“And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies…let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him.” (Romans 12:1, NLT)
One of my favorite worship leaders is Tasha Cobbs Leonard. She is a gospel powerhouse whose vocals are only outmatched by her integrity and grace in ministry. One of her older songs, which remains one of my favorites, is called Fill Me Up. It is more prayer than it is a declaration – asking God to provide an overabundance of His Spirit and the grace, strength and blessing that accompany His unhindered presence, for every task and divine assignment we undertake. I often find myself humming this song before any ministry obligation – whether on a platform speaking, in front of a computer writing or, even more importantly, with my sons while mothering. My favorite lyric is simple yet poignant . . .
[Lord], if you provide the fire, I’ll provide the sacrifice.
My part is to prepare a worthy sacrifice.
God’s part is to send holy fire.
I’m in the middle of writing a Bible study on Elijah and currently I’m studying the breathtaking portion when He is standing on Mt. Carmel daring the adversaries of Yahweh to persuade their impotent idol to rain down fire from heaven. As he sets out the rules for the contest, He implores each side to prepare a sacrifice but then he says that they must not set their own fire because “….the god who answers by fire, He alone is God” (1 Kings 18:24).
There it is – the holy, sacred element that separates the One true God from all other so-called gods.
The Fire. . .that falls down from heaven.
One of the major distinctions between a man-made, earthly fire and the kind that comes from God is this: one rises up and the other falls down. One is manufactured, the other is sent. Supernatural fire can only be originated supernaturally and it alone is what can make our lives an offering that He can receive and also what makes us a breathing billboard of His glory to those around us. Seeing holy fire in us is what will compel others to get off the fence of indifference and serve Him wholeheartedly. This is the unmistakable element that should differentiate our lives from all others. As the fire of God’s Spirit falls afresh on us – gracing us with his favor, empowerment, fruit and gifts – our lives will be purpose-filled, glorifying to His name and bear eternal fruit. God’s Spirit inspires, emboldens, sanctifies and stirs a holy fervor in the soul of a human, first at the moment of salvation and then ongoingly as the believer is molded into Jesus’ image and continually impassioned to fulfill their divine purpose. It is the culminating element that makes us a “living sacrifice, holy and acceptable” to Him. (Romans 12:1).
The task for us is to follow Elijah’s example by intentionally and daily preparing and presenting a suitable sacrifice and then resisting the urge to do what we humans have a hard time resisting. We must refuse to manufacture our own fire. Fellow believer, do your part and then let the Father do His. Don’t fabricate your own flame, conjuring up a man-made veneer of spiritual victory through self-motivation, self-promotion or emotionalism. In our achievement-oriented culture of perfectly-lit selfies and staged personas, the veneer of religion and pseudo sacred activity can spew smoke signals that appear to be rooted in authentic holy flames. But, the question for all of us is this: did we light that fire on your own or did it originate by God’s Holy Spirit? Because, hear me clearly, time and eternity will tell the difference. If it is not authentic – if it is “not by might not by power but only by His Spirit” – it will flicker and fail. (Zec 4:6)
Let’s be modern day “Elijahs” – prioritizing spiritual disciplines like prayer, time in God’s Word and holy living. Let’s cultivate a deeper friendship with our Lord and stand firmly and boldly for the faith in the post-Christian culture in which we live. Let’s present ourselves a living holy sacrifice to the one true God. And then, let’s trust the fire to Him.Let’s cultivate a deeper friendship with our Lord and stand firmly and boldly for the faith in the post-Christian culture in which we live. Let’s present ourselves a living holy sacrifice to the one true God. And then, let’s trust the fire to Him.
Do your part.
He’ll do His.
In Jesus name,