Rise of the Phoenix
Fire that prepares you for success
In Greek folklore, the Phoenix is a bird that dies in the combustion of flames and is reborn from the ashes. The etymology (which means the source or root) of the word, phoenix in 12th century English meant an “excellent person”. This year felt as though a part of our faith, our beliefs, and worldview, had gone up in flames. We now find ourselves sitting in a pile of ashes wondering what to do next. However, as this year draws to a close and we reflect on our journey of 2020 we all have two choices. We can either stay in the ashes and mourn over our losses or we can rise stronger and become a more excellent person. If you’re brave enough to let the flames consume you, then you will find that what seemed like the end was really God preparing you for success.
Before the Phoenix is reduced to a pile of ashes, it has to trust the process and purpose of the fire. For the Phoenix to rise again, for the rebirth to happen, and the physical process of the flames to consume everything old, the Phoenix has to make a choice to surrender or not. If it chooses to surrender, it needs to trust that the all-consuming fire will shed the old self and bring forth the new. Hebrews 12:29 talks about God being ‘like a fierce fire that consumes everything’. This passage suggests that God will bring correction where you’ve strayed from your faith. But don’t worry, this correction establishes and prepares your way toward success. You have to surrender to the fire and willingly let God reduce you to a pile of ashes before you can start to rise. You have let yourself become totally abandoned to the process, by giving permission to let God’s fierce fire of correction burn everything that is shakeable within your faith and transform you, leaving the unshakeable within your faith so you reap the benefits of God’s wisdom.
Throughout this season, I have not only found myself changing but I have also witnessed my close circle of friends not let the challenges of this pandemic get the better of them. They’ve embraced and surrendered to God’s transforming fire and let the rebirth of their faith prepare them for success. It hasn’t been easy. But through the flames we have all risen and have learned how to reach in, and in turn, reached out for a more excellent way of living. An abandonment to God that could only have been birthed out of the ashes.
If you want to be successful you cannot let the fear of what tomorrow may or may not bring consume your thoughts, otherwise, you’ll become paralysed and stay hidden within the ashes. The “what ifs” steal and bury your dreams and stop you from rising into everything God has for your future. When we fear that the fire is sent by God to destroy us rather than a necessity that prepares us for what’s ahead, it keeps us contained and small. Sadly, many believers have let fear consume them instead of letting God’s fire cleanse their thinking. The beacon which once shone brightly for Jesus before this pandemic has been distinguished by negativity and doubt.
Thérèse of Lisieux who became a nun and lived from 1873-1897, found the secret of reaching for God’s eternal flame. She says, “O luminous Beacon of love, I know how to reach You, I have found the secret of possessing Your flame. Yes, my Beloved, this is how my life will be consumed. I have no better means of proving my love for You.” Thérèse of Lisieux understood that by possessing God’s flame, His Beacon of love, she had to permit Him to let Him consume her life. By doing this it proved how much she loved Him. We too, have to be willing to let the fire consume us, so the old goes and the new is revealed.
Here in Australia, the Banksia tree has adapted to the smoke and heat that is created by a bushfire. As the fire passes through the bush, the Banksia seed is germinated, creating new life to a plant where there has only been devastation. Other plants die; however, the Banksia lives on even though it has been consumed by fire. Fire is never comfortable but if you want to rise into your destiny, you need it. Nothing will be germinated in “comfort zone” faith. Faith needs the transforming power of fire and heat to let the purpose and passion of God flow through you. The dream that has been locked up on the inside of you needs the flames to burst forth and be reborn.
Let this season of the pandemic prepare you for success. Let the blaze of the trial make you more aware of God’s presence. Jeremiah 20:9 says, “The Word of God burns in my heart; it is like fire in my bones, I try to hold it all in, but I cannot.” Let the fire of your purpose and passion for God be like a fire in your bones. Yes, you will be consumed and yes, you will be turned to ashes. However, God is faithful, and He is good, and He will lead you on the path toward success.
Isaiah 43:2 reminds us, ‘If it seems like you’re walking through fire with flames licking at your limbs, keep going; you won’t be burned.’ God is resurrecting you. He’s re-birthing something that will be used for His glory. So, let the fire germinate that dream within you and watch Him bring glorious beauty out of your ashes. (Isaiah 61:3)
Rise, dear Phoenix, rise!
Have you found yourself going through the fire in this season?
How has it deepened your faith?