9 May 2013 by Adeline Lum CM-
Do you feel that your life lacks that ‘oomph’ in Christ? When people asked you–How’s your walk with God?– you gazed into the past, recounting how you were on fire for God once upon a time.
Like Alicia Keys who sang in her song, This Girl is On Fire, what do you understand by that? It means a spirit that's alive, ongoing, passionate, burning and all-consuming.
But instead of being alive in God, we act like a long-bearded centurion, recalling the glorious days for the Lord while stroking our imaginary beard in contentment. But can we explain our lack of vigor for God due to our increasing age? Moses led the Israelites out into the desert when he was 80 years old and Caleb entered the Promised Land at 85 years old.
So, what reasons do we have?
Do you remember the time when you accepted Christ, how everything was new and exciting? It felt like wearing a pair of goggles where everything became lighter, brighter, more colorful, more forgiving, hopeful and happier. But those days are long gone. What’s left now is a fading light of an amber soot, weakly illuminating our feet.
How do we feed the fire of the Holy Spirit again?
On 9 May 2013, Rev Johan Van Der Westhuysen from South Africa answered this important question at the FGB Damansara Utama chapter in Uptown. His topic was ‘Feed the Flame!’
Even Jesus desired for the fire of the Holy Spirit to come! He said, “I have come to bring fire on the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled! (Luke 12:49).” John also prophesied that Jesus would baptized his future disciples (i.e. us) with the Holy Spirit (Mark 1:8), a promise to be fulfilled on and from the day of Pentecost onwards (Acts 2:1-4).
Centring on Acts 28:-10, Rev Johan explained how we could see the Holy Spirit’s power in these verses.
“I want to encourage you today not to give up but feed the blazing fire in you!” exclaimed Rev Johan.
Feed the Original Fire
When Paul came ashore on Malta Island, the islanders invited Paul to warm himself by the fire. He did not start a new fire by himself, but he took a pile of brush woods to add into the fire already started (Acts 28:1-3), called the original fire.
We must feed our original fire as well, the same Holy Spirit of the Pentecost who empowers the preacher, breaks the heart of the sinner, and echoes the Word of God.
“I don’t want a new fire. Today, we don’t use fire but heaters for artificial heat because it’s more convenient, less troublesome, not messy, and less dangerous,” said Rev Johan.
“Like the church today, we want the heat but we don’t want the raw open fire of the Holy Spirit (which may be less convenient, more troublesome, messier and more risky). We don’t want to follow His Way,” he added.
Because of that, we make our new artificial fires without the Holy Spirit such as upholding social justice for namesake, weighing disproportionately on the prosperity gospel, following the personality of the church instead of Christ, and also boosting one’s self image by joining humanitarian efforts.
In Lev 10:1-2, Nadab and Abihu who were Aaron’s sons died in the flames for unauthorized fire by the Lord. These new fires, albeit they reflected a 'godly' action meant nothing in the Kingdom of God because they were not God-led.
“The church is not a ‘bless me’ club but a ‘we bless’ club. It is not really a welfare organization although we pray and care for the poor and sick. It is not really a hospital to receive those who are sick although we pray for their spiritual healing,” said Rev Johan. “Nor it is a goose bump inflator, where we are there to ‘feel’ spiritual.”
No. But more than that, the church is built to resist the gates of hell; to show the principalities, powers and heavenly places of God’s presence! The church is a declaration of anti-devil, anti-religious and anti-lukewarm. It’s a place where the Good News is shared, bondages are broken, and people get saved, healed and empowered.
So, how do we feed the fire of Holy Spirit?
Get rid of all your fire quenchers.
‘Wet woods’ include emotionless worshiping, over-emphasis on daily activities and events that we forgot about God, low commitment level to grow in faith, not letting go of sin, and spending time with people who had artificial fires for too long.
“I hear a story where a banner is placed in church saying, ‘We Preach Christ Redeemed.’ But every year, the word at the end of the banner would be taken out, leaving 'We Preach Christ', 'We Preach' the following year and finally 'We' in the last year,” chuckled Rev Johan. “It goes back to 'We', Me, and everything about us.”
Hence, we must always fix our eyes on Christ, and not ourselves.
Wet wood on the other hand, slows down your fire.
“Sometimes, we get so busy with church-related activities that we forgot about God. We’re busy with the things of God but not the God of things,” said Rev Johan.
Gather Your Dry Sticks
What are your dry sticks? Akin to Paul gathering dry sticks for the fire, we gather our ‘dry sticks’ to build our fire as well. As cliché as it sounds, these dry sticks are none other than sincere worship from the heart, going to church for fellowship, and mostly, studying the Word as a daily spiritual food.
Hence, by building the fire, it can provide us light which bring us to the next point.
Feed the Flame to Provide Light
By feeding the flame, we can provide light to the unsaved souls till the ends of the earth, the final instruction of Jesus to His disciples, which are us!
“We need to win souls under the guidance of the Holy Spirit!” said Rev Johan.
And like the heat of fire, some would be saved in compassion while some would be saved in fear by pulling them out of the fire.
Another reason of feeding the flame is to see and deal with any evil we face in life. While Paul was gathering wood, Paul saw that a viper fastened itself on his hands and he quickly shook it off into the fire (Acts 28:3-5). Hence, like how Paul dealt with the ‘snake’ with fire, we deal with evil with the fire of the Holy Spirit in us.
The Holy Spirit also give us light on the Word we read.
Feed the Flame for a Fiery Faith
Lastly, we feed the flame to have a fiery faith!
By feeding ourselves with the Word, we are convinced in His Word that we are redeemed, reconciled, sanctified, justified, unified and blessed. Are you truly convinced that God completely forgive you and love you for who you are? Once you fully accept that, not only would you know the true freedom in Christ but you would also receive a strength that never runs dry.
“We are strong in the Lord! We are rich in the Lord! We are royalty! By this fiery faith, you would know that Jesus is your saviour, the Alpha and the Omega, the Truth, the Way, the Life, the Resurrected, the Lion, the Door, the Living Water, and the Bread of Life,” said Rev Johan.
24 Now all glory to God, who is able to keep you from falling away and will bring you with great joy into his glorious presence without a single fault. 25 All glory to him who alone is God, our Savior through Jesus Christ our Lord. All glory, majesty, power, and authority are his before all time, and in the present, and beyond all time! Amen.
So, what are you waiting for? Light up your original fire today!
Dear Viewers in Christ, if you find this article edifying to you, please share with your friends or loved ones by using the social media plugs (Share, Email to this article). The Lord will surely bless you as you bless others. May the Lord’s peace and love be with you. Amen.
Reference for pictures: