Don’t put out THAT fire !
Long before I was a pastor I remember bringing out a couple of people to church and those folks ended up receiving Christ before they left that day. A young man came up to me and said it was so good to see someone “on fire for the Lord”. I’d never heard that expression before but it quickly made sense. He went on to lament that it’s so easy for us as older Christians to get used to “just going to church” and not think much about the mission we have of reaching people for Christ. And an important mission it is for the gospel message is THE one message that can truly help people no matter what is ailing them ! I have spoken with and led many terminally ill people to Christ and the prospect of knowing that despite all that they are facing now will soon be corrected is a tremendous comfort ! What a healing message to deliver in this mission we ALL have. I’ve had the privilege of ministering to people mired in great guilt and the gospel message believed takes the burden rightly off of them and places it where God wants it, at the foot of that old rugged cross. To see people become unburdened through the gospel has been a joy.
Yet it’s so easy to lose that “fire in the belly”. We let our routines douse it, or we reach out only to be rejected so why try again? We get settled into what we have and hear in our churches and before we know it the impact of the Holy Spirit through His Word is somehow or someway deflected by us. Paul put his finger on perhaps one of the most commonly committed sins of the believer in 1 Thess.5:19 when he wrote, “Quench not the Spirit” ! It’s even more indicting in the original where it states “STOP quenching the Spirit”. In short, they had been doing it and we are just as capable and culpable as those first century Christians !!
Paul prayed a prayer for his brethren in Ephesus. He asked, “That He would grant you according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might by His Spirit in the INNER man. . .and to know the love of Christ which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the FULNESS of God.” (Eph.3:16-19). Take a moment to look at his complete prayer. He was asking that they let God work in them so that they could really experience GOD, deep down in their hearts. It was not a call to a shallow, complacent Christianity but quite the contrary– what a great petition ! He wanted his friends to be “on fire for the Lord” !! That only happens when we DON’T extinguish what God’s trying to do in our heart !
So you hear a challenge at church, you’re convicted by a sermon, maybe God even uses a “blog” or another person to try to bring you to greater spiritual heights. What will you do? Put out the flame or stoke the fire?? This is where the fire can start !! Then maybe we’d see more people come to Christ again in our churches !!!!! STOP quenching HIM if you have been, START inviting Him in to use you for His great great work & enjoy the ride !!
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