Keeping the Fire Burning
As I was reading in Leviticus recently, I noted that the priests were supposed to keep the fire burning on the altar day and night. I reflected on the implications of that command, both for that time and how it might relate to me now, and checked some commentaries to really dig into what this meant.
One commentator said that the fire had two meanings. First it was a call to worship continually. And second, it was a symbol of God’s unceasing presence and watch care. Now, I have far more assurance of the faithfulness of God’s continual presence and watch care than of my ability to maintain a state of perpetual worship. But the reality is, because we are “in Christ” and the Holy Spirit is within us, we are drawn into a state of unceasing worship and communion whether we are aware of it or not. However, our goal is to be consciously more and more aware of and continually participating in this continual worship.
The priests kept the fire going by being attentive and adding fuel. That’s what we need to do if we want to keep our fire burning for the Lord as well. This may vary a bit for each of us, but the essential thing is to be attentive and intentional. The fire will go out if neglected. One way to be intentional is to make a list of things that aid us in worship. Reading the Word, spending time in prayers of praise and thanksgiving, worship music, gathering with others to praise—whatever “combustibles” fuel your worship should be noted. Then? Schedule. That may sound formal, but nebulous plans generally don’t happen. Set your alarm on your watch or calendar on your phone to go off periodically to remind you to turn your heart toward the Lord, even if it is only to say, “Thank You for saving me and loving me!” or “You are mighty and holy and wonderful, Lord. I worship You.” Throughout the Scriptures you will see references to someone habitually turning to the Lord in prayer several times a day. Daniel’s habit was four times a day. Some traditions have seven times a day when they pause to worship. It doesn’t have to be long in duration; it is more about frequently turning one’s heart Godward.
Be attentive, too, to those times throughout the day when you are God-conscious. Suddenly He comes to mind, or a verse or song comes into your mind. Begin to see these as His invitations to connect with Him, and respond with loving recognition. The more fuel we throw on this fire, the hotter it will burn.
by Sheri Cook, Director of Special Ministries