“Not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord!”
I often wonder what Paul meant when he talked about being ‘fervent in spirit’. The Greek word for ‘fervent’ is the word ‘zeo’ which means to boil with heat. That means we have the opportunity to set the climate around us (a good form of climate change!!!). I do think it has some reference to being on fire for God especially seeing that it is contrasted with ‘lagging in diligence’ which would amount to laziness and our lives having little or no impact. The famous preacher, John Wesley said, “Get on fire for God and men will come and see you burn!” I’m sure that everybody remembers the very pointed quote that the Apostle John made under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit in Revelation 3:15-16. He said, “(15) I know all the things you do, that you are neither hot nor cold. I wish that you were one or the other. (16) hot nor cold, I will spit you out of My mouth!” None of us wants to be distasteful to the Lord. None of us wants to make Him sick. So, what do we do to keep the flame of Holy Spirit fire burning in our spirit? Here is a thought or two that might contribute to keeping revival fires flowing in and through us. Some are obvious; others not so obvious.
1. Feed The Flames With The Word Of God – Remember that Jesus said, “Man shall not live by bread alone but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.” We’re not talking about having ‘sleepy’ devotions where we fall asleep trying to read the Word. We’re talking about hungrily searching the scriptures. Having an experience like the disciples on the road to Emmaus whose hearts became ablaze when Jesus explained the scriptures to them. Wait on the lord and let Him bring revelation to us as we read and fire will explode in our spirit as the truth ignites us.
2. Stoke The Furnace With Prayer – It is well know that you need three important elements in order to have a blazing fire. Fuel, oxygen and heat. Prayer is the oxygen you use to stoke the flames by spending time in the presence of God and the presence of God is the air that our souls need to be on fire.
3. Worship The Lord With Extravagance – One of the things that keeps a fire small is containment. You cannot have a big fire in a small metal box. We need to break out into a freedom of worship that goes beyond our comfort zone. Offering up sacrifices of praise with our lips in greater dimensions we need to move past our containments of self-consciousness and self-inhibitions. Freedom and extravagance in worship fuel the fire inside.
4. Do A Spring Cleaning Of The Heart – The Bible records for us that in the last days the love of many will grow cold. This happens many times with areas of unforgiveness, bitterness, pride, etc. taking hold and growing in our hearts. We need to take some time for spring cleaning and let go of the roots of any of those things that have sprung up that would attempt to put out our fire. Nothing puts out the flame of God’s love faster than bitterness and unforgiveness.
5. Start Making Your Fire Useful – You can stoke the fire in a steam engine but unless you release it and get it moving the train isn’t going anywhere. Spiritual passion and fire are ignited into action when they are being used to serve others. I think this is part of Paul’s intent when he adds in the text above the phrase “serving the Lord” right are “fervent in spirit”. We must stretch our faith using our gifts and talents, becoming instruments of the Holy Spirit. When we begin to see what God accomplishes through us in the lives of other people, it stokes our fire.
6. Let the Holy Spirit Control and Direct Your Fire – The Apostle Paul says in 1 Thessalonians 5:19, “Do not stifle the Holy Spirit”. If we wrongly use or direct the fire we could burn someone. Let’s determine to stoke, feed and fuel the fire of the Holy Spirit, being under His control, and see what He does!