God has been good to us this week also. He’s spoken to us in his word. We have individually received his word and I believe that he has reached out to you in various ways.
God is the source of divine fire
The source of divine fire is heaven—God himself is the source of it. It is God himself who sets up the fire. Any fire set up by men or by any other means apart from God is counterfeit and not from God. That is the strange fire.
Once the fire is set up, we have the responsibility of keeping it ablaze
Once the fire has been set up, the responsibility for keeping it ablaze is on the believer. In other words, when the fire has been set, you are responsible to ensure that it never goes out. That brings us back to our thematic scripture—Leviticus 6.12-13. This scripture is in line with what Paul told the Thessalonians in 1 Thessalonians 5.19. He told them not to put out the Spirit’s fire. The child of God has the responsibility of keeping the fire ablaze at all times.
We are a kingdom of priests and must do the work of the priests in keeping the fire burning
In Leviticus 6.12-13, the priest was responsible for ensuring that the fire burned at all times. He was to add fresh wood to the fire every morning and arrange the burnt offerings on it. Who are the priests?
In the New Testament, there is a new priesthood and the believer is the priest. So, if the priest is to ensure that the fire is ablaze at all times, then he is talking about you and me. It is not only for those in clerical but for all of us. 1 Peter 2.9 says we are a chosen race and a royal priesthood (NLT). We are not ordinary.
In Revelation 1.5-6 the Bible says Jesus has made us a kingdom of priests unto God. Hence, once you become a child of God, you are called into a kingdom of priests. We are to ensure that we are on fire at all times. I pray that your life will be on fire at all times and never go out. You are to see to it that the fire never goes out.
How to keep the fire ablaze
Leviticus 6.8-12 tells us the process by which the fire must be kept burning.
1. Wear your linen garments—your acts of righteousness
The first instruction given to the priests to keep the fire ablaze was for them to wear their linen dresses. In Exodus, we see that this garment was part of the garments of the priests. What does it stand for? The New Testament provides us with a clearer meaning of this linen garment.
Revelation 19.6-8 describes the fine linen the saints were given to wear as their righteous deeds. Thus, we must put on our linen dress that is our acts of righteousness. You cannot keep the fire ablaze when you walk in sin, unrighteousness, and filth. I pray in the name of Jesus that henceforth we will be able to walk in righteousness. We cannot keep the fire ablaze in filth. The Holy Spirit is a holy spirit. He operates in an environment of cleanliness so to keep the fire burning we must keep our linen dresses on.
One of my lecturers in Bible school told me that the words of the Bible were not just chosen but for a purpose. We are told that the priests were to put on not just their linen garments but also their linen undergarments. The only person who sees the undergarment is the person himself, God, and maybe the person’s spouse.
There are people who focus only on the outer garments—what everybody sees—but even when nobody sees you, you must be righteous. Both garments are important to God. To keep the fire burning, put on the linen garments, both the inner and the outer. There is an eye that sees beyond the outer garment and inside the inner garment. There is an eye that sees what is inside your heart. Change your mind and wear both garments. When your pastor is not around and your elder is not around and your brother is not around what do you do? When nobody sees you in that office what do you do? When you travel to meet that sister alone what do you do?
2. Remove the ashes—eschew all that prevents the fire from burning
Leviticus 6.10 says after putting on the garments the priest must remove the ashes. These are things that prevent the fire from burning. Complacency and bitterness are two ashes that I see. Complacency is a feeling of being satisfied with how things are and not wanting to try to do better; self-satisfaction especially when accompanied by unawareness of actual dangers or deficiencies. When a person is complacent he does not have the desire to strive for more. Complacency will prevent you from going further. I am reminded of what Paul said,
Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it on my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 3.13-14 ESV)
You must forget about the past and press on toward a higher mark. May God give you that spirit that presses that you would forget about the past and push forward. May we not rely on the achievements of yesterday. History can guide us but we are not supposed to rest on our laurels. There is a bigger land for us to conquer, many battles to be won, and races to be run.
Bitterness is deep-seated ill will; bearing grudge and having bad blood towards others. Bitterness will quench the fire. Thus, we must let things go out of our hearts. Sometimes we are bitter against people who don’t even know that we are bitter against them.
3. Add fire every morning
The priest was to add fresh firewood every morning. This represents the discipline of going through daily spiritual exercises. If you want to keep the fire ablaze, add fresh firewood every morning. Have the discipline to go through daily spiritual exercises. These spiritual exercises include but are not limited to the following:
a. Consistency in devotion
b. Consistency in prayer, fasting, and waiting
c. Consistency in scripture reading and the study of the scriptures
Consistency is the key here. It is not about doing it once and forgetting about it. It must continue. Many of us will participate in a program like this but at the end of the program you won’t find him or her at Kratos or any prayer meeting. Keeping the fire ablaze must not end today. When we start the year like this, with prayer and fasting, but at the end of the day you just cut it off, neglecting all other activities, the fire on the altar will die. But consistency in prayer, devotion, fasting, scripture reading, and studying will keep the fire burning.
I believe when we do these things: putting on our linen dresses, removing the ashes, and adding fire every morning, we shall be ablaze and no demon can come near us and no satanic powers can come near us. May we be on fire at all times—but it requires work.
Leviticus 6.12-13, 1 Thessalonians 5.19, 1 Peter 2.9, Revelation 1.5-6, Revelation 19.6-8, Philippians 3.13-14