About This Episode:

What is strange fire? In this episode, Steve teaches why we must discern between religion and genuine Godly fire. 

In Leviticus 10, Aaron’s sons Nadab and Abihu served as priests. God would light the fire on the altar, and the priests tended the fire to make sure it would not extinguish. However, Nadab and Abihu offered unauthorized fire. Then the fire consumed them because they did wrong, acting “contrary to God’s command.”

Self-Willed Religion

It’s possible to do something wrong that does not feel or seem wrong but is wrong to God. “Self-willed religion” is loving God but loving Him your way. Christians might reject following God’s ways and commands (wholly and above all else), not caring or being unwilling to change because they want their own way.

“Sometimes you need to repent about yourself, not feel better.”

Nadab and Abihu went against God. They added incense and offered it unauthorized before God. Incense was supposed to be used only on certain occasions. What was their mindset and motives? The idol-worshipping Egyptians offered incense to find and increase favor with the gods. In the same way, religion today dresses up and even marginalizes the Word of God. Churches offer sermons that might have a little Bible but a lot of therapy. This is not evil, but it is adding incense. The fire of God is what changes us; we do not need anything else.

What Is God’s Preference?

“Strange fire” can so easily be taken out of context. Manifestations of the Holy Spirit like speaking in tongues can be criticized or thought to be strange by humans, but those Biblical works are not strange to God. It matters what God thinks is strange or wrong versus what he thinks is right. 

Jesus is in the center. We circle our wagons around him. It’s all about him. Let’s leave behind our self-willed religion and fan the flames of God’s fire together!

Further Bible Reading:

Leviticus 10:1-2 (NIV)

1 Aaron’s sons Nadab and Abihu took their censers, put fire in them and added incense; and they offered unauthorized fire before the Lord, contrary to his command. 
So fire came out from the presence of the Lord and consumed them, and they died before the Lord.

Leviticus 9:23-24 (NIV)

23 Moses and Aaron then went into the tent of meeting. When they came out, they blessed the people; and the glory of the Lord appeared to all the people. 
24 Fire came out from the presence of the Lord and consumed the burnt offering and the fat portions on the altar. And when all the people saw it, they shouted for joy and fell facedown.
  • Does “self-willed religion” have an influence on your life or how you engage with your church and with God? 
  • Do you long for the Word of God or for self-help? How do you feed your spirit? 
  • TAKE ACTION: This week, use the Word to know God on a deeper level. Identify God’s preferences and what he likes. Then line up your actions and decisions with God’s preferences.

Learn more about self-willed religion and fanning the genuine flames of God’s fire in Steve’s book, My Absurd Religion.

Listen to past episodes of Revive Us Now Podcast.

Quotes To Remember:

  • 5:55 It’s the people that don’t care or don’t have any desire to change, sitting in churches controlling religion. It doesn’t matter what God commanded. They didn’t care.
  • 10:46 We’re so busy adding something a little bit more so God will hear us.
  • 13:05 Sometimes you need to repent about yourself, not feel better.
  • 15:00 We want to get a hold of what God’s preference is, what God wants, what’s not strange to God.
  • 16:12 We want a move of God that centers around what God likes and not necessarily what we like.
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