Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Wanting the Fire but Choosing the Cold

This pretend-winter we've had has left me uncertain whether to turn on the air conditioner or the heater. When I awakened this morning, it was chilly inside. I pondered, for a quick minute, whether nor not to build a fire in the fireplace. 

"Nah," I thought. "I'll just pull on a jacket."

A roaring fire would've been much better.

I climbed back into bed (with my jacket on) and opened my Bible to Acts 2. It's the story of Pentecost, when the tongues of fire descended and believers spoke in every language. All the people on the street could understand the words in their native tongue. 

A huge move of God broke out.

Thousands of people accepted Christ and were baptized. I've been to the spot where this happened. Stood inside those ceremonial washing pools where the baptisms were done. 

This really occurred  It's not a made up story to make Christians look good. It's real, and I want to see it again.

So, as I usually do when I see something in Scripture I want, I prayed. "Lord, You should do this one more time."

That Still, Small Voice spoke with stunning speed, "Aren't you the one who just chose a jacket over a fire?"

"Well, yes. But what does that have to do with it?"

"Take a closer look..."

Jesus had been crucified. All hope had been crushed. Three days later, His followers heard that He'd risen from the dead. Before they were used to having Him around again, He ascended to heaven. 

The emotional roller coaster had left them exhausted, and uncertain. "What now?" they probably thought.

Jesus had told them to go to Jerusalem, so they did. One hundred and twenty of them piled into one big room and stayed there for weeks. Together. 

It was, I believe, a communal prayer vigil that lasted longer than I could have. At the end of it, those battered believers emerged as warriors, ablaze with the fire of God in their mouths. 

They came out of that prayer vigil speaking with authority and loving with abandon. 

They lived communally. If anyone had a need, someone who had abundance provided for them. It was radical. People took note. Thousands of people came to Christ. 

They turned the world right-side up. 

We have the same Jesus they had. We are indwelled by the same Holy Spirit. We could have that same power and persuasion, too. 


If we were willing to do what they did. Pray as they prayed. Live as they lived. Love as they loved.

Instead, all too often, we choose the jacket over the fire and, in so doing, we miss the crackle of the flames, the aroma of the burning embers. We miss the best part of being warm.

We miss the best part of our faith when we want the fire but choose the cold. 

We are closer to Jesus' return than we've ever been. It's past time for believers to live with radical unity. Love with outrageous abandon. Give with a God-sized measure. 

We can't do it on our own, but God can do it through us. If we humble ourselves, repent, and kneel before our mighty God in humility, we can rise to live with arms-wide-open community and love with hearts-wide-open abandon. 

If we let go of our metaphorical coat and chose the reality of the fire of God, He can move in a mighty way again. And I believe He will.

What say you, children of God? If we want the fire, we must stop choosing the cold. Let's make 2017 the year we gave up safe religion and embraced the outrageous and magnificent life of a disciple. 

It might be hard. It might be unsettling. But there's one thing for sure. It will be worth it.

"'And it shall be in the last days,' God says, 
'that I will pour fourth of My Spirit upon all mankind; 
and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, 
and your young men shall see visions, 
and your old men shall dream dreams...'" 
Acts 2:17 nasb

In case you missed it, here's the link to yesterday's post: Leaving a Legacy: Making a Road Map for Those We Love

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