Whatever is in our past, whatever we are dealing with needs to be taken to God, given to Him, and then trust He will do what needs to be done. That’s not always easy. Releasing a burden or an issue from our past is hard. I’ve had a tendency to take something to God, lay it on His altar, then run back to pick it back up. Argh!
At times I didn’t believe I had done enough for God’s forgiveness, or I still needed to worry about something, or maybe I didn’t ask the right way, or I just couldn’t let something go from my past. I needed help in believing, remembering, and trusting. I’m a visual person, so I needed a visual.
In the Old Testament, the Israelites offered sacrifices for their sins. The sacrifice gave them the visual of flames consuming the sin that stood in the way of a relationship with a righteous and holy God. The smell, the smoke rising to Heaven, and the knowledge of that release, although probably painful to watch, had to be freeing.
In the same way, if I still have something continuing to bother or trouble me, something I just can’t seem to release, I’ll write it down and take it to God in prayer. Then, in a safe place, I’ll burn the paper as a sacrifice. Watching the paper curl and blacken, the smoke rise to heaven, gives me a visual to remember I’ve taken and left those sins and concerns with God.
As the paper is consumed, I know I have placed it in God’s loving care and released it to Him. Then when the burden tries to come back, or the devil tries to remind me of something, I can visually remember my time with God. The resulting freedom is wonderful.
May I make a suggestion? If there are things you have had trouble releasing — things you have done or things others have done to you – if you would be willing, write those things down. Not to relive the pain, but to write them to God. Take it to God, write it out, write all that has happened, everything that is bothering you, everything you can’t forgive, and everything that continues to torment, and take them to God.
Read aloud, cry, wail, and tell Him exactly how you feel about what happened, how you feel about everything. As you talk to God, ask Him to help you forgive, and lay it on His altar.
Then, if you have a safe place, burn those pages. Burn them. Watch the fire consume everything written, smell and watch the smoke as it rises to Heaven. As the edges of the papers curl, the words disintegrate; you will have a visual of your freedom.
Now when the enemy taunts you with past mistakes, or the reminder of a past sin, or past burden returns, you’ll be able to remember those items have been given to God where everything falls under His justice, righteousness, and grace.
Burn it and allow God’s grace, mercy, healing and restoration fire through to help you walk in His freedom.
“Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy-laden and overburdened, and I will cause you to rest. [I will ease and relieve and refresh your souls.] Take My yoke upon you and learn of Me, for I am gentle (meek) and humble (lowly) in heart, and you will find rest (relief and ease and refreshment and recreation and blessed quiet) for your souls” (Matthew 11:28-29, AMPC).
“I have swept away your sins like a cloud. I have scattered your offenses like the morning mist. Oh, return to me, for I have paid the price to set you free” (Isaiah 44:22, NLT).
From One Lit Step: Devotions for your journey by Lisa Buffaloe
I love this practice and have done it myself. I also helped a friend do it too.
It’s a very moving practice.
I’m so glad you suggested this to me while back.
Love you Lisa!
Cyn, we are so blessed to have such a wonderful God who will allow us to come to Him with our every need. The visual of the burning helped me so much. I’m grateful it helped you and your friend.
Love you too, sweet friend! Thank you for the many ways you have encouraged and blessed me and my writing. Thank you, sweet sister!
Amen! Thank you, I needed this. You are always on time my friend. Love you!! ((hugs))
Tess, how blessed we are to have a God who makes all things new. He takes our sorrows and pain, and heals our broken hearts and mends our wounds. Love you too!!! XOXO ((((hugs))))
I love this article, Lisa! In my teachings, that I’ve been doing since 1999… for fear that folks may start a fire in the wrong place, I encourage them to surrender the letter to God By way of speaking to Him of this surrender, then ripping the letter up and discarding it in multiple recepticals is need be.
Wonderful, Barbara! I’m so grateful for our loving, forgiving, freeing God! God bless you, sweet sister!