On Fire...for the Lord! WDGS?

What does God say about being "on fire"...for Him?                

When we talk about being ‘on fire’ for the Lord, what comes to mind?  The first thing that comes to mind may be the excitement that comes on us when we think about the Lord.  Nope, that’s not it.  Or perhaps we might think about an emotional high, but, no; we know that probably isn’t it.  Beyond that, we think it must be passion for the Lord, but, well, that doesn’t quite get it either.  Why?  Well, to be frank, we have just described a dedicated ‘soccer Mom’.  She picks up the kids, drives to the field, and sits down in the stands as the team prepares for the contest.  At first, she sees her kids in their sharp little uniforms and the excitement wells up in her; she is proud of her kids and somewhat apprehensive about the match.  Then the game starts and she is emotionally caught up in the contest and is bouncing between wanting her kids to do well, wanting them to win but to simultaneously learn good sportsmanship, while all the while she is hoping that they don’t get hurt.  But soon after the match begins, Mom sees one of her babies get whacked by that bigger, mean kid on the other team, the ref misses the foul, and the coach in fact yells at her kid for letting the other kid push HIS player around and get away with that because it hurt the team?.  Oh yes…excitement, emotional high, and NOW passion.  Our soccer Mom is excited, emotional, and passionate, but she’s not ‘on fire’ for soccer.

So what is ‘on fire’ for the Lord?  If we are excited, emotional, and even passionate for the Lord, can’t we be ‘on fire’ for Him?  Does it always show like that?  The answer is complicated, but….no, being on fire for the Lord may show itself in these ways, but it is way beyond and very much different than excitement, emotion and passion, and in themselves, it’s not what God intends us to be toward Him or display or demonstrate.  But what’s beyond excitement, emotion, and passion?  Spirit, and filling by the Spirit.

God tells us in Hebrews 12: 29 that “...for our God is a consuming fire.”  Now that doesn’t mean that He gets consumed; it means that we do.  If we are ‘on fire’ for God, He is consuming us.  As we obey God, seek His will, and die to flesh- all at the same time- we are consumed as if we are on fire and are being burned or purified or refined in His fire.  Yes, I would imagine that anyone in this committed, dedicated, and Spirit-filled lifestyle as described above might, from time-to-time, be excited about God and His plan for their life, or bounce off the walls with joy, or dance in rapture, or bow in reverence, or shout with inspiration, showing God-given emotions.  More so someone on fire may burst with passion when communing with our Lord.  Maybe Christians display ‘fire’ when we remember His passion for us on the cross; His passion for us.  But still, I would respectfully submit that someone showing these outward expressions of the heart might, in fact, not be ‘on fire’.

Being ‘on fire’ for the Lord may be like being an engine, perfectly tuned, that is set for the course running flawlessly moving each part with precision, power, and direction.  It may be like a rider and a horse running a race with everything just right- the rider and horse are in perfect sync with motions matched and peak performance produced.  Or it may be like a navigator computing, anticipating, and collecting all sensory data, focusing full attention on the task at hand in navigating a vessel through a fog to the exact predetermined location.  These are useful examples, but they really don’t quite get to the essence of being ‘on fire’.

I  sometimes relate being on fire to our senses, and how ‘being on fire’ is just beyond them as we perceive stimuli from our environment.  It may be the sight beyond our retinal vision.  Perhaps it’s the sound that we know is there but can’t quite make out but we hear just the same.  Or it might be the touch that is familiar but not tactile, or the taste that is not sweet, sour or salty but savory none the less.  And don’t forget smell.  But it can’t be a smell, perhaps it’s more like a unnamed fragrance that we love to smell but can’t bottle or even recall with verbal description.  Yes, it would have to be beyond our “known” senses- perhaps it’s more what heaven will look, smell, taste, and feel like.

If it’s hard to describe intrinsically, perhaps it might be better described in the resultant ‘product’.  What might the ‘fruit’ of being on fire for the Lord be?  It might be the biblical descriptions of the ‘fruit of the Spirit’…yes for sure it could be that (Galatians 5: 22-26).  I would have to say that anyone producing fruit of the Spirit would be on fire for the Lord.  It could be a wonderful praise song given to the Lord in church where the last note sung causes a ‘reverent hush’ to fall with stunning impact.  Or perhaps it’s the ear-piercing screech from the depth of one’s soul rather than vocal cords that is a ‘better’ joyful noise to our Lord.  It might be that wonderful prayer offered where all points that should be shared are covered, honor is given to the Lord, and hearts are moved.  But it could be that sorrowful moan in the back row from someone’s heart to our Healer, or Comforter, or our Father.  Or it may be that whirl-wind ministry where bunches of folks step forward and profess Christ, but it could be that meek witness to the least likely person on the planet to receive it….from the least likely person on the planet to give it.  Well, thinking about it some, it may not be that perfectly constructed, studied-up, practiced-up sermon or Bible study; it might be that leader who is broken, bankrupt and just weary enough to go before the congregation and lay down his works, crawl up into our Abba’s lap and simply weep before the congregation seeking the love of God.

Maybe we are making too much of this ‘on fire for the Lord’ thing.  What did it ever do for the kingdom of God anyway?  Maybe being ‘on fire’ is demonstrated in the stuff that brings a smallish shepherd boy to the brook to select five smooth stones, or the attitude that draws ‘the least’ of his clan to lead 300 men into battle to defeat insurmountable odds, or opens the mind of a warrior to the power of the sound of the trumpet, or a judge slaying thousands with a jaw bone, or pulls men and women from their comfortable, every-day jobs and lives and families into a remarkable service to Christ.  And of course beyond these many examples, how about our Lord that took the cup from the Father?  Do you think that He was on fire for the Lord, the Father (Luke 22: 41-44)?  I think we would all agree that individuals and their service for the Lord recorded in the Bible, especially Jesus, HAD to be on fire for the Lord.  Sure.  But how about us foot soldiers here today?  Can being ‘on fire’ be manifested by simple, common, everyday things less ‘glorious’, such as holding our tongue so as not to cause a brother to sin, or lending an ear to a friend in Christ’s name, or performing a selfless act of mercy for another.  Or more so, is it keeping a little faith, or praying a bit, or denying a smallish temptation, or judging the actions of a brother in Christ correctly, or just wanting to be one with, the One (John 17: 20-26)?

In all honestly, I am not sure just exactly what it means; I think it may mean different things to different people.  But I am sure that our individual ‘combustion’ or ‘refinement’ is the same thing to the Lord, meaning that it’s ALL God-pleasing and God-praising, so long as we are seeking His will and are in the Spirit.  I can’t really speak for others, but I know when I am ‘on fire for the Lord’.  My soul thinks, moves and acts quicker than my flesh; much faster than my slow brain, awkward motions, and simple emotions.  My body just can’t keep up.  I know when I am on fire when I smell rotten, putrid flesh being burned off me leaving clean new Spirit in it’s place.  I know when the afterburners are on because when I look back I see the vapor-ion trail, I hear the ‘clunk’ of burdens drop, and sense the Spirit blessing me on my inside, whether or not it can be seen because the 'on fire' parts are on the inside.  When I am on fire, other things, like the other things the Lord has given me in my life that are secondary or support in nature (family provision, stewardship, routine service things), drift further away and the important stuff rises to the top of my priority list as my priority list becomes His priority list.  My speeds are ‘warp drive’, my flight is as on eagles wings (Isaiah 40: 31), my songs run endless in my heart, my heart strides without effort, my vision is focused and penetrating, my hearing is focused and non-audible, my brotherly love for others is high, my discouragement is absent, my giants are prone before me, my cravings are all satisfied, my wallet is open, my misplaced passion or lusts are properly replaced, my goals are before me, my wife and I are one, my load is light, my strength is endless, my boldness is bountiful, my Lord and I are one, my jokes are funny, my road is straight, my ideas are His, my sins are forgiven, my fear is only for the Lord, my trust in Him is endless, my obedience to Him is effortless, my breath is His, my ‘being’ is supernatural, my cup is filled, there is less of me in this world and more of me in heaven, and I actually might be better looking.

I wish I could tell you what being ‘on fire for the Lord’ is but I don’t think I can.  But I can tell you, beloved of God, that when you are ‘on fire for the Lord’, you will know it.

Hebrews 12:25-29

25 See that ye refuse not him that speaketh. For if they escaped not who refused him that spake on earth, much more shall not we escape, if we turn away from him that speaketh from heaven: 26 whose voice then shook the earth: but now he hath promised, saying, Yet once more I shake not the earth only, but also heaven. 27 And this word, Yet once more, signifieth the removing of those things that are shaken, as of things that are made, that those things which cannot be shaken may remain.

28  Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear: 29 for our God is a consuming fire.

Galatians 5: 22-26

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23 meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. 24 And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. 25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. 26 Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another.

Luke 22: 41-44

41 And he was withdrawn from them about a stone’s cast, and kneeled down, and prayed, 42 saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done. 43 And there appeared an angel unto him from heaven, strengthening him. 44 And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground.

John17: 20-26

20 Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; 21 that they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.

22 And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: 23 I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me. 24 Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world.

25 O  righteous Father, the world hath not known thee: but I have known thee, and these have known that thou hast sent me. 26 And I have declared unto them thy name, and will declare it: that the love wherewith thou hast loved me may be in them, and I in them.

Isaiah 40: 31

31 But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.