“I have come to bring fire on the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled!” Luke 12:49
Have you ever longed for more – hungered for a touch from the Holy Spirit? Have you felt that God has something special for you beyond your normal experience? When you read about Peter healing the crippled beggar (cf. Acts 3:1-10) or remember how Paul raised Eutychus from the dead (cf. Acts 20:7-12), have you ever wished that such divine workings were more common today? And as you’ve heard about men like Finney, Billy Graham, Wesley, Moody, and others, have you had an inner desire for God to touch your lips, strengthen your heart, and add an extra something to your life?
If you answered yes to any or all of the above questions then you’re in good company. Spurgeon said, “We need red-hot, white-hot men, who glow with intense heat; whom you cannot approach without feeling that your heart is growing warmer; who burn their way in all positions straight onto the desired work; men like thunderbolts flung from Jehovah’s hand, crashing through every opposing thing, till they have reached the target aimed at; men impelled by Omnipotence.”
But even more important than Spurgeon’s commendation is the will of God. It’s His will for you to have that extra something in your life. He tells you directly and succinctly that He wants to “baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire” Matthew 3:11. He wants to give you the very things you long for. He wants you to have a heart that’s on fire for Him. He wants you to be ablaze with His presence and on fire for His purpose. He wants you to be spiritually combustible. He wants your innermost nature refined by the fire and your outer nature made radiant by the fire. And He desires nothing less than your life aflame with His Shekinah glory. For the flaming hearted Saviour wants followers with flaming hearts. As He said, “I have come to bring fire on the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled!” Luke 12:49.
So how do you appropriate the fire? If you’re a Christian, it happens when you “fan into flame the gift of God” (2 Timothy 1:6) which is already in you. In other words you need to tend the divine endowment. This isn’t rocket science. If you want your life to take off, you’ve got to light it up. You’ve got to kindle the flame. You must recognize that God supplies the fire but you’ve got to keep it burning. And you must realize that as with all fires, if it’s deprived of anything it will flicker and could eventually die out. General Booth put it in these words, “The tendency of fire is to go out; watch the fire on the altar of your heart.”
There is no other way. If you want to be on fire for the Lord then you’ll need to become an expert at using spiritual bellows. This takes effort and unreserved cooperation with the Holy Spirit. Yet it isn’t something that’s earned, worked up, scheduled, or simulated. Only God can meet your need. You cannot light the fire and you cannot produce it. You can only, by His grace, “fan it into flame.” The fire is stoked when, in total integrity, you confess your sin, humble yourself before God, seek His face, and ask Him to reveal the things in your heart and life that prevent His infilling and empowering. For the fire only descends on prepared, faithful, and hungry hearts.
“Set us afire, Lord, stir us, we pray!
While the world perishes, we go our way!
Purposeless, passionless day after day!
Set us afire, Lord, stir us, we pray!”
Bishop Ralph Spaulding Cushman