Behold, all you [enemies of your own selves] who attempt to kindle your own fires [and work out your own plans of salvation], who surround and gird yourselves with momentary sparks, darts, and firebrands that you set aflame!—walk by the light of your self-made fire and of the sparks that you have kindled [for yourself, if you will]! But this shall you have from My hand: you shall lie down in grief and in torment.
Isaiah 50:11 AMP
In this verse, Jesus addresses a very specific group of people: “all you enemies of your own selves.” Well, that specifically includes pretty much everyone who ever lived, up until they were saved by Christ Himself, so then He qualifies the group. Not just enemies of your own self, but those who have decided to actually save themselves. They stand under the baleful “light” that they’ve created and call it actual Light. So these are people who are their own worst enemy, in no small part because they’ve decided that they are saved. Dangerously deluded, in complete rebellion to Authority, and once upon a time…me.
I reviled authority and was in unrepentant rebellion down to my last cell. But I’d seen that I needed to be forgiven and asked Jesus to save me, so as far as I was concerned, I was saved. Whenever reality called that salvation into question, I just put my head down and worked harder. I had prayed the right prayer so that meant I’d been saved. I worked harder at proving my salvation than at anything I’ve ever done before. I knew how salvation worked, and I’d done everything right, so I KNEW that I was saved. I just needed to light a few fires to fan those barely flickering flames and make them look as bright as everyone else’s.
A bruised reed He will not break, and a smoldering (dimly burning) wick He will not quench…
Matthew 12:20 AMP
God didn’t quench my sad, smoldering wick, but He also didn’t allow “strange fire” to feed it. I didn’t prosper from my determined work to save myself, change myself, manufacture joy in the “good.” No, it was exhausting. A torment. Like Sisyphus, I gave my all to roll that boulder up the hill, only to watch it roll back down again. Over and over and over. But I was fine! I had it under control! I KNEW THAT I WAS SAVED.
I was a woman unbowed and without submission. My pride wasn’t happy when I finally came to Jesus and said, “Please help me! I said I’d never come to You but I’m desperate and a horrible sinner and I can’t bear any of it. I’m so sorry for my whole life! You are the Son of God and I believe in You. You took my sins on the Cross, so please, save me!” No, my pride took a beating that day, but humiliated pride is not the same as submission. Total surrender is more than just admitting you’re wrong and in need of help. But I KNEW, so I saw nothing for a long time.
Strange fire is the mark and fruit of men and women in rebellion to Authority. Adam and Eve KNEW. Lot’s wife KNEW. Korah KNEW. Nadab and Abihu KNEW. Saul KNEW. Simon the Sorcerer KNEW. The Bible is full of men and women who KNEW and were thus known by and for their strange fire. And there but for the grace of God would I be.
Salvation and coming under Authority go together. Always.
Therefore humble yourselves [demote, lower yourselves in your own estimation] under the mighty hand of God, that in due time He may exalt you…
1 Peter 5:6 AMP