“Be dressed ready for service and keep your lamps burning.” Luke 12:35
We are called to carry a fire in us, the very light of life. (John 1:3) It is a fire of grace, meaning that only God can produce it and sustain it, yet we play an important part. Jesus commands all disciples: “keep your lamps burning.”
God’s revealed presence serves as the spark and lighter fluid to get the fire going. The Word of God in us serves as the kindling (the milk of the Word) and the large logs (the meat of the Word) which brings the fire to a blaze and makes a way for it to keep burning.
Jesus said, “If you abide in Me (His presence), and My word abides in you, you will ask whatever you wish and it will be done.” (John 15:7) When the fire of grace is burning in our hearts, our desires become purified to the point that they are unified with what God desires. When this happens there is great authority to bring the kingdom on this earth; our sin nature loses its hold without us having to try hard to fight it; and our lives bring others light and warmth in an effortless way. If you keep your lamp burning, everything else will kind of take care of itself!
So why do so few Christians today seem to have a fire burning in their hearts? Some love the presence of the Spirit but neglect the word. Their hearts are like pouring lighter fluid on a little kindling, lighting it, and watching it burn impressively for a brief period of time. When the fire goes out, they have to look for another meeting where the “Spirit’s moving,” and so eventually become disillusioned.
Others only want the word and neglect the importance of the presence of God. They presume, like the Pharisees, that because they diligently seek the Scriptures they are close to God. (John 5:39) This is like having a big log in your fireplace that is unlit. It may have great potential, but it can’t warm or purify anyone because there’s no fire.
Building a good fire is an art; keeping it going is a discipline. Jesus said He would not put out a smoldering wick (Matthew 12:20), so if we acknowledge our need He will bring us His flame again. John the Baptist said He came to “baptize us with the Holy Spirit and fire.” (Matthew 3:11)