Do not put out the Spirit's fire. 1 Thessalonians 5:19
On the first day of the church, the Day of Pentecost, 120 believers were gathered together to pray. Jesus had just ascended into Heaven 10 days before. They began to pray. The Holy Spirit came upon them in a visible and tangible way: tongues like fire on their heads, sounds like a rushing wind, and a spontaneous linguistic ability to communicate the Gospel (Acts 2:1-4).
This caused quite a stir among the crowd that day. Jews from the entire known world with different languages and dialects heard the Good News in their native tongue. Their assumption was that this was the result of intoxication (Acts 2:5-13). That’s funny to me. I’ve never seen a drunk master the Rosetta Stone language course.
Peter straightened things out (Acts 2:14-40). Flakey, unreliable Peter presented the Gospel with eloquence. Three thousand people trusted Christ as their Savior that day (Acts 2:41). What an amazing result. What an overwhelming result. It was a miracle.
If the 120 had attended a church planters conference, they would have been instructed to build their core team. They might have been told that 120 was too many to start with. Maybe they should narrow it down to 12 or so. Then, begin to gather small groups of folks to cast vision for their church. They would have advertised their church for months. Then, on kick off Sunday, they would hope for a good, manageable number, but not too many. Three thousand would have been quite unreasonable.
There’s the word: reason. Sometimes our reasoning and our low expectations block the Spirit’s work in our lives. Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not encouraging us to turn off our brains and start acting crazy. God gave us a brain and a book, the Bible, and that is an integral part of our faith. But, how much of the Book do we truly believe?
We only believe the things that we do. We can say that we trust God, yet if we don’t turn to God first, do we truly trust Him or do we just trust ourselves? We can say that prayer is important, yet how often do we pray? (Notice, I didn’t say “how long.”) You get the point.
The Bible tells us that Elijah was “a man just like us” (James 5:17). Elijah prayed that it wouldn’t rain, and it didn’t rain for three and a half years. Elijah faced off with the prophets of Baal on Mount Carmel. He prayed fire down from Heaven (1 Kings 18:16-39). Elijah was a man just like you and me.
Put yourself in Elijah’s shoes. (God did in James 5:17.) What has God directed you to pray? Have you seen much fire from Heaven?
Now, God is probably not directing you to heal the sick or raise the dead (but don’t shut that door). There are many ways that we can block the Spirit’s work. When we’re anxious, do we smoke or drink or eat or anesthetize ourselves with television or internet? The Bible says to “cast your anxiety on Him for He cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7). He even wants to be a part of that.
Maybe there is a bad habit that you need to forsake or a good habit that you need to start. How have you asked God’s Spirit to help you? Maybe you are in the middle of a firestorm emotionally, you are paying a high price, what does the Spirit want to teach you? Even if it’s not your fault, suffering is much too costly to be wasted.
Maybe you just don’t know. Then, pray a dangerous prayer: “Lord, I am available to you.” Then, pay attention to what happens next. God, by His Spirit, wants to be involved in your life. Not as an add-on or another activity, but right in the middle of it. Your hand is on the dial. Let the Spirit flow.
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