal dust. It’s no wonder my grandfather had black lung.

When my sisters and I were young, dad often used a wood burning fireplace to help heat our house. We loved coming in from the cold or even better after playing in the snow to a hot fire. Because of all the coal that was transported around the area, it was not unusual for us to be able to get our hands on a few pieces of coal lying on the side of the road. I remember asking dad why we didn’t use that to burn in the fireplace. If I remember correctly he told me that it burned too hot, that it was dangerous to use it in a simple fireplace not designed to handle a fire that hot.

I saw a headline this week that caught my attention and got me thinking. It read:

We don’t just feel and we don’t just think. We do both and we need both.
We are not just brains and we are not just hearts.

You may see yourself as more one than the other. Some whose personality style is stronger on feeling than thinking may believe that we need not bother much with thinking better, but consider this: without the right kind of thinking you won’t have the right kind of feeling. Rightly approached, the knowledge of God and specifically the truth about who Jesus is and what he accomplished is like coal that can burn long and hot in the furnace of your soul. But to focus primarily on feelings is like throwing newspaper into a furnace. Sure that makes a big flame for a moment, but it won’t keep the fire going when the cold winds of doubt and discouragement blow on your soul.

My personality style is more feeler than thinker, but I’ve learned how critically important it is for me to feed my mind with solid content and to keep before my mind the truth about who Jesus is, because these very realities, even though I already know them, refresh my mind in a way that causes the fire, the feeling in my soul to burn hotter. If I don’t feed my mind, my heart doesn’t burn hot for God.

In our current series, I’m leaning a little harder on the thinking side. But rich thinking about the certainty of the resurrection will lead to a powerfully hot fire within your soul. I’ve seen this work in my own heart. I’m convinced it will in yours as well. You can listen/watch the beginning message in the series here and see the outline for Sunday’s message here.

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