Some things can catch on fire in nature without the help of humans. Really, you might ask? Yes. Of course, you need very specific conditions for this to happen. The cases are: lightning strikes, volcanic activity, and dry vegetation. This would be substances with
a relatively low ignition temperature. This includes hay, straw, peat, etc. Not wood. An NPS fire crew in the SF Bay Area saw this happen when conducting routine maintenance on their hand tools. Even when handled cautiously, their rags with linseed oil suddenly caught on fire on a workbench at the end of the day.
The reason I bring up Spontaneous Combustion is because I have heard people mention hearing others imagine this happening to them or the church. Either they will catch on fire when they enter a church or they will cause the church to catch on fire. Why would anyone think this? Most likely because these individuals recognize their own sinfulness. They believe that their wrongdoing coupled with their proximity to the church building will somehow cause the Lord to respond with fire upon their body or the church. So the conclusion is to avoid the church building. Isn’t this odd? Nowhere does the Bible ever teach of such a result! Yes, fire did come down from heaven in Scripture. Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed for their wickedness in Genesis 19, Elijah did call down fire from heaven multiple times in 1 Kings 1 and 18 on soldiers and the altar, and Elijah
was taken up into heaven in a fiery chariot. Moses was also bothered by the burning bush, not because a bush was on fire, but because this specific bush did not burn. But none of these instances are a repeated outcome nor does the Lord state that this will happen to
those who disobey them.
What’s going on then? Jesus told us that the Holy Spirit would come to “convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment,” in John 16:8 (ESV). But as believers, we have hope. For we can be reassured that when “our hearts condemn us, God is greater than our heart… 21 we have confidence before God… 22 because we keep his commandments and do what pleases him” (1 John 3:20-22). We can rest assured that as we strive to abide and live according to God’s will, he is abiding in us! Sadly, those who don’t know Christ also don’t know this. Seek an opportunity to let non-Christians know that as they look to the New Year and a new start, they can also rest in the assurance of the Lord and thus eliminate the worry of suddenly causing a fire!