What kind of flame are you?
There are some Christians who are like cheap tea lights. They drop into worship when it’s convenient for them and might drop a few bucks in the offering plate if they’re feeling generous. It’s the only time they are exposed to scripture, since they don’t read the Bible themselves or attend studies during the week. Their light spits and sputters, warms up few outside their tribal circle, and often flickers out when a breeze of adversity blows in.
Others are like raging bonfires. They flame up in worship by whooping and hollering and tend to look down on Christians who attend less-fervid churches. Their fire is intense, but it tends to be out-of-control, not tended in love but in spiritual pride and theatrics.
I recently preached from Leviticus 6. In this Old Testament book, God commands the Hebrew priests to keep an altar burning. This was a sacred bbq — a consecrated cookout, if you will. On this altar, the priests were to offer a twice-daily sacrifice consisting of a pair of year-old lambs without imperfections. Three times in this chapter, God instructs the priests to keep the fire burning. Day in and day out, rain or shine, the altar fire was to be carefully managed.
Was this an ancient command from God for the Jews only, a quaint regulation that has no relevance for us today? No. God’s desire for all His people is to be on fire for Him. But unlike the old days with a butchered lamb on the grill, we are now the burnt offering as Paul wrote in Romans 12:1: “Offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God.”
God doesn’t require a big fire and doesn’t want an occasional fire: He simply wants a well-tended one. Are you feeding it with the fire of His Word? building it with prayer and worship? stirring the flames with sacrificial giving and serving?
Methodist founder John Wesley reportedly said, “If you catch on fire for God, people will come to see you burn.” There is something winsome about Christ-followers who keep their spiritual fires stoked. Our dark world needs them; in fact, I think they are looking for them, whether they know it or not.