I’ve talked about my obsession with candles before. I just love ’em. So when I moved to Austin and a wonderful family friend gifted me a delightful candle as a housewarming gift (ha-no pun intended), I was thrilled. (Erin, if you’re reading this, thank you!) I’ve had a lot of candles and a lot of scents, but this one has to be in my top five favorites–it’s light and fresh and warm and soothing, really it’s just a great one.
But I never lit it. Y’all, I was so in love with the smell of this candle that I didn’t want to burn it. (Cue swirling question marks.) I didn’t want to burn it because I didn’t want it to be used up–no matter that I could always pick up another one at Target. And so for almost half a year, I didn’t burn this pretty little candle. No, it just sat on my bedside table glaring at me–“when are you going to light me?” You know, because candles talk.
Last night, a friend from my small group was coming over, and I didn’t have a candle to light in the bathroom. (This is my mother’s doing 100%. We never had guests over when I was growing up without lighting candles in the bathroom–I guess because it smells fresh and feels homey? Not sure exactly why, but I continue to do it. As they say, sometimes you open your mouth and your mother comes out.)
So I made the
slow, treacherous trek two-step walk into my bedroom and retrieved this little white candle. I grabbed a match, lit it, and set it on the counter. It was actually a dramatic moment. I was thinking thoughts like “the deed is done” in a Morgan Freeman-esque voice. #notkidding #wishIwas
And then…BAM! It hit me.
Why do I become afraid to be on fire for Christ? Why am I so hesitant to allow myself to be consumed with His spirit? Is it because, perhaps, I am scared of being burnt out…nervous that I’ll never live up to my own expectations of Christian perfection? Do I think the Lord will abandon me, leave me? Why, why?
Playing off the candle metaphor, it only takes a “Yes, Lord” before an all-consuming, unending, never-dying fire is planted deep in my heart’s soil. Just a decision to follow, a decision to love–and the Mighty Light will strike a match and give me a small flame.
That small flame will start by melting a little pool of wax, making a little indentation, and small hints of scent will begin to fill the room. Blow out the candle now, and the flame may be extinguished, but the wax will never be the same. In the same way, no matter how far a once-believer strays from the One True God, his heart will never be able to un-feel the love that he once allowed Christ to bring him.
Allow the flame to burn a bit longer–to the edges of the glass candle jar (this is called a memory burn), and the heart starts to rid itself of sin, resentment, and disappointment as the room begins to smell sweet, a life beginning to be shaped by Jesus, beautiful and imperfect.
Protect the flame and watch it melt through the once-solid wax, fragrantly filling the room with a wild love. Melting a heart of stone, once tied up and held captive in regret and past hurt, now sweetly warming and encouraging those who are close. This flame will burn eternally, perhaps weakening at times of trial, but strengthening forevermore in the hope of the Lord.
When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” -John 8:12
Friends, God is the ultimate candle-lighter. Jesus will make a long, difficult journey to find us so that He can strike a match and give life to our little flames. But beware, for the evil one will blow and blow on our candles, trying desperately to extinguish our life-giving flames. Refuse defeat. Refuse to be burnt out. Refuse passivity–to not light your candle for fear of the unknown.
Instead, choose fire. Fire that will melt, transform, scent, and all-consume. Hold your heart’s candle up. Watch it be lit. Watch it change your life, the lives of those around you. See the way it lights up dark places. Bask in its heat. Relish in its hope. Warm yourself in its love.
“No one lights a lamp and then hides it or puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where its light can be seen by all who enter the house.” -Luke 11:33