Hearts on Fire

“They said to one another, ‘Didn’t our hearts burn within us as he talked with us on the road and explained the Scriptures to us?’” – Luke 24:32

“Lord, I want more of you! I want my heart set on fire for you, O God. Fill me and use me for your glory!” This is me talking to myself after experiencing the power of the Holy Spirit recently.

Throughout the Bible, fire symbolizes the presence of God. From God’s conversation with Moses at the burning bush (Exodus 3:1-3) to the pillar of cloud and fire as the Spirit of God led the Israelites out of Egypt through the Red Sea (Exodus 14:24), our God is a devouring fire (Hebrews 12:29). The first disciples of Jesus were filled with the Holy Spirit as what looked like tongues of fire settled on each of them (Acts 2:3).

Since returning from a conference in Franklin, TN, I feel refreshed and eager for my heart to be on fire for the Lord. Worship gets me jazzed up for God’s fire in my life. I sense God’s presence, power and love when I am in worship with all of you. It’s a great feeling! I hope you sense it too. I think for many of us, myself included at times, the reality is we are just going through the motions; that worship is simply a box that we check. And yet, we really do want our hearts on fire; we want to experience God’s love, mercy and grace.

Too often the reality is that the fire of God’s love flares up within our hearts only to die down to embers. We wonder why we can’t see God at work in our lives. We wonder why we feel so miserable at times. We wonder why we don’t have much purpose or passion in our lives. We wonder why we keep making the same poor decisions in life. There’s flames, but no fire. And then we wonder why it seems our lives are falling apart. We are tired, exhausted and ready to give up. We want to follow Jesus, but we wonder why God hasn’t changed our life yet? We wonder why our hearts just aren’t burning like other people’s hearts are burning.

To be crystal clear here, I have some of these same questions myself. I so badly want more of God’s presence in my life. I desperately desire, hunger and thirst for more of God’s grace, love and truth in my life. As a follower of Jesus Christ, I do not want to simply go through the motions. Instead, I want God to start a fire within me that burns, and burns, and burns. And it takes over every part of my life. Not just on Sunday, but every day of the week. So, when the emotions and the warm fuzzies are gone, and life shows back up on Monday, the fire inside me only continues to grow and grow and grow. That’s my hope for me, but honestly, that’s my hope for all of you as well.

Together we ask, “How do we ensure that the condition of our heart is right to ignite a sustainable fire and not just flames that flare up only to burn out?” Adam Weber, one of the speakers I heard at the recent conference I attended, gave us three things we can do to sustain the fire. First we begin by welcoming and inviting God’s presence into our lives. Not just one time, but every day, all the time. Invite God to light a fire, giving you a passion for God. Secondly, we have to clear out the garbage in our life. We have to remove the sin that is slowly killing our soul. We have to get rid of the jealousy, resentment, lust, bitterness and unforgiveness. And finally, if we want God to set a fire in our life, we have to completely surrender to God. Hand over complete control of your life to Jesus Christ. Invite Jesus to have his way with every aspect of your life, even the scary parts. Completely surrender your life to God and let him have his way with you.

As God sets our hearts on fire, may our joy overflow in order for others to seek this same all-consuming fire. Amen!

Pastor Craig Collins