Ring of Fire is one of Johnny Cash's most iconic songs. It was released in 1963 and is ranked on CMT as the #4 country song of all time. Rolling Stone rates it as the #27 song of all time in all genres.
It is hard to separate the song from the person of Johnny Cash, the man in black. Johnny was the 2nd of 7 children born in Kingsland Arkansas in 1932. The tragic death of his older brother while he was young always left him with the feeling that the wrong brother died. He should have died.
As Johnny's career rose, his life started to spiral out of control. His addition to drugs and alcohol began to grow. He had an affair with June Carter. He finally hit rock bottom and collapsed on stage. He detoxed himself at his lake house and reestablished a relationship with Jesus.
The story of Johnny Cash reminds us of the gospel at its core.
1) Jesus calls not the righteous, but sinners.
Matthew 9:12-13 reminds us that Jesus is calling to those who need help, not to those who have it all together. One of the first steps to having a relationship with God is to admit that you are in need of help. You need God to rescue you. You take ownership for your failings.
One of the most important lines in the parable of the prodigal son is "when he came to his senses." He stopped running and returned home. The father in the story welcomes him not as a servant but as a son.
Jesus is calling us and we need to come to our senses as well.
2) You don't have to be perfect to come to Christ.
Johnny didn't live a perfect life. We are all sinners in need of God's mercy and grace. We come to him as we are, not as we should be.
Where are you with Jesus right now? If you have blown it, come to him as you are. If you are on autopilot and lukewarm, know that in Revelation 3 that Jesus will spit you out of his mouth. While we will not always life a life with Jesus on a high or mountain top, at the same time we can be content with being lukewarm. If that is you, rededicate and surrender to Christ today.
3) Are there any issues from your past you are trying to bury?
Johnny spent much of his life living with the regret of his brothers death and with living with a hard, unloving father.
When it is quiet, are there any things you have unresolved in your life? Relationship with a parent? A Child? Something you said and can't forgive yourself for? An action you took? An ex-spouse?
Bring those things to Jesus and allow him to bring you peace.
God bless you! If we can be of help to you at the church in your pursuit of Jesus, don't hesitate to reach out to us at email@example.com.