“In the last days.. People will have the appearance of godliness, but deny its power.” (2 Tim 3)
I love fashion but fashion doesn’t save someone from hell. It seems like some preachers are more concerned for how they looked than how their sermon was cooked. Leonard Ravenhill once said,
No man is greater than his prayer life. The pastor who is not praying is playing; the people who are not praying are straying. We have many organisers, but few agonizers; many players and payers, few prayers; many singers, few clingers; lots of pastors; few wrestlers; many fears, few tears; much fashion, little passion; many interferers, few intercessors; many writers, but few fighters. Failing here, we fail everywhere.
Recently, in the news we’ve all heard of the tragic events surrounding Hurricane Sandy which hit the northeastern coast of the United States. Over $20 billion worth of damage is estimated to have occurred and many lives have been lost. Don’t you think it’s odd that we name such cataclysmic events after lovely ladies names… like Sandy or Katrina or Cyclone Tracey. I know a Tracey and she is a lovely lady. Why don’t we call them ‘Hurricane Hitler’ or ‘Hurricane Lucifer’ or ‘Cyclone Frankenstein’? Just a thought!
No matter how sturdy or stable a house, boat or car looks pre-hurricance, if the hurricane winds are strong enough then the object will have no power over itself to determine where the wind blows it. There are massive implications in the spiritual dimensions of life as well.
One of the symbols of the Holy Spirit is Wind. All throughout Scripture we read of the wind of God’s Spirit blowing upon his people and world events (Ezekiel 37, Acts 2). John 3:8 says, ‘The wind blows where it wishes. You can hear its sound but you don’t know where it comes from or where its going. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit of God.’
Believers are born of the Spirit of God and are children of the wind of God’s Spirit blowing upon people. I’ve observed, though, that after a number of years, some believers become very static and inflexible when it comes to the leading of the Holy Spirit in their lives. The opposite should be the case. The longer we walk with God, the more flexible, dynamic and passionate we should become as we anticipate the blowing of the Spirit in our lives.
Unfortunately, hard-heartedness anaesthetises us to the Spirit’s leading in our lives. A hard heart disguises itself in religious activity and piety (Pharisees) but really finds its seed in pride which leads to rebellion. Hebrews 3:7-8 says, ‘Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts, as in the day of rebellion.’
What stirs God’s heart to blow a hurricane in our lives is a soft and broken heart before him. It’s not that God can’t blow upon a hard heart, he does all the time (after all, how could any of us be saved), it’s that he delights in blowing upon a soft heart. Psalm 51:17 says, ‘The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit. A broken and contrite heart O God, you will not despise.’ Are you a bucking stallion that needs breaking or do you have a soft heart that the trainer (Holy Spirit) is able to bridle and ride into God’s purposes on?
Recently, we had a smoke alarm continually go off in the middle of the night until I pulled it off the roof. There was a whole lot of noise but no fire or smoke anywhere. That’s like you and me at times, and even some churches – a whole lot of noise but no fire. We don’t need more noise. We need more fire.
Someone once asked John Wesley why so many people attended his rallies. He replied, ‘Cause I set myself on fire and people come and watch me burn.’ People are drawn to fire. Watch how many people come out to see a fire cause people are drawn to it (obviously, except where there is a bushfire).
In Matthew 3:11-12 John the Baptist compares himself to Jesus and he basically says, ‘Im the warm up for the main event. I have come with a baptism of repentance but Jesus will baptise you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.’
Fire in the natural purifies and refines, cleanses and purges and stimulates growth in the environment. Fires start when 3 elements come together = combustible material, an oxygen rich compound and a heat source. In the spiritual a baptism of fire happens when 3 elements come together = Jesus, an individual and the Holy Spirit.
The fire of God sets an individual apart. Jesus ministry separates the wheat from the chaff. Wheat represents believers baptised with fire and chaff represents unbelievers judged by fire. Paul mentions in 1 Corinthians 3:13 that our works will be revealed and tested by fire. Whichever way you look at it, God uses fire to minister to us one way or the other.
In Acts 2:1-4 on the Day of Pentecost the early church was baptised in a Holy Ghost fire. The prophet Jeremiah said, ‘Gods word is like a burning fire shut up in my bones and I cannot hold it in.’
God hasn’t called you to be a false smoke alarm that makes a lot of noise but have no fire. Jesus is alive and wants to set you ablaze with passion and boldness for his glory and his call on your life. Position yourself in prayer by faith for the fire of the Holy Spirit to ignite you.