With Flaming Hearts
Lord, crucified, give me a heart
Teach me to love the dying souls
Keep Thou my heart in closest
touch with Thine
And give me love, pure Calvary
To bring the lost to Thee.
The great Apostle Paul said of Jesus that He "emptied Himself" (Phil. 2:7 NAS). Looking over Jerusalem, Jesus cried out "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem…how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not" (Matt. 23:37). He envisioned John the Baptist as "a burning and shining lamp" (John 5:35 NKJ). Paul wrote in Romans 12:11, "Be aglow…with the Spirit" (Amplified).
St. Augustine vowed, "To my God, a heart of flame; to my fellowmen, a heart of love; to myself, a heart of steel." It was a flaming heart in George Whitefield which caused him to cry out, "Believe me, I am willing to go to prison and to death for you. But I am not willing to go to heaven without you!"
John Wesley’s sister described him as "out of breath seeking souls!" To awaken his Methodists, Wesley wrote in his 78th year, "You have nigh lost your zeal for works of mercy, as well as of piety. You once pushed on through cold or rain or whatever cross lay in your way to see the poor, the sick and distressed. You went about doing good, and found out those who were not able to find you. You cheerfully crept down into cellars and climbed up into garrets…. You found out every scene of human misery, and assisted according to your power…. Do you now tread in the same steps?"
Jim Elliot, missionary martyred by the Auca Indians of Ecuador in 1956, prayed: "Am I ignitable? O God, deliver me from the dread asbestos of other things! Saturate me with the oil of the Spirit that I may be aflame. But flame is transient and short-lived. Can’st thou bear this, my soul – short-lived? In me there dwells the Spirit of the Great Short-Lived, whose zeal for God’s House consumed Him. And He has promised baptism with the Spirit and with Fire. ‘Father, take my life, yes, my blood if Thou wilt, and consume it with Thine enveloping fire. I would not save it for it is not mine to save. Have it, Lord, have it all. Pour out my life as an offering for the world. Make me Thy fuel, Flame of God.’"
It was at a conference of youth evangelists in 1949 that Billy Graham was discussing the Second Coming and the end of time with his friends and said, "Oh, somehow, if the Lord could use me a little bit." The men agreed to pray and all knelt on handkerchiefs to protect their trousers from the wet grass when Roy Gustafson heard a strange, muffled voice. Billy lay full length in wet grass, oblivious to the soiling of his suit, with face into the ground, and Mr. Gustafson heard the plea that placed him on his preaching career: "Lord, trust me, trust me, Lord, to do something for You before You come."
Burning, shining, aglow, flame, ignitable, enveloping, fire, fuel – Christ envisions His Church as a flame of fire igniting others until there is a perpetual "chain reaction" with more and more centers of fire. Flames of Divinity in hearts of humanity!
We witness today a passion for power in the political world, a passion for profits in the business world, and a passion for pleasure in the social world. There must be a greater passion for souls in the spiritual world. Christ’s Church must march with the fire of heaven in her heart and the light of eternity in her eyes. Away with love of money, love of place, love of prominence and love of position and let the love of Christ constrain us!
The task is unfinished. The commission is compulsory. Millions are under the curse of sin. Sin-blighted, sin-blinded, sin-bound, sin-benighted souls live in darkened lands, not knowing why they were born, why they live, or how they are to die. They sit in darkness and the shadow of death with broken hearts, shattered dreams, betrayed confidence and frustrated hopes. Yes, innumerable multitudes reached with despair gnawing at the lute strings of life, and untouched by the gloriously and joyously transforming salvation which Christ is able and waiting to give them.
Against the gathering darkness of our day we desperately need the fire of heaven to fall upon us anew, inflaming our souls, sparking our torches, rekindling our zeal, and sending us out as flaming evangels across our darkened world.
Let the eternal wonder of Christ’s cross so get hold of our hearts, so pervade our total being, so capture our thoughts, so fire our devotion, so enlist our energies, so elevate our purposes, so lead us to self-forgetting and self-denial, and deliver us from the stench of stagnation and the stigma of the status quo within our churches. May God grant that our minds shall be enlightened, our hearts stirred, and our faculties enlisted, until with unswerving purpose we produce the most irresistible advance our Zion has ever known! May we feel the pulse of this sick and sinful world and then bring the diseased and dying to that healing "fountain filled with blood drawn from Immanuel’s veins, where sinners plunged beneath that flood lose all their guilty stains."
True love is a flame. A flame that does not spread eventually goes out. God wills to make us instruments of ignition till power, fire and fervency fill us with the flame of a passionate purity – overflowing and overbrimming.
Set us afire, Lord, stir us, we
While the world perishes, we go
Purposeless, passionless, day
Set us afire, Lord, stir us, we pray!
Yes, let the fire fall; let it ignite every one of us; let it burn as a flame in every heart. And let us bombard every sin-sick, sin-darkened part of the world with the life-giving, light-spreading, life-mending Gospel of Christ – lifting up broken and bruised souls to the merciful arms of a loving God – till no man, anywhere, can say "no man cared for my soul."
With flaming hearts we declare His glory! With flaming hearts we offer, urgently and fervently, a living faith and a loving Christ to a dying world!
From "God’s Revivalist and Bible Advocate," used by permission. Loren Schaffer is a retired Nazarene minister.