What fires you up? As I asked this question to our congregation recently, I paused to allow them to think upon it and someone asked, “Do you mean good or bad?”. For most people, it doesn’t take much to get someone fired up quickly. As I watch the news in the morning, I find myself getting fired up concerning subjects they report on. I will actually find myself talking to the television as if they can hear what I am saying. Such as parents leaving children in a hot car in the summer while they go shopping fires me up. Some of the political antics that takes place fires me up. If that is true about you, then you better be prayed up because the next fifteen months will undoubtedly contain temptations for us to get fired up.
Jesus got fired up two different occasions when he found men selling items in the Temple. He made a “scourge of small cords and drove them all out of the Temple” and “overthrew the tables” (John 2:13-15). He was fired up for the bad things that were taking place, but it was for a good reason. Jesus had the Holy Spirit within Him without measure and He could discern the hearts of men. From the Pharisees who tried to trick Him to the woman with the issue of blood who desired to touch the hem of His garment, Jesus knew the hearts of every person around Him. When Jesus would be fired up, it would be a righteous anger that actually contained love. After Jesus cleansed the temple scripture says that the disciples remembered that it was written , ” The zeal of Thine house has eaten me up.” As they remembered this scripture they knew that Jesus was fired up because His Father’s house was being used for the wrong purpose. It was built to be a house of prayer. So Jesus had the right to be fired up.
There is such a thing as tough love. It is a difficult thing for a parent to exhibit tough love upon their child, but there are times it is necessary. Some of the most memorable lessons learned will be birthed out of tough love when a parent has to say no. But if those moments do not exist, a lawlessness will enter into the life of the child and it will harm their character. We have all seen the ranting and raving child in the toy aisle loudly exclaiming, “I want that! I want that!” until the parent gets embarrassed and angrily places the toy in their hand. Then the child takes it home and never plays with it. There is a selfish nature in every child and adult that desires to rise up and get its way. Hebrews 12:6 states that “whom the Lord loves , He chastens.” Our Father will correct us in a way that may seem He is fired up about what we have done or said, but it is only because He loves us and desires us to live righteous lives before Him and others. His correction is for our benefit.
This devotional continues the theme of last month pertaining to our need of refining, purging, pruning, sifting, shaking, and cleansing. Thus, we turn our thoughts from things that fire us up to the need in our lives of the Refiner’s fire. Last month, we looked at Malachi 3:1-3 as the prophet reveals Christ as the Refiner. John the Baptist confirms Malachi’s words 400 years later and proclaims Jesus will “baptize us with the Holy Ghost and fire” and that fire will “burn up the chaff.” Matthew 3:11,12
Like the spoiled child, let me ask, what happens to us spiritually if the refining fire is not allowed to burn in our lives? Let me illustrate it this way. What happens to a computer if we do not regularly perform the disk clean up and the defragmentation? The operation will slow down to a crawl and it can even lead to a crash. Did you apply that spiritually? Of course, some people just buy a new computer rather than deal with the clean ups.
We do not have the luxury of buying a new spirit. The spirit, soul, and body we are given at birth is what we will be stewards of until we die and all three need cleansing. Do I need to ask what happens to our body if we do not cleanse it with water? Our mind needs a cleansing every day of prayer and the Word of God or it will end up a disgusting, stinking mess. The world is in the condition it is today because of the lack of cleansing. Much of the Church and its members are in the condition it is today because of the lack of cleansing. Each day that we skip our spiritual cleansing causes us to be filthier. For each day we choose not to pray, not to read God’s Word, not to worship and not to associate with godly believers, it is another day that the stench of the world and our flesh will cling to us. It is a choice. Every day.
In Isaiah, Chapter 1, God reveals to the prophet the vile condition of His chosen people and God is saying in Verses 10-15 that He is sick and tired of the vain, heartless, man-made attempts to praise, worship, and pray. Then in
Verse 16 God gives instructions to them to “wash you, and make you clean” or “wash yourselves and make yourselves clean.” At first glance, it may seem that we have the ability to cleanse ourselves from sin, bad habits, unrighteousness, etc., but God is actually saying choose to be cleansed by My Word and choose to do right (Verse 17).
Let me list some New Testament Scriptures that also refer to personal choices:
2 Corinthians 7:1 Cleanse yourselves
2 Corinthians 13:5 Examine yourselves
Romans 6:13 Yield yourselves
1st Peter 4:1 Arm yourselves
1st Peter 5:6 Humble yourselves
1st John 5:21 Keep yourselves from idols
Jude 21 Keep yourselves in the love of God
Jude 20 Building up yourselves
These Scriptures and many more reveal that to be cleansed, refined, purged, and pruned we must choose to submit to the Water of the Word and the Refiner’s Fire. As we do, it will purify us that we would be holy vessels to be used for His glory. This is what God says to the people that needed cleansing in the day of Isaiah: “Come now, let us reason together, saith the Lord, though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be white as snow. Though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool” (Isaiah 1:18). “If we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship one with another and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.” (1st John 1:17) There is an initial cleansing of sin that takes place at the point that we accept Jesus as Saviour and Lord, but we must continue to walk in the light as He is in the light. We choose to continue to submit ourselves to the fire that cleanses us daily. That fire will not only cleanse us, but will provide power in our everyday lives. Jesus said Holy Spirit will be our power in Acts 1:8. The fire will increase our passion for Christ and that passion will lead unbelieving souls to come to Him.
Paul instructed Timothy to stir up the gift within him. “I would remind you to stir up, rekindle the embers of, fan the flame of and keep burning, the gift of God, the inner fire that is in you” (2nd Timothy 1:6). Let us heed to those words and allow the fire of God to lead us to purity, power, and passion.
Paul also wrote these words to the Church at Rome, (Romans 12:11) “Never lack in zeal, be fervent in spirit, be aglow and burning in the spirit, serving the Lord.”
Finally, in Revelation 3:14-22, John records the words of Jesus to the church at Laodicea. Jesus says to the church, “I know your works that you are neither cold or hot. I would rather you be either cold or hot. Because you are lukewarm and not cold or hot, I will spew you out of My mouth.” Why would Jesus be fired up about lukewarmness? Why would He actually say He would rather we would be cold? Because the Holy Spirit can convict a cold heart easier than the lukewarm heart that is filled with apathy and complacency. It is very difficult to deal with someone who constantly changes their mind. I call them chameleon’s. They blend in with the people and the atmosphere that they are in. If they are with those who compromise truth, then they compromise truth. If they are with true believers then they appear to be true believers. When in church they appear to be serving the Lord. When they are in the world, they serve their own flesh. That is lukewarmness. The answer Jesus gives is found in verse 18. Jesus says, “I counsel you to buy gold of Me tried in the fire that you may be rich.” The Amplified Translation says, “I counsel you to purchase from Me gold refined and tested by fire, that you may be truly wealthy.” The Laodicean church thought they were rich and had everything they needed , but spiritually they were blind , poor and lukewarm. Their works were based on self exaltation. So what were they to do? Buy gold of Christ that was tried in the fire. How can we buy anything from Jesus? Jesus already paid the price for all that we need. That word buy actually means surrender. We surrender our lives to the One Who paid the price, then He is the Refiners Fire that purges us of our own selfish nature and we become spiritually rich. The refining process that we experience causes us to be valuable in the Kingdom. That is how the spiritually cold are made spiritually fervent. It is only through genuine surrender to the Refiner and allowing the fire , the Holy Spirit, to do His purifying work.
If your zeal for Christ is at a low level or even seemingly gone, ask for Holy Spirit to manifest the fire of passion into your spirit. Surrender completely your life to Him and burn once again. It is time to fan the flame and burn once again for Christ. Let’s get fired up for the cause of Christ. Pastor Wes