There are different kinds of fire; there is false fire. No one knows this better than we do, but we are not such fools as to refuse good bank notes because there are false ones in circulation; and although we see here and there manifestations of what appears to us to be nothing more than mere earthly fire, we none the less prize and value, and seek for the genuine fire which comes from the altar of the Lord.
What needs to be guarded is the life of the Spirit within us. Especially we who want to witness to the presence of God’s Spirit in the world need to tend the fire within with utmost care…Our first and foremost task is faithfully to care for the inward fire so that when it is really needed it can offer warmth and light to lost travelers.
Love is kindled in a flame, and ardency is its life. Flame is the air which true Christian experience breathes. It feeds on fire; it can withstand anything rather than a feeble flame; but when the surrounding atmosphere is frigid or lukewarm, it dies, chilled and starved to its vitals. True prayer must be aflame.
The true fire is kindled at the Altar of Sacrifice. The false fire ignores the blood. There is much religious fire today which is merely the so-called “enthusiasm of humanity,” or the emotion stirred by eloquence, art or zeal for some human cause and selfish interest. It is not enough to believe in the Spirit, for spiritism and spiritualism all do this; but the true Spirit always comes in association with the blood.
Coals of fire cannot by concealed beneath the most sumptuous apparel. They will betray themselves as smoke and flames. Neither can pet sins be long hidden beneath the most ostentatious profession of faith. They will sooner or later discover themselves and burn sad holes in the person’s reputation. Sin needs the quenching of the Saviour’s blood, not concealed in our secret closets.
In the beginning, there is struggle and a lot of work for those who come near to God. But after that, there is indescribable joy. It is just like building a fire: at first it’s smoky and your eyes water, but later you get the desired result. Thus we ought to light the divine fire in ourselves with tears and effort.
Preaching is theology coming through a man who is on fire. A true understanding and experience of the Truth must lead to this…. A man who can speak about these things dispassionately has no right whatsoever to be in a pulpit; and should never be allowed to enter one.
Every growth of spiritual life, from the first tender shoot until now, has been the work of the Holy Spirit…. The only way to more life is the Holy Spirit. You will not even know that you want more unless He works in you to desire it…. The Spirit of God must come and make the letter alive, transfer it to your heart, set it on fire, and make it burn within you, or else its divine force and majesty will be hid from your eyes…. Prayer is the creation of the Holy Spirit. We cannot do without prayer, and we cannot pray without the Holy Spirit.
Nothing but fire kindles fire. To know in one’s whole nature what it is to live by Christ; to be His, not our own; to be so occupied with gratitude for what He did for us and for what He continually is to us that His will and His glory shall be the sole desires of our life…that is the first necessity of the preacher.
I would marvel much that any man should be so mad, as to refuse in darkness, light: in hunger, food: in cold, fire: for the word of God is light, food, fire.