Flame for Living

Likewise, the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts.  Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark.  The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body.  It corrupts the whole body, sets the whole course of one’s life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell.

—Jas. 3:5-6

Then one of the seraphim flew to me with a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with tongs from the altar.  With it he touched my mouth and said, “See, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away and your sin atoned for.”

—Isa. 6:6-7

A Hong Kong–American actor Bruce Lee (1940–1973) wrote, “Love is like a friendship caught on fire.  In the beginning a flame, very pretty, often hot and fierce, but still only light and flickering.  As love grows older, our hearts mature and our love becomes as coals, deep burning and unquenchable.”  Who among us live with a consuming fire?  Who could live with such burning? (Isa. 33:14).  This is a gift from God.

Albert Schweitzer (1875–1965), a French-German theologian said, “In everyone’s life, at some time, our inner fire goes out.  It is then burst into flame by an encounter with another human being.  We should all be thankful for those people who rekindle the inner spirit.”  These won’t be like worthless people who dig up evil that scorches the ground (Prov. 16:27).  They are unlike the light of the wicked that goes out (Job 18:5).

A Brilliant Flame

How should people live?  Boris Yeltsin (1931–2007), president of the Russian Federation wrote, “A man must live like a great brilliant flame and burn as brightly as he can.  In the ends he burns out.  But this is far better than a mean little flame.”  While Nikola Tesla (1856–1943), a Serbian-American inventor who amplified Yeltsin’s view said, “The spread of civilization may be likened to a fire; first, a feeble spark, then a mighty blaze, ever increasing in speed and power.”  Undoubtedly a simple spark could have far-reaching effects.  Johan Lehrer (b. 1981), an author wrote, “Creativity is a spark.  It can be excruciating when we’re rubbing two rocks together and getting nothing.  And it can be intensely satisfying when the flame catches and a new idea sweeps around the world.”

The Lord assures us that when we pass through waters he will be with us.  Rivers won’t overflow. When we walk through fire we won’t be scorched, nor do the flames burn us (Isa. 43:2).  That’s how we will be successful in life.  Walter Peter (1839–1894), an English essayist said, “To burn always with this hard, gem-like flame, to maintain this ecstasy, is success in life.”  And Bernard Williams (1929–2003), an English philosopher wrote, “Talent is a flame.  Genius is a fire.”

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