God’s Campfire

        I go to the ENT doctor every six months to get my ears cleaned out. The procedure is uncomfortable, and I don’t enjoy it. But I want to hear as well as I’m physically able. Besides, if I allow the wax to build up too long, I’m more susceptible to earaches. If you’ve suffered with earaches, you know how painful they are.

If we don’t keep our spiritual ears functioning well, they become clogged and we can’t hear God’s voice. Dull hearing leads to a dull conscience. And a dulled conscience leads to quenching the Holy Spirit. How do we do that? By ignoring those pesky sins that tarnish our fellowship with God and one another.

I Thessalonians 5:19 admonishes us not to put out the Spirit’s fire. “There is a warmth, a glow, about the Spirit’s presence that makes this language appropriate. The kind of conduct Paul is opposing may include loafing, immorality and the other sins he has denounced. On the other hand, he may be warning against a mechanical attitude toward worship . . .” NIV note

In other words, we’re warned not to douse God’s campfire.

   It’s as if we, the body of Christ, are warming around His campfire and someone comes along and throws water on it. The warmth and the glow are gone.

Consider with me the following application to I Thessalonians 5:12-18. In what ways do we put out God’s fire?

  • a lack of respect, love and appreciation for leadership (12-13a)

Am I expressing my allegiance to the person(s) God has placed in authority over me? (pastor, director, boss, parent, teacher, etc.) Dare I add the word husband to the list? According to God’s Word, He has positioned the husband as the head of the home. Perhaps we (wives) can agree to think of this as a positive, not a negative. Perhaps a safety net from God rather than an imposition? (Heb. 13:17)

  • unresolved conflict (13b)

Have I done everything I can to live at peace with everyone? (Heb. 12:14) Is there anyone in my life with whom I need to resolve conflict? (Matt. 5:23-24)

  • laziness (14a)

Do I have a tendency to be lazy? Or have I committed to God to make better use of my time, as well as my mind? (Psalm 31:15)

  • failure to encourage one another (14 b, c, & d)

*Am I patient with and a source of encouragement to those who need my support? (Heb. 10: 24-25)

  • unforgiveness (v. 15a)

Do I tend to retaliate or am I quick to forgive? (Lev. 19:18) 

  • thoughtlessness (v. 15b)

Are my actions and responses couched with kindness rather than irritability or anger? (Eph. 4:32) (Pr. 11:16)

  • joylessness (v. 16)

Do I allow circumstances or certain people to rob me of my joy? (Phil. 4:4 & James 1:2)

  • inconsistent prayers (v. 17)

Am I sporadic in my conversations with God? Or do I consistently acknowledge His presence and pray accordingly? (Ephesians 6:18)

  • ingratitude (v. 18)

Am I a whiner and complainer? Or do I pursue a grateful heart, regardless of my frustrations with people or my circumstances? (Eph. 5:20)

  • perfunctory attitude toward worship (v. 19)

Do I rain on God’s pageantry by treating worship as a duty to perform? Or do I consider my relationship with Him a privilege to celebrate and share? (John 4:24)

I won’t ask you how you did. I’m too busy examining my own propensity to douse God’s campfire. And yet, we do have a choice, don’t we? I’m convinced God will supply all the fuel we need to keep the fire going. That is, if we’re willing .  

Ephesians 5:18 tells us to be continuously filled with the Spirit. How? Consider a glass filled with water. Suppose you drop an egg in the water. The glass is no longer filled, is it? The egg must be removed in order for the glass to be filled again. The same is true with us spiritually. When we receive Christ, God fills us with His Holy Spirit. When we sin, we’re no longer filled. The Spirit will never leave us so He’s still there. But our unconfessed sin has blocked His power. When we confess our sin, God removes it. (I John 1:9)  And we can trust Him to again fill us with His Spirit. (I John 5:14-15)    

When we keep our tanks full, we’ll become like fireflies. People will be attracted to the fire within us.  And before we know it, we’ll be tending more than a campfire. It’ll be God’s bonfire!

                                                                     

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