Are we on fire for God, and are we keeping the fire burning? I jotted down these notes listening to our pastor sharing this morning.
In 1 Tim 1:6 Paul tells Timothy to ‘fan into flame the gift of God’. Paul was very fond of Timothy – this wasn’t a rebuke. He was writing to him to stir up the gift. He wanted him to be reminded again of the gift. The word for ‘stir’ is also ‘rekindle’. Keep rekindling that flame. The onus here is put on Timothy to exercise himself in order to get that flame burning brighter.
It is tempting to think sometimes that God might happen to anoint us, and equip us, and if he does, that’s great, but otherwise we’ll just carry on going, and perhaps remember those days when we got baptised in the Spirit. But we’re not called to look back, but to look forward. We should never take the moving of the Spirit for granted.
What gifts have you received from God? Are you still moving in them? Wigglesworth said that if the Spirit is not moving in a meeting then he moves the Spirit. If you have a prayer ministry, and someone comes to you for prayer, you don’t say: “Sorry, I’m just not getting anything at the moment.” Instead, you stir yourself up, you wait on God, to bring something for that person. Ephesians commands us to be filled with the Spirit. If it was only something that God could sovereignly decide, whether we were filled or not, then he would not have put it here as a command.
Are we all filled with the Spirit before we come to church on a Sunday morning? We can’t come half asleep to church. Am I pulling my weight in the Spirit of God? It’s all very well thinking that you have no role in the meeting, and so you don’t need to wait on God. That affects the intensity of the fire, and the beauty of the meeting.
How do we stir up the fire? By praise, by worship, by the Word of God, by speaking in tongues and by soaking in Him. Take speaking in tongues. Some Christians have a ‘babble mode’ or a murmur mode, a kind of ‘automatic speaking’, for example in prayer meetings. Exercise and focus are the keys to stirring up the fire. Your tongue will go where your spirit leads. What is it you want to do? Do you want to worship? Then worship with the tongue. Are you making declarations and interceeding? Then do that with the tongue. Try it – it’s a different kind of tongue each time.
In your quiet time, if you are getting bored, the chances are that God is bored as well. Perhaps he’s not tipping up because he is bored. If you’re just sitting down quietly and nothing’s happening, why not stand up, walk around, make some declarations! Stirring up the fire is more like riding a bike than driving a car. In a car, you don’t really notice the different details of the journey. On a bike, if the wind’s against you, you have to respond. If you’re going up a hill, you notice! You have to keep on pedalling on a bike, and similarly in the Spirit you have to keep on exercising.
It’s also important to avoid things that put out the fire. Wilful sin is an example, and we can 1 John 1:9 this as soon as we are convicted. We can also neglect the means of grace. We probably can all think of Christians who were on fire who have let the fire burn very low. Fear can be another hindrance. Look at the persecution that the NT church experienced, and yet it did not deter them from finishing the race. They still changed the world. Don’t let fear prevent you from sharing your gift: don’t let it root you in your seat on a Sunday morning. So you might share a prophecy and get it wrong. Then we will lovingly and privately correct you. What will God think of you if you don’t share the gift that he has given?
In Mark 4:21 Jesus speaks of hiding a light under a basket or a bed. Under a basket speaks of hiding your gift under commerce, or wealth-creation. Under a bed speaks of laziness. Don’t allow business, or sheer apathy and selfishness, to stop you from stirring up the gift.
Every meeting, every one of us should be filled with the Spirit of God, whether we’re expected to be bringing something to the meeting or not.
The Olympic flame this year was formed by lots of seeds being linked together, and the flame spread from each seed, then the whole edifice rose up and become a blazing fire. The Olympic cauldron is a good picture of every time the church meets. But some average churches, some of those seeds are not burning, or are quite dim. You have a couple blazing away, but some not doing much. Think what a difference it would make every meeting if we had fire joining to fire, blaze to blaze.
Don’t come to the meeting without being in the Spirit. As a hint, just spend fifteen minutes speaking in tongues. After the first five minutes you will find you can keep on going.
Our meeting ended with some powerful prophecies, including one that said that the ‘greatest show on earth’ will be easily surpassed by the wedding feast of the Lamb. And don’t you think that the bridegroom will have gifts for his bride on that day?
Another prophecy said that one of the women in the Olympics had won three silvers in that event before she finally got a gold this year; and that another had only just started rowing three years before, and got a gold. Whether you’ve been going a long time, or whether you’ve just started, there is a gold for you in Him.
In Hebrews we are urged to lay aside every weight that easily entangles.
There was another prophecy about people with broken hearts. Too many people have been told that they need to ‘man up’, and just get on with life. But God is interested in the details of your broken heart. He wants to sit and listen to the details, and spend time sewing your heart back together – it will be more beautiful than before it was broken.