March 12, 2018
Are you on fire?
He was violently dragged out of the Temple as he received blow after blow from the raging mob. They continued to beat him into the already blood-stained street when the local officers broke through the crowd and stopped the fists and stones from wailing down upon his body. The officers chained him as the mob yelled, “Kill him, kill him!” The officers raised him above their shoulders as protection from the wild and rioting crowd that pressed around him. The apostle Paul was weak, bloody, and disoriented when he regained some awareness as the soldiers carried him to safety.
Paul’s reaction at this moment? “Please, let me talk to these people.” So, Paul stood on the stairs, bloody, bruised, and throbbing with pain, and began telling the story of his first encounter with Jesus to the same mob that was actively trying to kill him. Paul’s first and only thought in this most desperate moment from Acts 21 and 22 was to share about the power and saving grace of Jesus. Paul was on fire for Jesus.
All believers can be and should be on fire like Paul. Paul was intensely passionate. He had an active, energized enthusiasm. He had a vigor and zeal that could not be contained. Jesus calls us to this same passion. Do you have this fire?
I’m not outgoing.
I don’t know much about the Bible.
It’s not polite to talk about religion.
I don’t know what to say.
I’m just not like that.
I might feel stupid.
I might upset someone.
On and on, round and round, the excuses go.
It is every Christian’s duty to develop their energy so that they will have vigor and zeal like Paul. Being fired up for Jesus is not a type of personality, it is a type of obedience. It is not a disposition, it is a decision. Passion is important. Intentional intensity matters1.
How do we develop this fire?
Little by little. Just ten minutes a day of study and prayer will lead to sixty hours a year with Jesus. As you practice this simple discipline, God’s Word will transform your mind, your words, and your actions into the passion Paul demonstrates. Practiced over a lifetime, you will discover that in your most desperate moments your first and only thought is the power and saving grace of Jesus.