“Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord” (Romans 12:11). “Do not put out the Spirit’s fire” (1 Thessalonians 5:19). “For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands, for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control” (2 Timothy 1:6,7).
It’s been very hot in our area with temps in the mid-nineties yesterday here in Lancaster County with the RealFeel® even higher. David, a friend from Texas, wrote that he and his wife Sabra were talking Sunday on the way home from church, and how happy they were that the days are getting shorter because that means they are heading to Fall when the high 90 and 100 degree days they are experiencing right now will end in Texas. This was in response to Brooksyne’s sense of sadness as the days get shorter. Well, that’s a good way to look at it!
But the hottest temps here in the US have been out west with record breaking high temps in the Death Valley. We visited there several years ago in late September before it is recommended that tourists visit (which is mid October at the earliest). It was very, very hot although I have also been to Phoenix in the middle of summer with similar temps 110° and above. There’s a point when it’s just unbearably hot!
In yesterday’s text we noted following the great flood that God promised, “As long as the earth endures, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night will never cease” (Genesis 8:22). So, both the cold and the heat are a part of God’s design and essentially a fulfillment of His promise. That, we feel, is a good way to look at it! Hot not only describes the outside temperatures but also the foods we eat that contain capsaicin. Yesterday Brooksyne bought some sushi on sale and brought me a plate with several pieces and sat it in front of me at my desk. She customarily places a very small dab of Wasabi sauce on it making it even tastier. Well, in my food world a little more is usually even better, so a few minutes later I went upstairs and helped myself to some more sushi and overdid it with the Wasabi sauce. My, o my, did I ever pay the price! That stinging heat sure went up my sinuses and I think into my brain. I still don’t know if I’m quite back to normal yet.
Even after my personal, rather unpleasant experience, I want us to consider being hot as a positive and desirable spiritual condition.
“Being on fire” is an expression used to describe a real sold out, committed believer. The daily Scripture texts teach that this is how Christians ought to be, to “keep your spiritual fervor”. The underlying Greek word for “fervor” in our first daily text is “zeo”, which means, “to be hot.” It’s used to describe the preaching of Apollos in Acts 18:25 who “spoke with great fervor”.
The challenge in the spiritual life is to “keep your spiritual fervor”, that is to stay on fire. I sure find a tendency for my fire to wane so I need to regularly heed Paul’s words to Timothy “to fan into flame the gift of God” (2 Timothy 1:6).
We also need to heed that short word of exhortation expressed in the second verse and “not put out the Spirit’s fire”. Many of us are familiar with the way the King James Version words this phrase, “Quench not the Spirit”. The word for “quench” literally means “extinguish” and although I am thankful for fire extinguishers, as well as the extinguishing effect lots of water can bring after eating too much Wasabi sauce, we need to be very careful that we do not extinguish the Spirit’s fire!
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber