. . . I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands. For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline. So do not be ashamed to testify about our Lord, or ashamed of me his prisoner. But join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God, who has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace . . . . (II Tim. 1:6-9, NIV).
The apostle Paul writes Timothy, his favorite “son in the faith” from the old Mamertine Prison in Rome. He has been condemned to death and realizes there is no chance of acquittal. His faith is being subjected to its greatest test, but he testifies to one in whom he trusts to carry on the ministry of the gospel: I am not ashamed, because I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him for that day (II Tim. 1:12, NIV).
Paul hoped he might see the face of Timothy before his execution. But at this time the younger man is on assignment to the church in Ephesus. Whether or not they ever meet again in this life, Paul wants his younger colleague to know the secret of being faithful to the divine call to preach the Gospel. He reminds Timothy of a time back in Lystra when in a service he had laid hands on him (possibly in consecration or ordination). There is no doubt in my mind that this is a reference to the time when Timothy was filled with the Holy Spirit—given not a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.
There are times in the lives of believers, both in the clergy and the laity, when we need to experience a rekindling of that holy fire. Paul on another occasion ordered believers to be filled with the Spirit (Eph. 5:18, NIV). “. . . ever be filled and stimulated with the Holy Spirit” (AMP). A common translation of this command is “Keep on being filled with the Spirit.”
In a natural setting, the tendency of fire is to go out unless attention is given to refueling, stoking, and proper ventilation. William Booth, founder of the Salvation Army, often ordered his officers, “Don’t let the fire go out!” He was giving the same order as the apostle Paul, Do not put out the Spirit’s fire (I Thes. 5:19, NIV). The same apostle wrote, Do not grieve the Holy Spirit . . . . (Eph. 4:30, NIV).
We don’t have to commit adultery or murder in order to grieve the Holy Spirit. Just as we don’t have to pour water or dirt on a fire to extinguish it, by merely neglecting the Holy Spirit the fire will eventually go out.
Jesus sought to prepare his disciples for a proper relationship with the Holy Spirit. He longed that his followers have an ongoing intimate relationship with an ungrieved and unquenched Holy Spirit.
Every believer receives the gift of the Holy Spirit at the moment of the new birth. What a miraculous Gift! On the Day of Pentecost when the Holy Spirit had been poured out on the Upper Room believers, the unbelieving multitudes were convicted by Peter’s preaching and asked, “What must we do?” Peter, realizing they were asking how they might be saved, responded, Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:38, NIV).
In the Paraclete Passages (John, chapters 14-16), Jesus taught that He and the Father would send the Holy Spirit as a Convicter, a Comforter, and a Counselor. Then just before his departure he said, But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you (Acts 1:8, NIV).
There is no power for living the Christian life apart from the Holy Spirit. But if he is grieved by our sins of commission or omission, we put out that holy fire within us and we are powerless—unable to prevail in prayer, uninspired to worship, afraid to witness for Christ, and unable to bear the fruit of the Spirit (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Gal. 5:22-23, NIV).
Disobedient believers are rendered powerless, losing their “first love” for Christ as the heart grows cold. Satan comes to deceive, distract, destroy, and discourage powerless Christians. When the enemy gains control of our thinking, our affections, and our attitudes, strongholds develop which leave the backslider only one solution, according to the Word of God: If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness (I John 1:8-9, NIV).
The restored believer must ask for a fresh filling of the Holy Spirit. Jesus promised, If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him (Luke 11:13, NIV).
The surest way to maintain the fire of the Holy Spirit is to follow the advice of Jesus and his inspired apostles as they teach us in the Gospels and Epistles how this is done. Jesus said, Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit of itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me (John 15:4, NIV). And the apostle Paul said, Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace; . . . (Rom. 8:5-6, NIV). To the Galatians the same apostle ordered, . . . Live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature (Gal. 5:16, NIV).
I feel I should close this article with a word of testimony: In 1986, after several years in ministry, I sensed an unquenchable longing to know the intimate fellowship with the Holy Spirit that Jesus and his apostles had promised. I felt a call to fervent prayer, knowing it was a call of the Holy Spirit, whom the apostle Paul knew to be the very Spirit of the Son and of the Father. Only as I began praying did I realize how cold and hard my heart had become. Confessing these conditions as sin, I claimed God’s promise in I John 1:8-9 and received a cleansing and a fresh filling of the Holy Spirit.
Therefore, my counsel to anyone seeking spiritual renewal is to begin with the humble prayer of introspection: Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting (Ps. 139:23-24, NIV). Then continue with Ps. 51:10-12 (NIV) for cleansing and fullness of the Spirit: Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit to sustain me.
The road to revival begins with fervent prayer, followed by confession of any and all forms of sin. Then comes the asking and believing for the muchmoreness of the Holy Spirit (Luke 11:13).
Dear brothers and sisters, do not go on in lukewarmness—coldness, hardness, blindness, deadness, emptiness, powerlessness. No matter what strategies the devil has used to maneuver you into your present state of undoneness, the Spirit of God and of Jesus, the Blessed Holy Spirit, is calling you to a new life of Love, Joy, Peace, Power, and Purpose. Whether you seek the counsel of a loved one, a pastor, or a dear spiritual mentor, or you decide to get alone with God, don’t delay your needed restoration to revival. The One who awaits you in the secret place awaits your prayer, Will you not revive (ME) again, that (I) may rejoice in you?
Christian believer, don’t be afraid of the Holy Spirit. Allow him freedom to turn on the lights in your inner person until he reveals to you what he sees. Then you’ll know what to repent of and then freely accept his forgiveness. Know by faith that the Spirit assures you of sonship, cleansing, and empowerment for prayer, worship, witnessing, and bearing the fruit of the Spirit.
Let us determine with the help of God to be a part of his redeemed, cleansed, empowered army to wage spiritual warfare against the hierarchy of evil arrayed against believers in these last days. Let’s Walk, Pray, and Believe in the power of the Spirit for the salvation of our lost loved ones, the resurrection of our dead churches, and the spiritual awakening in our imploding America!
Please pray with me:
“Burn, Spirit, Burn! Burn the chaff of my selfish nature, refine my inner person to become like Jesus. Help me to not put out the Spirit’s fire!
“Glow, Spirit, Glow! Radiate the love of Christ through my face, my voice, and my life until family, friends, and strangers see the beauty of Jesus. May I be characterized with Joy unspeakable and full of glory!
“Flow, River, Flow! Wash me until I shine in the light of your glory. May saints and sinners be drawn to Christ as I give you glory and honor for all who come to know eternal life because of your grace and mercy!
“O, God! Get your people ready for the mighty spiritual awakening so desperately needed in these perilous times! And begin in me. Amen!”