Once upon a time, there were a bunch of monkeys living in a forest. When men came to the forest, the monkeys were intrigued by the fires the men built. As the men sat around their campfire, the monkeys would longingly watch the beautiful, sparkling fire. When the men went to bed, the monkeys would sneak down from the trees and sit around the fire to warm up in its glowing. The monkeys enjoyed the fire, but they did not know how to put logs on the fire to keep it going. Even though there was plenty of firewood available, the monkeys would allow the fire to slowly die out. How many Christians enjoy the fire of God, but they fail to do what it takes to keep that fire going?
We must preserve, maintain, tend and protect the hot, intense, burning, all consuming power of God. We can only keep the fire by staying in God’s presence.
I thank God for my parents, Robert and Susan King. They are the reason I have kept the fire of God. Many teenagers have a period of rebellion in their lives when they stray from their godly upbringing. I was blessed by not having to experience the pain of backsliding. Ever since I was a child, I have loved and served God with everything within me. I attribute this to my mother’s dedication to a practice we called “Morning Praise and Worship.” Every morning, my mother would wake me and my brothers and sisters up and we would spend time worshiping God, praying, and listening to powerful sermons on cassette tape. These daily times of worship kept the fire burning bright inside of me.
In the midst of busyness, tiredness, self-pity, discouragement, worry, or distractions; we must maintain our fervor for the things of God. This is accomplished by spending time praying, reading the Bible, praising God and associating with people who are on fire for God. Here are four logs we can throw on the fire to keep it burning bright.
Prayer keeps the fire bright
Prayer always precedes fire! Before the fire fell on the disciples on Pentecost, they had spent many days in prayer. “They all joined together constantly in prayer…” (Acts 1:14). Every great revival began when a core group of believers began to pray. Prayer always sparks divine intervention in human affairs.
No prayer equals no fire. Prayer is the link which allows us to commune with God’s Spirit. To be on fire is to be in prayer continually. We are exhorted to be “faithful in prayer” (Romans 12:12). If you want to catch on fire for God, first you must pray. If you want to stay on fire for God, you must continue to pray.
When one stops praying, it is like putting a stop to breathing. Your physical man must breathe in order to stay alive. In the same way, your spiritual man must pray in order to survive. Praying should be an automatic part of life. Prayer should come as easily as breathing. Without contact with God, the spirit man begins to die. Jesus instructed the disciples to “always pray and not give up” (Luke 18:1). Paul also instructs us from across the centuries to “pray continually” (1 Thessalonians 5:17). How long would you survive if you decided to take a couple of days or even a couple of minutes off from breathing?
Someone once asked the powerful minister Smith Wigglesworth how much time he prayed each day. Mr. Wigglesworth regularly saw unbelievable miracles occur in his services and he raised several people from the dead. This man wanted to know the secret to Wigglesworth’s success. He probably wanted to discover the magic number of hours Wigglesworth spent in prayer each day. Wigglesworth surprised the man by saying, “I never pray for more then fifteen minutes at a time. . . but I never go more then fifteen minutes without praying.” In other words, Wigglesworth had a continual relationship with God.
It has been pointed out that, “It is better to pray a little bit a lot, than it is to pray a lot a little bit.” I believe the essence of being on fire involves being aware of God all the time and developing the habit of consulting Him about the little details of our lives.
Jesus is looking for followers who pray. In the Garden of Gethsemane Jesus was deeply distressed about His upcoming crucifixion. He asked His disciples to pray, and instead they fell asleep. “Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. “Simon,” he said to Peter, “are you asleep? Could you not keep watch for one hour? Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak” (Mark 14:37-38).
Without prayer you will never stay on fire for God. Prayer is important at every stage of spiritual fire. Always remember the door to your prayer closet is also the door into the throne room of God. Prayer is the key to keeping the fire.
Reading the Word keeps the fire bright
“Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path” (Psalm 119:105). When the psalmist wrote this verse there were no electric flashlights. The light he was referring to was a blazing, fiery torch and the lamp was a clay dish filled with oil which gave off light as the wick burned. God’s Word is the fire that leads and guides us on the path of righteousness.
“…His word is in my heart like a fire, a fire shut up in my bones. I am weary of holding it in; indeed, I cannot” (Jeremiah 20:9). Imagine a steam engine. An engineer builds a fire under a large boiler full of water. As the water heats, it begins to boil. As it boils it begins to build up huge amounts of pressure. If the steam is not released, the fire will cause the boiler to explode.
“’Is not my word like fire,’ declares the LORD” (Jeremiah 23:29). Jeremiah was so full of God’s Word, he felt like a pressure cooker. He absolutely could not stay quiet any longer. The Word was in his heart like a fire. Hearing the Word builds up faith inside. “Faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ” (Romans 10:17).
God’s Word will build up inside of a Christian, until he is burning hot! This heat causes the Word of God to literally explode out of an on-fire Christian. When a person has enough of God’s Word built up inside, the Word will begin to be spoken. “…For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks” (Matthew 12:34).
The Lord told Joshua, “Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful” (Joshua 1:8). Joshua was successful in everything that he did because he meditated on the Word day and night. He was a mighty man of valor who relied on God’s Word to lead a million people across the Jordan River in order to take the land of Canaan. Joshua declared, “…as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD” (Joshua 24:15). Joshua had the faith to declare this because he was full of God’s Word. He knew the value of keeping the fire.
Praising God keeps the fire bright
Two men were thrown into prison even though they had done nothing wrong. They were cruelly whipped until their backs bled. Their feet were forced into stocks. These discouraging events were enough to damper anyone’s fire and leave them disillusioned and depressed.
Despite their troubles, the two men would not allow their fire to be puffed out so easily by the devil. Instead of despairing, they began to praise God. Even though they were chained up, surrounded by guards, and in a situation that looked hopeless, they rejoiced in God’s goodness. “About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them” (Acts 16:25). The prisoners were not the only ones who heard, God was also listening to them sing praises and when God heard their songs, He began to tap His foot along with the beat. When God began to tap His foot, it caused an earthquake. The earthquake shook the chains right off of Paul and Silas. “Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken. At once all the prison doors flew open, and everybody’s chains came loose” (Acts 16:26).
The Bible tells us that the jailer and his entire family were saved that night. If Paul and Silas had not praised God, the jailer would not have been saved. When they began to praise God, it stirred the fire within them. In the midst of terrible circumstances, praising and worshiping God will keep the fire burning.
Praise prepares our hearts for fire. It will also rekindle a fire that has started to cool off. When we tell of the great and mighty things which God has done, it changes our attitude. We stop thinking about ourselves and we begin thinking of God’s greatness. Praise enables us to keep the fire of God burning bright.
Being around people who are red-hot keeps the fire bright
Have you ever been around someone who throws water on your wood? The people you associate with will determine the level of your passion for God. Lukewarm people are often critical of radical followers of Christ. They attempt to bring people down to their level of indifference and mediocrity. As Billy Joe Daugherty says, “Lukewarmers are not overcomers.” If you want to be an overcomer, stay away from those who are lukewarm. The fire of God has no fellowship with icicles.
The best way to stay on fire for God is be around people who are zealous for God. Fire is contagious. It is like an infectious disease that people can catch just by being near someone who enthusiastically serves God.
If you hang out with people who are always talking about reaching out to the lost and worshiping God, you will be motivated to act like they do. On the other hand, if you keep company with people who are cussing and watching bad movies, you will begin to imitate them. Your life will become a reflection of the people you spend time with. Do you want to be around people who light your fire or who wet your wood? You must make a choice.
Paul commanded the believers in Philippi, “Join with others in following my example, brothers, and take note of those who live according to the pattern we gave you” (Philippians 3:17). A joining together of Christians will produce a synergy which will increase the temperature of the entire group. “Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another…” (Hebrews 10:25). A group of believers joined together will accomplish great things for God.
Being in the presence of Jesus will definitely keep the fire bright. After his resurrection, Jesus walked with two men on the road to Emmaus and explained the scriptures to them. Afterwards, they asked each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?” (Luke 24:32).
You will become like those you are around. Stay near people who have fervency, energy, intensity, and enthusiasm for God and you will be on fire as well. Praying, reading the Bible, praising God, and mingling with fired up Christians are all essential ingredients for remaining in God’s presence.