On yet another frigid, cold day I am attempting to keep our house warm. For us it’s not a matter of turning up the thermostat. You see, we have a wood burning furnace that heats our home quite efficiently. The biggest benefit is that our electric bills have gone way down during the winter months. The only downside to our furnace is the fact that somebody has to continually keep putting wood in it throughout the day……at least four to five times per day to keep it burning consistently. If not, the fire will go out. Usually the “somebody” who takes care of this job is my dear husband! But since he’s on another business trip for a few days, that somebody is ME.
Lisa, don’t forget to check the furnace every few hours. Don’t forget to put a few pieces of wood in there. Don’t forget or……” Yeah, I know…….the fire will go out.
Well, if you know me then you know I can sometimes get too distracted and in my own little world. I’m often on full- speed- ahead mode trying to cram in as much as possible in 24 hours. I checked the furnace early this morning and it was cranking out the heat! I should have checked it again before I left to run some errands. But no, I was in too much of a hurry. The fire might keep going, I thought. I won’t be gone that long. Again, if you know me, then it’s no surprise that my intended 30 minute trip to the grocery turned out to be almost two hours.
So guess what? When I got home, THE FIRE IN THE FURNACE HAD GONE OUT!
There were a few small coals still glowing, so it wasn’t totally hopeless. Yet it was much more difficult to get it started again. The fact that it was 22 degrees outside sure didn’t help. If I’d just taken the time to put two or three logs in there before I left, it would still be going. But no, my negligence now made it more difficult and took up more of my time. I have learned that if I want to keep the fire going, then I have to intentionally be more aware. Aware of the time. Aware of the condition of the fire. Aware of how cold it is outside.
Just as I must take initiative to keep the physical fire burning, I must also take initiative in keeping my spiritual fire going.
Leviticus 6:12 speaks of what the priests in ancient Israel had to do: “The fire on the altar must be kept burning; it must not go out.” They had to work diligently to keep the fuel supply stocked up or face serious consequences.
Praise God that Jesus is our ultimate sacrifice and His people no longer have to offer physical sacrifices. But Bible scholars point out that the word “fire” in this passage can be symbolic of our faith. And the altar can be symbolic of our lives.
So what are you doing in your life to fan the flame of your faith? Are you spending time in God’s word faithfully? Are you sitting still long enough to really hear Him speaking to you? Are you allowing Him to use the gifts He’s given you for the building up of other believers? Are you bearing fruit where God has planted seeds?
Or perhaps your fire is growing cold. If so, don’t despair! Even if you only sense a few coals barely glowing in your heart, you can humbly ask God to breathe new life into it and get the flame burning again. Be encouraged that God is like a consuming fire. Once the kindling ignites and spreads the flames, our fire can burn bright and long again.
Just as Paul exhorted Timothy to “fan into flame the gift of God”(2nd Timothy 1:6), let us be challenged to do the same! I pray dear friend that you’ll stay physically warm on this cold day, but more importantly I pray you’ll keep your spiritual fire going.