The Holy Spirit Will Set You Ablaze
The Holy Spirit is the wonderful third Person of the Trinity about whom we know so little. He loves so tenderly, cares so personally, and ministers to us so faithfully. How amazing that perhaps the most common symbol of this beautiful Person found in the Bible is flaming fire.
Let us note more fully the fiery ministry of the Spirit:
He sets you aflame with His fiery baptism. "He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire," said John the Baptist of Jesus (Matt. 3:11; Luke 3:16). This refers to "the fiery character of the Spiritís operations upon the soul Ė searching, consuming, refining, sublimating Ė as nearly all good interpreters understand the words" (Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown, Commentary, 888). The inner fire of the Spirit sets the Spirit-filled person ablaze with His divine presence.
He empowers you with His fiery divine energy. The fire of God speaks also of His divine energy constantly ready to empower His own who are totally surrendered to Him. Christ desires that all the fiery ministry of the Spirit be active in your life. "I have come to bring fire on the earth" (Luke 12:49). He kindled the holy flame of God in the hearts of His followers as He began His earthly ministry. But He knew they needed more of the Spirit.
On the day of Pentecost the Holy Spirit visibly descended in holy flame upon the men and women gathered in the Upper Room. Empowered by the Spirit, they began to spread Godís holy fire that very day. For decades the Spiritís fire kept burning and spreading. Persecution could not quench their fire, it only served to fan the flames. Pentecost lit a flame that by Godís grace will never go out.
He sets you aglow with His fiery radiance and zeal. Romans 12:11 urges, "Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor." You have spiritual zeal when you are spiritually ablaze. Weymouth translates this, "Have your spirits aglow"; Goodspeed, "on fire with the Spirit"; and the Revised Standard Version states it, "Be aglow with the Spirit."
The Holy Spirit revives your spirit, fills you with abundance of life, love and zeal, and sets you aglow so that you manifest the vibrant, radiant life of God. He will revive your devotion, accelerate your obedience, and fan into flame your zeal. As a Spirit-filled believer you should be marked by the intense devotion, eager earnestness, and the loyal bond-service which characterizes the heavenly angels. Apollos (Acts 18:25) was thus ablaze. The literal translation can be that he was "burning in spirit," or "glowing with the Spirit."
When the Spirit burns within you in freedom and fullness, your inner life becomes radiant, your zeal intense, and your service dynamic. You, in the words of Ephesians 5:16, are "making the most of every opportunity."
The need for this spiritual glow and zeal is emphasized by the condition of the church in Laodicea which had grown lukewarm (Rev. 3:15-16). The spiritual temperature of a Spirit-filled leader should remain high. The Spirit desires so to fill you with burning, glowing agape love that your life is constantly radiant with His presence. Whether the translation of Romans 12:11 is to be aglow with the Holy Spirit or to be aglow in your own spirit, the Enabler is ever the Spirit Himself. His active fullness must permeate your personality and service.
He provides you gifts which you are to stir into flame. Spiritual gifts are endowments for service given through the activity of the Holy Spirit. God provides whatever divine enablements we need for the service to which He appoints us. The Holy Spirit Himself is Godís great gift to us (Acts 2:38) but He bestows grace-gifts (charismata) providing divine endowment and enablement for serving God and the body of Christ.
"Fan into flame the gift of God which is in you," Paul urged Timothy (2 Tim. 1:6). Notice the gift was "in" him. The Holy Spirit primarily works from within, not upon in some external sense. He does not manipulate us, He enables by His indwelling presence and power.
God never appoints or guides you to do a service without being available to endow and empower you with all you need to do His will. But there is a cooperating role for you to play. You must kindle anew, or fan into full flame the divine endowment. Godís gifts are given to be cherished and used. To fail to use them as God desires is to fail God and people. We develop them by use. As we use Godís endowment, the Spirit enables us, guides us, and makes us fruitful.
The constant tendency of fire is to go out. The Spirit does not waste divine energy. If we do not obey and use the grace God provides, He ceases to bestow. The Greek tense of the verb emphasizes the continuous rekindling of the flame. The spiritual biography of many a Christian leader is "once ablaze." Was there a time when you were more ablaze for God than you are today?
Praise God, a flickering flame that is almost gone can be fanned into brilliant fire again. That fanning must be a continuous process. Five times in Leviticus 6 God instructed that the fire on the altar of burnt offering was never to go out. He had initially given that fire from heaven (Lev. 9:24; 2 Chr. 7:1). God supplies the fire, but we must keep it burning. We constantly need the Spiritís fire, symbolizing the divine presence within us, and we constantly need the touch of Godís grace provided through the atonement upon us. Our consecration to God should never lapse and His presence and power in and upon us should never diminish.
God has created our spirits flammable. We are spiritually combustible. Our nature is created to be set ablaze by the Spirit. We are spiritually most blessed, most victorious, most usable when we are ablaze. We are most Godlike when we glow with holy flame Ė the flame of the indwelling Spirit.
The fire of God gives an unforgettable attraction to the personality of Godís messenger and to the content of his message. It imparts a sacred authority that cannot be counterfeited by human efforts. It so seals with the mark of God that others are unable to ignore it. It gives a holy authenticity and assures of integrity. It impresses with the obvious involvement and partnership of God.
Whatever the cost, we must keep the flame of the Spirit burning on the altar of our hearts. The Greek word in "fan into flame" in Second Timothy 1:6 refers to the use of a bellows to cause a smoldering fire to flame up. This takes effort. Timothy was to do all in his power to intensify the manifestation of the flame of the Spirit. Our cooperation with the Spirit is essential to consistency of flowing ardor, spiritual radiance, and flaming zeal.
General Booth urged his people, "The tendency of fire is to go out; watch the fire on the altar of your heart." Our constant danger is to cool off spiritually, to lose our fervor, and to slow down in zeal. Personal revival comes through renewed commitment and reaffirmed consecration. Everyone needs such personal revival again and again.
We have the great gift of God, the Holy Spirit, but we need to hunger more for the manifestation of His presence, and open our hearts constantly in faithís expectancy for His working, His empowerings and constant enablings in our life. God gives us capacity and the Spirit wants to imbue our whole being with His reality, making us His channels of expression that His holy fire may be constantly visible in us. We must choose whether we will neglect the Spirit, quench the Spirit, or fan into flame the Spiritís presence.
Quoted from Ablaze for God by Wesley L. Duewel. Copyright © 1989. Used by permission of the Duewel Literature Trust, Inc., Greenwood, Indiana. Dr. Duewelís books may be purchased by calling (317) 881-6751 Ext. 361.