Father, Warrior, and Consuming Fire – Nathan Shaw
I love watching God encounter people by His Spirit. I have often seen God simultaneously encounter people in a meeting and reveal Himself in totally different ways to each person. The book of Acts paints a similar picture.
In Acts chapter 2 the Holy Spirit rushed upon 120 believers and gave them a voice—“We hear them speaking in our own tongues the wonderful works of God” (Acts 2:11). This was the start of a chain reaction. The new found boldness in the lives of the 120 led to 3000 people being “cut to the heart,” baptized in water, and initiated into a radical new lifestyle (Acts 2:37-47). But that still wasn’t the end.
The move of the Spirit and the word of God began to spread to even the most unlikely of people—“Then the word of God spread, and the number of the disciples multiplied greatly in Jerusalem, and a great many of the priests were obedient to the faith” (Acts 6:7). Whether you were one of the 120, one of the 3000, or one of the multitudes that followed, God was becoming known in profound ways. God was encountering people on different levels and in different ways.
Revival is a modern word used to describe intense seasons of God’s supernatural activity. The word has been used with this meaning for the last few hundred years. It is a catch phrase often used to express desire for God to show up and show off. History reveals two things about revival:
- Every revival has elements in common.
- Every revival is different.
Each revival restores revelation about specific aspects of God’s nature. Sometimes the emphasis of one revival can appear to be in conflict with the emphasis of another.
Immaturity leads to division and focusing on narrow aspects of God’s nature (Ephesians 4:14). Maturity leads to an appreciation for the fullness of God (Ephesians 4:13). Over the last few decades the body of Christ has come into a much greater maturity. We are entering a unique season of revival. It is generally not wise to predict the exact nature of a coming revival. God is full of surprises. However God does reveal many things ahead of time. Of this much I am certain—the coming revival will be marked by the revelation of God as Father, Warrior and Consuming Fire. This can be seen in 1 John 2:12-14 where John addresses three groups of people.
- Children—“I write to you, little children, because your sins are forgiven you for His name's sake...I write to you, little children, because you have known the Father.”
- Young people—“I write to you, young men, because you have overcome the wicked one...I have written to you, young men, because you are strong, and the word of God abides in you, and you have overcome the wicked one.”
- Fathers—“I write to you, fathers, because you have known Him who is from the beginning...I have written to you, fathers, because you have known Him who is from the beginning.”
To those beginning their spiritual journey God reveals Himself as Father. The picture is of a loving father embracing and reassuring his children. After knowing God as Father He goes on to reveal Himself as Warrior— “The LORD is a warrior” (Exodus 15:3 NIV). The picture is of a warrior training recruits for battle. To those who know God as both Father and Warrior He reveals Himself as Consuming Fire—“For our God is a consuming fire" (Hebrews 12:29). God is “from the beginning,” that is, He is eternal. He has no beginning and no end. The picture is of an all consuming reality (see for example Song of Songs 8:6). When we know Him as Father we become secure in His love. When we know Him as Warrior we become strong in His might. When we know Him as Consuming Fire we become one with Him in wholehearted union.
To mature fully we must overcome our resistance to change. Fear of the unknown can cause us to flee back into that which is familiar. Many don’t want to make the transition from knowing God as Father to knowing Him as Warrior. Likewise many don’t want to make the transition from knowing God as Warrior to knowing Him as Consuming Fire. God is raising up ministries that will help people make these transitions. It is important to remember that no matter how mature we become we never get past the importance of knowing God as Father.
We are entering a season in which all three dimensions of God will be revealed in profound and powerful ways. Even more significantly we are stepping into a level of maturity that will cause us to know God as Father, Warrior, and Consuming Fire, and not pit one of these realities against the other. What God is revealing to you may be different from that which He is revealing to another. As we discern that which God is doing in individual lives we will be used to help each other grow and mature (Ephesians 4:15-16).
The coming revival will reveal the width, length, depth and height of God’s love (Ephesians 3:18-19). It will be above and beyond anything we have yet seen. Now is the time to prepare our hearts.
- Is God specifically revealing Himself to you as either Father, Warrior, or Consuming Fire?
- Is there anything in you that resists knowing God as Father, Warrior, or Consuming Fire?
- Are you growing in the knowledge of God or are you resisting the change He desires to bring in your life?
May God ignite a deep hunger in you to encounter Him in His full glory.
© 2017 Nathan Shaw.
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