We should all be on fire for God

When I was 23 I decided to give my life wholly to God.  I had grown up in church but I had lived a mostly sinful life.  But I believed God had a good plan for me, and if I would start listening to Him I could find it.  After about a year I began writing Bible studies and trying to get my old friends saved.  I started talking about God all the time.  One day my friend (let’s call him Steve), emailed me and said something I will never forget.  “Byron, you are on fire for God.” 

I was stunned, not because I was on fire for God, but because I realized Steve wasn’t.  Steve had been a Christian for as long as I had known him, at least since the third grade.  Steve stayed close to God all those years, never started drinking (as far as I know), he never went through sinful years.  He participated in Christian organizations and went to church.  He married a Christian girl and Christ was obviously important to him.  Why wasn’t he on fire for God?

My friends, I tell you that I have been on fire for God now for 16 years.  I am more on fire for God today than I was when Steve first saw it.  Why are some of us on fire for God and some of us aren’t?  Why do some Christians pursue God and His plan and some don’t?  Why do many Christians treat their faith like another hobby, but some treat it like the air they breathe?  And how can I convince you to join us?

All Christians should be on fire for God.  All Christians should be actively pursuing their relationships with God and His plan for their lives.  All Christians should want His will more than they want anything else, and this should be the guiding light of their lives. 

But God doesn’t force us to do anything.  God doesn’t force the fire upon us.  God doesn’t require it for salvation.  Yes, in different times of life God calls us closer and some of us feel the pull a little stronger for some reason.  Yet God seems content to let us choose the relationship we have with Him.  We choose how our Christianity will look.  We choose how it will impact our lives.  If we care about being on fire for God at all, we must first realize the choice is ours.

This is how God first showed me the choice.  I was sitting in my house in college when these words pointed my life in a new direction.  “Come now, and let us reason together, says the Lord. Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall be like wool. If you are willing and obedient, you shall eat the good of the land.” (Isaiah 1:18-19 AMP)

Call me selfish, I wanted to eat the good.  God is ok with us doing what is truly best for our lives out of such motivations.  So I decided to be willing and obedient.  I’m certainly not perfect, but that was a choice that I made.  And that is a choice you must make.  But stay with me, there is so much more.  Look at how Jesus presented this choice.  "The Kingdom of Heaven is like a treasure that a man discovered hidden in a field. In his excitement, he hid it again and sold everything he owned to get enough money to buy the field.” (Matthew 13:44 NLT)

When you accept Jesus Christ, you don’t just get saved from your sins, you are brought into the Kingdom of God.  Unimaginable blessings are now yours (Ephesians 1:3).  You have free and unfettered access to all of the wisdom of the Kingdom, the plans of the Kingdom, the wealth of the Kingdom.  You can go boldly before the throne of the King and Creator of the Universe, and He will help you. 

But most people don’t realize this.  The Church hasn’t taught this.  The Church has confused Jesus’ teachings on what to expect from the Kingdom.    I remember one guy made a video and in the video he described our salvation like a parachute and all of life like a plane about to lose power.  We should be so happy for the parachute because there is nothing good ahead of us.  But the Treasure of the Kingdom is not just a parachute.  All of life is not just a plane about to crash.

God wants us to have good things in this life.  He wants us to be blessed so that we can be a blessing to others.  The man was so excited for the Treasure of the Kingdom that he sold everything to get it.  The Kingdom of God is the most exciting thing in the Universe.  And the Kingdom of God is the secret to the most exciting and fulfilling life you can have.

“By His divine power, God has given us everything we need for living a godly life. We have received all of this by coming to know Him, the One who called us to Himself by means of His marvelous glory and excellence. And because of His glory and excellence, He has given us great and precious promises. These are the promises that enable you to share His divine nature and escape the world's corruption caused by human desires.” (2 Peter 1:3-4 NLT)

Everything you could ever want and everything you could ever need is in the Kingdom.  So many of us have thought that Christianity will take from our lives.  That God would take things we enjoy, that God would take our (sinful) fun away.  But we haven’t seen the treasure hidden in the field correctly.  And that’s the fault of our Christian leadership.  The treasure of the Kingdom of God is far more valuable than anything this earth has to offer.  If you could see it clearly you would agree.

The treasure of the Kingdom is your relationship with God, your ticket into Heaven, everything and every relationship you could want for all eternity, it is peace and harmony in your life, in your spirit, soul and body, and it is your purpose and fulfillment.  It is all there for you.  Everything is there for you in God’s Kingdom.  And when you become a Christian, you are entitled to these things.  Not because of what you have done, but because of what Jesus did.

But we didn’t know about all this, we’ve just been trying to avoid getting God angry and hoping for a little help from Heaven every now and then.  And then when some preachers try to teach us that God has good things for us, we blast them and call them heretics.  And then we create this totally nonsensical gospel.  If you’re rich and healthy, good for you.  If you’re sick and broke, that’s good too.  Either way it’s God’s best.  Either way it’s God’s will.  What a bunch of garbage!

Everything is available for you.  The good of the land is available for you.  God wants to have a vibrant, personal relationship with you, and God wants to work with you to show His love and His Kingdom to the world.  It’s the Gospel of the Kingdom that Jesus preached.  All you could ever want, including personal fulfillment and peace, is available for you in God’s Kingdom.  I believe if everyone really knew this, I mean really understood this, then we would all be on fire for God. 

So what do we do?  The first step is to start spending real time in the Bible.

“Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If you continue in my word, then are you my disciples indeed; And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” (John 8:31-32 KJV)

“I am the vine, you are the branches: He that abides in me, and I in him, the same brings forth much fruit.” (John 15:5 KJV)

In these verses “continue” and “abide” are the same Greek word, “meno”.  It means to stay, to endure, to remain.  We must remain in God’s Word.  We must have a continual, daily fellowship with God around His Word.  It’s great to have a time where you read a few verses each day.  But let’s modify that a bit.  Rather than sitting down to read, sit down to spend time with God.  Sit down to fellowship with God around His Word.  Begin your time by saying, “Open my eyes Lord, that I may see wonderful things in your law.” 

“Is not my word like as a fire? says the Lord; and like a hammer that breaks the rock in pieces?” (Jeremiah 23:29 KJV)

As you open the Word, it will open to you.  Talk to God while you study.   The Holy Spirit will speak to you through the Word.  This will change your life.  This will totally change your time in the Bible.  It will go from a routine chore to a fellowship that you crave, that you need, that stokes your flame. 

Second, you need to start listening to God’s voice.

Now I have talked about hearing from God a lot, and I’m going to do it again soon.  But for today here is what you need to know.  If you spend time fellowshipping with God’s Word, it will tune you into the frequency of God’s voice.

“Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them." (John 14:21 NIV)

That verse is actually very simple and very important.  When you begin living according to God’s Word, Jesus is going to manifest Himself to you.  That doesn’t necessarily mean He is going to show up in your bedroom one night.  But it does mean He is going to reveal Himself to you. 

That’s what happened to me.  I began studying God’s Word and living to obey it.  Sure enough, Jesus revealed Himself to me.  And He did that by speaking to me.  I began having dreams from Him.  I began hearing the still small voice of the Holy Spirit.  He began guiding me and helping me.  I’m not saying I have perfectly followed Him, probably not by a long shot.  But I have kept listening.  I have kept desiring His voice.  I have kept close to Him so I can stay tuned into His frequency.  I want to hear Him clearly all the time. 

Third, when you hear His voice, you need to do what He says.

Now let’s not make this too complicated, but here is the deal.  When you start living according to the Bible, it changes your mind, it changes your heart, and it tunes you into God’s voice.  You will start doing what the Bible says, and then God will start giving you specific directions.  Help this person, go to this church, serve in that area, give some money to that ministry.  God is going to start directing you, and fundamentally these directions are to bring you closer to Him and into the service and furtherance of His Kingdom.  And remember, His Kingdom includes all the treasures of existence.

Let me give you a short example from my life.  One day about 7 years ago I was driving to work.  I had never been on a mission trip, but I really wanted to go on one.  As I was driving I just knew that I heard God’s voice.  He said something like this, “OK, you can go.  But go on one of the trips from your church, and let your wife pick the trip.”  So that’s what I did.  I minored in Spanish and liked a pastor leading a trip to Nicaragua.  But my wife wanted to go visit the schools in Haiti.  So we went to Haiti.  We didn’t know a single person on the trip, and the trip was with an organization called Schools for Haiti.  Well now I have been to Haiti seven times.  I have preached numerous revival meetings there.  I have been on the Board of Directors for several years.  I am the MC and auctioneer for their annual fundraiser, and the guy who started it is one of my closest friends. 

Receiving instructions from the Creator of the Universe, and then seeing things work out because you obeyed, is one of the greatest treasures life has to offer.  There is nothing like seeing another person come into God’s family by accepting Jesus Christ.  There is nothing like seeing someone freed from demonic oppression.  There is joy and gladness and excitement and fulfillment like you have never experienced before, when you take your place with your Creator and fight for your Kingdom.

God wants you, His beloved child, to know Him and fight with Him against the devil and the dominion of darkness.  We are supposed to join God in the battle for the lost souls of this world.  We do this different ways.  We have different ministries and services.  I’m not saying quit your day job, but I am saying that you must enlist in the army of God.  Sign up for active duty.  He will give you your assignment.

When you know Him, when you remain with Him, when He manifests Himself to you, when you hear His voice, the fire within you grows.  I don’t want a fire that only lasts for a few months or a few years, as many young Christians experience.  I want a fire that consumes me and burns for eternity.  I want to be surrounded by others that also burn, so that together we can set the world on fire for Jesus.

“John answered them all, "I baptize you with water. But one who is more powerful than I will come, the straps of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.” (Luke 3:16 NIV)  Jesus wants you to be totally immersed into the Holy Spirit and fire.  There is no little sprinkling imagery; it’s all of you going under, never to be the same.  Jesus wants you on fire, not with a fire that we’ve created or that we’ve produced through our own emotions.  It’s the fire of Heaven inside of us. 

Maybe the Christianity you have been taught isn’t exciting.  Maybe people have told you to just hold onto this parachute and pray the ride down isn’t too rough.  Maybe people haven’t taught you about the wonders of God’s Kingdom.  Maybe you’ve been in a dead church.  It’s time to leave those things behind. 

Christian, you are called to fire, and you have never experienced anything so exciting as the fire of God fueling and giving light to your existence.  The fire is first lit when you receive Jesus, but it’s like a pilot light.  You need to increase the gas and fan the flame.  Get on fire for God by drawing closer to Him and His Kingdom.  Read His Word and listen to His voice.  Discover his will for your life, and then take that fire to the world.  Christians can become a roaring blaze for God, but sometimes we need help and encouragement to let God’s fire consume us.  I hope I have helped you, and that you burn brightly for God forever.

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