First and foremost, I want to say thank you for being an amazing partner in our ministry! As we start this new year, I want you to know we are truly believing for the absolute best for you in 2020. Denise and I are so grateful that you are partnering with us in this God-given work. As we march forward in 2020 to achieve what the Lord has laid on our hearts, we are doing it together with you — and together, we are impacting lives in nations all over the earth! What a privilege to serve God with you!
Today I want to talk to you about spiritual fire and to encourage you to stay “on fire” for the Lord during 2020!
For you to be effective spiritually and truly fulfilled in life, it is absolutely essential that you remain ablaze with spiritual fire! But perhaps you can remember a time when your heart was ablaze with passion for the things of God — but you’d admit that since that time, the fire has diminished. If that describes you currently, please take the time to consider the following:
- What happened along the way to diminish or quench that fire that once burned so brightly?
- What should you have done differently to keep it burning — and what can you do right now to stoke those glowing embers and get your inner fire blazing again?
When any kind of natural fuel serving as a catalyst for fire is depleted, it’s just a fact that the fire will eventually go out. Similarly, if fuel isn’t regularly added to your spiritual fire, and if you don’t stoke those embers and fan the flames, the fire will begin to go out. Those embers have to be tended to regularly in order to keep the fire going. And it takes lots of attention and work to keep a fire burning bright!
This makes me think of Paul’s words to Timothy in Second Timothy 1:6, where Paul wrote, “Wherefore I put thee in remembrance that thou stir up the gift of God, which is in thee by the putting on of my hands.”
The words “stir up” in this verse is a translation of the Greek word anadzopureo, a triple compound of the Greek words, ana, zoos, and pur.
- The word ana carries the idea of repeating an earlier action or doing something again.
- The word zoos is from the word zao, which means to be enthusiastic, fervent, passionate, vigorous, wholehearted, or zealous.
- The word pur is the Greek word for fire.
But when these three Greek words are compounded, they form the Greek word anadzopureo — the very word Paul used in Second Timothy 1:6 when he told the younger minister to “stir up” the gift of God that was in him. It implies that the fire in Timothy’s heart had ebbed to just embers or that it was on a low burn. That is the reason Paul told Timothy to begin to passionately and rigorously stoke and stir up the gift of God in his life. Paul was telling Timothy that, just as one would stoke the embers of a fire in a hearth or fireplace, it was time for the younger minister to take action. Paul was commanding Timothy to reach within himself and to begin to rekindle, or kindle anew, the fire in his heart.
At the time Paul wrote to Timothy, this young man was surrounded by a great deal of chaos and confusion because of the intense persecution that was taking place at that time. It is probable the younger minister was physically and emotionally exhausted from dealing with an onslaught of problems and his own spiritual fire was beginning to wane. That is why Paul told him to take action before the fire inside him that burned for the things of God went out completely.
In other words, Timothy needed to open the door to his heart, look inside to determine the condition of his inward fire, and then take action to stir up the gift of God inside him. Like a person would stoke the coals in a fireplace, Timothy was being called to stir the embers and then “put more wood on the fire.”
This would not occur accidentally. Timothy would have to be intentional and proactive to keep that flame burning. But if he would heed Paul’s command, that inward fire — which was beginning to wane — would blaze once again in the core of Timothy’s spiritual being.
Let me share with you a natural example of kindling or rekindling the fire of God deep inside your heart. In the early days of living in the former Soviet Union, our family lived in an apartment that only had wood-burning fireplaces for heat in the winter. We learned the lesson if we wanted to have heat, we would have to become proactive in making it happen. We had to find fuel, carry it upstairs, open the fireplace door, put the fuel on the fire, and stoke the fire regularly throughout the day to keep it burning. We knew we’d reap a lot of unnecessary discomfort, extreme cold, and even serious trouble if we chose to neglect what was happening deep in those fireplaces.
If we discovered the fire had ebbed too low and the coals of wood were turning cold and hard — that we had “hit a low burn” — we would have to begin the process all over. So the choice to be proactive was wiser than reaping the consequences produced by negligence. The truth is, we made the choice to do whatever was required to stay warm — because otherwise, we knew we’d freeze!
And the same is true for you. If your spiritual fire is at a low burn or close to going out, it’s time for you to “stir up” the gift of God that is inside you. You cannot depend on someone else to do the stoking and stirring for you. It is so vital that you take responsibility to look inside yourself, to determine your fuel supply, and to do whatever you must to stir your spiritual embers and keep your fire burning.
If you’ll ask the Holy Spirit, He’ll show you how to open the door of your heart and take an honest look on the inside to assess your condition and need. Then you must let Him show you the steps to take to throw fuel on your spiritual fire so you can stir yourself up and stay ablaze with the things of God. You are called to consistently stir up those embers and fuel that fire so that you’ll remain a blazing inferno for Jesus!
Fire. We must have it for survival, for development, and for progress. Likewise, we must have spiritual fire if we are to move forward in the advancement of God’s purposes and in the fulfillment of His great plan! Oh, it’s so very vital that we determine to stay ablaze with the Spirit and power of God!
If you’ve ever seen a campfire, you know its flames can burn very bright and hot. But what happens if no one keeps adding fuel to the fire? If no one adds more fuel to the flames, eventually that fire will go out altogether.
Let me encourage you to keep adding fuel to the flames of your heart. Do everything you can to throw more fuel into the fire of your heart! When you adopt the attitude that you’re going to start fueling your fire, consistently utilizing to the fullest all the spiritual fuels God provides, I guarantee you that your inner man will burst into spiritual flames! But you are the only one who can choose to “add the fuel” and “stoke the coals” to keep the Holy Spirit’s fire burning brightly in your life.
I encourage you to make a serious commitment before the Lord that you will stay ablaze with God’s fire for the year 2020 — and for that matter, for the rest of your life. I encourage you to set aside time with the Lord to ask Him for His help and His strategies as you purpose to add more fuel to your spiritual fire. Then determine to do whatever the Spirit of God tells you to do to keep your inner man burning like a spiritual inferno!
While you are praying for your own heart to burn bright with the fire of the Spirit, please add your faith to ours for Denise and me and our entire team. God has entrusted us with a mighty assignment. We need the fire of God to burn brightly within our own hearts so we can impart that fire to others who are reaching out to us for help — for prayer and for teaching of the Word of God. This is an amazing assignment God has given to us!
Before I close today, I want to say if there is any specific way we can be praying for you, please be sure to let us know. I think you know we really mean it when we tell you that we pray for you — and we keep praying until you get the victory you are believing for! Either call, email, or write us, and Denise and I and our team will go to God in prayer for you.
Oh, how thankful I am that God has opened the door for me to communicate with you today. If you don’t know it, I have a new book called A LIFE ABLAZE. This letter is a result of that book. The message is burning in my heart and pouring out of my spirit because I know God wants each of us to be ablaze spiritually for our entire lives. If we add the right fuels and maintain the fire in our hearts, we can do it!
Denise and I love you and thank God for you!
We are your brother and sister, friends, and partners in Jesus Christ,
Rick and Denise Renner
along with Paul, Philip, and Joel and their families